Do you have ideas for stripping sod? The kind of sod they used to buid with?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Terri, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I live in the Midwest, and I would like to put in 500 asparagus roots next spring on my land.

    Problem is, under that waist-high grass there is a pretty great layer of sod. I CAN strip it back with a grubbing hoe, but the TIME that would take!!!!!! :eek: I cannot afford a tractor, and I lack welding supplies and such to build my own tools. I KNOW that they used to have sod cutters way back when, but I have never seen one and I doubt that I can get one.

    Any ideas?

    I have a tiller but I doubt it would do anything with the sod. I have a pickup, a riding lawn mower, and some hand tools.
     
  2. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    If you are near a tool rental businss you can rent a sod-cutter. They are way too expensive to buy unless they were used for commercial purposes. You can adjust the sod cutter to cut different thicknesses of sod to fit your needs.
     

  3. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    This is waht I did in the same situation. Just spray the area with Round-Up, let it sit a couple weeks for the grass to die, then rent a big rototiller. Rototill the area several times in different dirrections.
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    IS the sod-cutter something that needs to be pulled, or is it self-propelled?
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There were real simple pulled ones, that's what they used in the old days with a horse (or tractor now) looked like a miniture sled dog sled of metal, just a blade like a plow share that cuts.

    And, there are real expensive self-powered walk-behind models, that's probably what you would rent.

    I don't know why tho, you are throwing away all your fertility, humus, & water-holding good top soil. If you are renting something, get a good tiller & till it a couple times. Roundup a week or 2 before will make it a good patch of land for your garden.

    --->Paul
     
  6. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    They may make both kinds but the self propelled is the way to go. All you have to do is guide it. It may shake ya silly but not to the point that it can't be controlled. It is geared to go very slow. They are great machines.
     
  7. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    Terri, You mentioned sod used for building. Are you planning on using it for that purpose?
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    If you will just put a thick layer of mulch over it the grass will die and rot and the ground will be very soft and nice for a garden. No tilling and no poison from mount satan.
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    i DON'T think so, I as anything I put into a shed will likely get stolen. Where I want the asparagus is on the 5 acres that we may eventually move to.

    Then again, a bit of shade right next to the asparagus WOULD be welcome! and, the strips of sod MUST be put somewhere......

    I must think on this further!
     
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't think that I can move that many pickup beds full of mulch. I haven't been very vigorous this summer: The doc thinks that it might be the spine. Tests will be done in August. My legs give out very quickly. :( I can still use the tiller but I don't need much back work for that.
     
  11. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Terri, if you can't move the mulch that Cyndbaeld suggested, then how the heck are you gonna move all those HEAVY clumps of cut-up sod?!?!?! Go with the Round-Up and rototilling idea!
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    First I am gonna get on my hands and knees and turn them over and let them dry out so they are lighter, then I am gonna get a hay hook or something and put the things in a wheelbarrow.

    If THAT doesn't work, I am gonna DRAFT the KIDS! :haha: :yeeha: :haha:

    Seriously, I don't necessarily know that it is my back: I feel no pain at all. My only problem is, when I am tired my legs quit working.

    I hate to use poisens. I will if I have too, never fear. I would just rather not. I do HAVE roundup: I use it on poisen ivy every couple of years so the dog does not bring the oil into the house on his coat.
     
  13. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mow the grass and cover the ground with black plastic until next spring. All that grass roots will become humus in the soil for the benifit of the new plants. You can make a X style cut where you want to set each new plant and save all that back breaking work of tilling the ground all the time to keep the weeds down. The plastic won't cost any more than spending the money to remove the best part of your ground.
     
  14. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you have gotten some good ideas to think about. It all depends if you want to use the sod for anything else. If you have no need for the sod, is it good enough to sell? Some folks might buy it to repair lawns or even to help stop erosion on hillsides or creekbanks. The sod cutter will cut the sod into one long piece and you can cut it to managable lengths. If it's not cut too thick, you can cut it into three foot lengths and roll it up, then have the kide load it up. Either way ya go it sounds like you got some work to do. Have fun. :D
     
  15. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Yep, I surely do!
    :haha:
     
  16. I still don't understand why you are going to throw the sod away - that is where all your soil nutrition is. If you wanted the sod for something, great. But to make a garden, you should want to keep that nutritionally rich layer - you need it for the plants.

    --->Paul
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    By scalping the land or by turning the sod under, the grass will die and the grass roots will decompose and enrich the land. And, I am not set up to turn it under (no tractor).

    If I smother it with mulch, I would need 1' deep of mulch over a 2000 square foot area. I have a pickup with a 6' by 4' bed. It ought to hold about 75 square feet of mulch if I heap it, cover it, and drive slow. That means that I will need 30 heaping full loads in my pickup to cover the asparagus patch, and that is more than I can do.

    As for covering it with black plastic to kill the sod, that does not work in the Midwest with established pasture grass. I have tried it.

    Stripping off the sod is not the best way, but it may be the ONLY way unless I use roundup. And, I would rather lose SOME of my soils fertility than use roundup.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Got any neighbors with a plow & tractor? That's really the tool you want, it cuts & turns the sod for you. Can't see paying the big bucks for a sod cutter, & then turning it over by hand, when $50 would get a helpful neighbor right over to get it all done. To be sure, you would still have bumpy lumpy ground, but a lighter tiller would deal with it for such a small space.

    A tractor mounted tiller would of course have you all prepped in about 20 minutes, but you have to locate. I'd think it would actually be easier & cheaper to rent a tractor & tiller for an afternoon - sod cutters are real spendy & harder to find - at least in my part of the midwest! And if you have any rocks, you will be cussing it or breaking a blade.....

    20x100 feet, I'd think a walk behind tiller would get you through that after a couple days & trips. You can buy one for cheaper than renting a sod cutter. A sod cutter is pretty specialized, it only makes strips of sod. Flipped over, you will still have a matt of matterial to deal with, and in my experience updie down sod tends to grow through a lot of new sod from the root mass - not what you want. The loose 3" sheet you make will now not till up well, or work up easily.

    I'm just not sure a sod cutter does you any good at all, even if you can find one... Not to belabor the point, just my personal opinion & wishing to help if I can.... The right tool for the job would _not_ seem to be a sod cutter, unless and only if you actually want the sod. :)

    I'm a farmer, and just totally cringe at your comment on losing soil fertility!!!!!! :) Again, just personal experience, you want to cherish & save all that you can. It is very difficult to replace....

    --->Paul
     
  19. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, it's not one of my favorite ideas either, but one way or another I WILL have veggies on this ground!

    Can you tell me how wide a culvert a tractor will need? :confused: He MIGHT be able to go through the neighbors 20' wide culvert, as it is within a couple of feet of the property line, and gain acrss to my land that way.

    Or, does a tractor even NEED a culvert? The land is level with the road, excepting for the drainage ditch.
     
  20. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To me a culvert is a big round pipe (some are 1', some are 12' diameter...) that water runs through, and we drive over the top of them.

    Typically, there is a field approach or driveway every so often that allows access from the road to property.

    Any tractor small enough to plow or till up 2000 square feet should be able to drive down an 8-10' wide road. Every tractor needs to be under 20' wide to go down the road legally....

    I make hay on the road ditches on my property, and typically drive up & down them - but I wouldn't drive down _any_ road ditch, as some are way too steep. Most would be do-able tho.

    Surely a tractor can come into the yard & drive over to your garden patch if not directly from the highway? Otherwise how would you get a tiller or sod cutter in there? :)

    I hope I'm in sync with what you are asking....

    --->Paul