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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2007
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    151
    Location
    Toronto
    Tractor
    JD 2320

    Default Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    I've been reviewing the threads as I'm going to be preparing an acre or two for lawn as well as possibly maintaing a VERY long dravel driveway.

    I have a rotary tiller for my 2320 and can break up sod and soil well, but as it's somewaht clay-ish it does stay clumpy. I would like to be able to level out all the bumps and break up the clumps for seeding lawn as well as create some smoother pasture grass areas for the kids to play. There are too many ankle-twisters in the meadow now. I wonder how BB really does break up and smoothchunky soil.

    I also have a very long gravel drive that I could(??) maintain if an implement will work there as well.

    I've never used a box blade, but it sound like that might be the one to consider if one could do the job?

    Alternately:

    -perhaps I'm better off renting (if possible) a couple of specific implements to be more effective rather than buy one implement?

    -perhaps I just let the landscapers do it for me and pay them for a day, but lose the utility of doing maintenance myself?

    And finally . . with the 2000' driveway . .do I just pay a grader truck once/twice a year . . or do you think a box blade will really do a suitable job grooming and levelling well packed gravel?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member nmu98's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    1,130
    Tractor
    JD 5203, JD 3720, JD 4110, JD 445, IH 1586, IH 886, IH 404......

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    The soil in my area that is heavy will break up very nice with my tiller if its a liitle moist. Not wet, but moist. Go slow at full PTO speed. I am talking less than 1MPH.... Dont go too deep since it would create settling spots.

    A landscape rake would work best for your lawn. I think a box blade would do well on your diveway, but remember that it might take a few more passes and to take your time.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    For the Lawn area till it well and then make as long a drag as your tractor will pull and spend time pulling it around from all directions to level things out. You may want to pull it at an angle also. The whole process of tilling and leveling may have to be repeated a few times but extra work put in ahead of seeding will pay off in smoother lawn and easier maintenance.

    For the drive I'd prefer a backblade with gauge wheels. Get a windrow started and roll it back and forth over the road a few times just like a real road grader does. Then grade so you have a crown and finish off by flattening the crown slightly. A box blade will also work but may not do quite as well on the long run you have although it does have the advantage of ripper teeth.

    Rock rakes will also work but may have a tendency to segregate the fines and larger rocks. This looks good but will not pack properly.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    151
    Location
    Toronto
    Tractor
    JD 2320

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    Thanks guys. I have tried the really slow shallow tilling technique and it does work well on the sandy soil in one area, however I still get lumpy product in the main lawn area. I've considered perhaps a harrows to drag things flat.

    I see what you mean on the rear blade for driveway. The tilt feature of the blade must be very helpful.

    Do you think a rear blade would do much good on leveling/smoothing soil post tilling? I feel like a rear blade might get more use . . . but as I've never used either, I probably don't have a good list of uses in my head.

    And my dealer recommended no bigger that a 5' blade on my tractor if I'm going to be moving some tough material. Any thoughts there?

    For box blade, he thought 4' would be the right way to go.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    130
    Location
    Northwestern VT, On Lake Champlain
    Tractor
    John Deere 4310

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    I am doing the exact same thing right now with my lawn, and i have a very similar situation with my 1800' driveway.

    Lawn:
    I am tilling it (about 2 acres) up right now, trying to turn a hayfield into a lawn. Slow is definitely the key. As a matter of fact I have found the best pulverizing of the soil came when I went backwards while tilling, it did an awesome job on some of the claylike areas that I have. My next step (once it stops raining EVERYDAY) is to use a 'Bean Hill Leveler'. Which is a angle iron framework that is (in this case) 7' wide, being so wide it is great at leveling soil without be so apt to follow the pre-existing contour. Apparently farmers use these to level soybean rows after harvesting. At least that's what my friend explained to me when he let me borrow it.

    After the leveler I plan on doing one series of passes with a harley rake, to get rid of the 1.2 million rocks that I have in my soil. I've picked up the more sizeable ones by hand (filling 3 buckets full so far).

    Finally I plan to borrow the same friend's seeder. Two passes with the seeder port open and one more with it closed (to kick a little dirt over the seeds) and no mulching needed, so I'm told. I'll let you know how it goes, unfortunately not very soon as it's raining AGAIN right now.

    Driveway:
    Mine has a slope dropping about 80' over 1800'. I don't have any experience at all with blades, but I can tell you about my experience with a boxblade. Mine did a pretty good job the first year, and then I got a hydraulic top link. What a difference! The HTL has made my 5 ' boxblade an absolutely awesome attachment. I can fine tune the BB to get just the right amount of material scraped up. I HIGHLY recommend the HTL if you go the BB route, and it may even be helpful with the straight blade too.

    Our biggest problem, in the 9 months that our driveway is not frozen, is washout from downpours. About 4 to 5 times a season I will grade the whole driveway to smooth it out and level the trenches made from water. Crowning helps, and I can do that a bit by raising and reversing some of my teeth, but a blade might be better at crowning, I don't know.

    The way I feel about my tractor is, if there is anything that will need to be done multiple times and all I need to do is buy another implement to do it, then that implement will pay for itself in no time at all. That also makes my tractor itself more cost effective. Granted I'm not factoring in my time but tractor time is GOOD time.
    Justin

    4310, 300CX, BB2065, Del Morino PRM 215 86" finish mower, 5' JD Snowblower, LX 277 AWS

    The best thing about owning a tractor is you have to put the shovel down to use it.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    151
    Location
    Toronto
    Tractor
    JD 2320

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    That 's interesting and helpful info. That certainly gives me a lot more to think about. Many thanks Jhorton.

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    (filling 3 buckets full so far).
    That would take me about 60 feet!!

    On the first run!
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    261
    Location
    Ceciltucky, MD
    Tractor
    Kioti CK20S HST

    Default Re: Preparing soil for lawn (and some gravel driveway). . .

    IF you got lots of clay, and are tilling it up to seed, get yourself some compost.

    Contact your county or local town and ask if the offer compost. If they do, it'll be cheap. My county offers it for $5 a pickup load. The town offers it for $7 a yard. I've been amending my clay with it and works wonders!

    With the compost, spread it everywhere and till it into the clay. It'll help making the soil easier to work and will help you lawn tremendously! The sections of my yard that have been amended, the grass is beautiful! The other areas, the grass goes brown at the 1st sign of heat if I don't water it.

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