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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    30
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29DA

    Default Installing a Lawn

    I know this is somewhat similar to another post but I have a more open ended question (and much less of a clue than the other poster) so I wanted to start a new thread.

    I want to install a lawn (nothing fancy) on about 3 acres of old farm field with lots of packed furrows and uneven ground. I want to level the ground out. I have a New Holland TC24D with a BoxBlade, FEL, rear, and rake that I can use. I am wondering if I can do what I need to do with this equipment? Last summer I tried using the BB without much success - although the soil was very dry and hard. I also really didn't know what I was doing with the BB - and still don't, but at least I have more time on the tractor. Am I crazy to think I should be able to do this? Or should I be using a rototiller? Or should I be using a plow and then disk it? FYI - I have a manual transmission and I have industrial tires (so my traction isn't as great as it could be). Any ideas on adding weight? Thanks.

    p.s. I also eventually want to level out about another 15 acres of the same type of land. Will this change your advice?

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    7,345
    Location
    Northeast, Ohio
    Tractor
    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    Hey Keith welcome to TBN. It's nice to see a new member in the same general area as we are.

    If I were you I think I would use the box blade with the rippers partially extended to do the rough leveling & smoothing. Once I was fairly satisfied with the general lay of the land I would then switch over to the rake to smooth things out. I have been told that a harrow works here well also or dragging a section of chain link fence that has been weighted to help it dig in a bit. I always seem to have gotten by with the rake myself though.

    Anyway once you broadcast your seed you'll want to go back over it so the seed is covered with a light coat of soil. Then if you can beg or borrow a roller use it if not pray for rain and that the seed will germinate without the birds stealing it all. You'll start feeling like a farmer planting his fields real quick. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    MessickFarmEqu's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    5,363
    Location
    Lancaster County, PA

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    I'd call around and see if you can rent a preseeder (aka power rake, harley rake). You will do the job right with that, the results are great.

  4. #4
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
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    6,033
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    BUFFALO ,NEW YORK AREA
    Tractor
    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    the other guys have given great advice on how to prep the lawn. The only thing i would add is when you buy your seed, buy it ALL at the same time AND THE same mix or you could end up with different color grass.

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Oct 2003
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    7,345
    Location
    Northeast, Ohio
    Tractor
    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    OK Frank that comment sounds like the voice of experience talking. So how many colors is your yard? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    320
    Location
    Western Illinois,just this side of heaven
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 FEL

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    Pineridge and Frank have given you some great advice. You have all the equipment you need with a box blade and rake. I know I am in the minority around here, but I would never allow a powerrake or Harley rake on any project I would be involved with. This is just my less than humble opinion, but I have been involved in turf since I was 12 years old and have never seen a seed bed prepared better than one with a rake or box blade. Frank is correct, purchase your seed all at once or purchase it from a company which has the same mixes all the time. Take your time blading your ground and you should end up with a great lawn.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    36
    Location
    North Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    Other than what others have already told you, here is a way to help your seed germinate faster so the birds dont have a field day - it works best if you have a spare refrigerator or a deep freeze. I found this recipe in a Jerry Baker gardening book and tried it, sure enough it worked great and the grass took off growing faster than I thought possible. I've tried it on several different types of grass seed and it seems to work for all of them.

    mix 1/4 cup baby shampoo and 1 tablespoon of epsom salts into a gallon of weak Lipton tea and mist your seed with it - you will probably need about 10 gallons of this mixture to do as much seed as you will need for the acreage your planning. Then put the seed in the refrigerator or deepfreeze for a couple of days - the sudden change to warm temperature makes the seed very ready to germinate, the baby shampoo softens the seed shells and the epsom salts and the tannic acid in the tea promote quick rooting and give a little nourishment.


  8. #8
    Veteran Member LarryD's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    1,157
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    Whidbey Island, WA.
    Tractor
    TC33D

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    Amen to the "my box blade doesn't get it flat" result. I have been doing almost the same thing albiet pastures. My starting point is an area that was logged about 10 years ago. Skidders don't leave very level ground. I have found there is no way to level (soften contours) ground in an afternoon. I find boxblading an area several times fills in the low spots and lets them settle before the next round. Lots of back and forth work to get things pretty smooth.

    I do however LOVE my tiller for getting the gound loosened up. I also have several (6) yards of well composted manure I'm tilling in to make "soil" out of the sand/rock earth native to my area. As soon as the grass starts to grow, I'll post some before and after pics. Nothing beats a tiller for making a seed bed.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    5,974

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    yes, you have the equipment you need, and as Mike said, you may want to get a chain harrow, old bed springs, a long wooden beam that can be dragged for after you dig up the ground.
    This is not a fast process, especially with the smaller tractors that we have, but it can be done and done well.
    One of the secrets to using the boxblade well is to learn how to adjust the top link properly to use the different parts to your best advantage. First, you'll want to break up the ground well with the rippers. You can put them down fully, shorten the top link so that it lifts the rear blade up off the ground and then tear up the dirt. If you simply drag the inside rear blade across it, you'll not be as effective.
    Once you have the ground ripped, then lenghthen the top link so that the inside rear blade can drag dirt around. Adjust your 3pt hitch so that the box is just a little off the ground and catching all the high spots and drag soil to the lower spots. This often requires that you watch the box as you drag and slowly raise the hitch to let the soil out a little at a time as you move forward over the low spots. Once you have it all fairly level, put a drag of some sort on and simply drag it around and around all over the area which will continue to knock off the high spots and fill in the low, leveling the whole area.
    This is a long post, and doesn't cover all the things that are involved, but with some practice, this should get you going. You'll begin to see what else needs to be done to get the best results, but play with the top link to discover how it can help you to get good results.
    John

  10. #10
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    S. IN
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    Jinma, Foton, TYM, Belarus, Yanmar, Branson, Montana, Mahindra and maybe some green and orange too.

    Default Re: Installing a Lawn

    I don't know if it will help, but I can tell you what I learned from trial and error. When I bought my place where I now live, it was a corn field. It had been farmed for over 100 years. I first tried to have the guy who was farming it just disk it for me and then I spent days on it with my box blade and planted grass.

    Not bad, but in about a year, all of the rows came back. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] To cut out all the different tries (and wasted time), here is what I found to be necessary for me. Now, this is in heavy clay but very fertile Indiana soil. First I had to plow it about 12" deep. Then disk it. Then use my 6' tiller on it with the tiller set as deep as it would go; about 7". Then I had to run my cultipacker over it. (tried to gill it after tilling, but that won't work - just try it and you'll know why). After using my cultipacker, I then used my gill, or pulverizer - whatever you choose to call it. Then I rented a slit seeder and seeded it.

    That was the only way that I got a lasting smooth lawn from a farm field. Now, after 12 years, my frickin' dogs have made so many holes, I've driven my tractor over it when too wet, and cut so many trenches for various projects, I need to do it all over again. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] Whenever seed prices are down, I'll buy another couple thousand pounds and do it again in the fall. Oh yeah, depending on where you live, it may be much better putting in a lawn in the fall than in the summer.

    There, I summed up about 5 years of trials and errors in a little paragraph! Good luck!! And, yes, I do have a harrow, chisel plow, and countless other implements I bought at auctions over the years that I thought (and was told) I needed to put in a lawn. What I described above has worked quite well for me and at numerous other places where I've put in lawns for friends and relatives.

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