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RaginCajunz
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Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
We're nearing completion of our pool project and starting to discuss having our yard regraded and probably doing sod.

Is there a bad time in Louisiana (Prairieville) to do it? From a project and available personal time, early October would be ideal. Is that a terrible time to do it? Would it have enough time to get established before complete dormancy?

This post was edited on 8/5 at 9:56 am


CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3431 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
Oct would be fine.

I had to lay a 1/2 pallet of centipede sod where I had a tree removed last Oct, maybe it was early Nov, and it established fine and looks great - and that was with the record freeze we had earlier this year. Oct is historically a dry month in south LA so it would still need lots of watering.

But in south Louisiana you can lay sod all year round, if and when required, though laying it during periods of active growth are ideal.


slinger1317
Houston Astros Fan
Northshore
Member since Sep 2005
4551 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
October is usually a dry month down here- water the shite out of your sod for the first 2 weeks. Soak it in the morning and evening for sure, if not more.


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RaginCajunz
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
That's kind of what I was hoping. It's also not miserable hot and would make doing that work much more bearable.

My current yard is a mix of centipede, wild bermuda and assorted weeds including some spots of doveweed. Here is my initial plans.

1- Nuke the yard with a mix of roundup and sedgehammer to kill everything. (Will this kill the doveweed or do I need to do celcius as well?)
2- Wait 2 weeks, and nuke it again.
3- Get the dirt work done.
** - Any tips on what kind of bulk material I want to request? Straight topsoil?
4- Lay sod
5- Water the buhjesus out of it for a few weeks.

Is there some sort of soil test I need to do? If so, when would that fit into the timeline? What would I do with that info if I'm laying sod?



CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3431 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
I believe roundup on its own should take care everything without using Celsius or Sedgehammer but someone else can correct me if I’m wrong.

What type of dirt work do you need - just tilling/grading/leveling - or is fill dirt required for low spots. I’m paranoid with regards recommending any type of River silt/sand in our area and introducing torpedograss. True top soil from a non-river source, mason sand, ….

What type of sod do you plan on?

Sure I’d have the AgCenter do a soil analysis test after you complete the tilling, grading, filling, etc. for baseline info. Odds are in your favor nothing will be required but let’s say you using centipede sod and the recommendation is to lower the pH 1 unit, say from 7 to 6, with elemental sulfur, then the time to do that is before the sod is laid.

Getting back to the fill, I’d run that by Dr. Ron Strahan turf and weed specialist with the LSU AgCenter rstrahan@agcenter.lsu.edu, asking his recommendations and your concern with torpedograss and avoiding it.
This post was edited on 7/26 at 12:04 pm


RaginCajunz
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
I wasn't sure if the roundup would knock out the nut on my nutgrass, or if I needed something specific to really kill it.

I'm hoping to get my dirt guy in the yard in a week or two to discuss. I'm not wanting to do anything too drastic but it feels like I have so many low spots that I'm sure they will want to bring in fill.

overall I'm hoping to mostly get it tilled and grated nice and flat keeping the natural subtle slope towards the rear where there is a drainage ditch behind.

As far as sod, I haven't made up my mind nor discussed prices. I have mostly centipede in the front yard and I'm really fine with it. My backyard has a few moderately sized pear trees and crape myrtles, but mostly full sun since it's a 1/2 acre lot.



RaginCajunz
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
I've got a guy in our neighborhood who runs a company doing dirt work (ditches, pads, grading...etc) I had him come over and take a look at my lumpy squishy yard. He doesn't bring the dirt himself, but another guy in the neighborhood runs a company that will handle that part. Which I dig, as he said he'd rather I deal with the dirt guy directly for the fill so he doesn't have to mark it up etc.

It sounds like his plan would be to bring in several 20 yard trucks of dirt and re-grading it all out from my new pool outward in a gentle slope towards the yard edges. Mostly following the natural slope to the rear fence. (main drainage ditch 10' behind the fence)

That brings me to the fill material. His default was batture dirt as it spreads very smooth. I've seen nothing but warnings about using batture due to torpedo grass and every other weed problem known to man. Can you use batture to build and top with a better soil? Can you use pre-emergent if sodding to hold weed seeds at bay? .

Is there a cost effective answer to 60 yards of fill for a lawn?




CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3431 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
quote:

RaginCajunz

Best I can suggest is to contact Dr. Ron Strahan rstrahan@agcenter.lsu.edu, turf and weed specialist with the LSU AgCenter and provide him details, etc in your last post and ask for his opinion/suggestions/recommendations. With potential for introducing torpedo grass from batture dirt I’d be very leery. Pre-emergents can help with many weeds, but not torpedo grass and sedges (nutgrass). No sure capping batture soil with top soil is adequate - Ron Strahan can answer that.


RaginCajunz
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
I appreciate the contact info. I fired off an email and I'll post his response


RaginCajunz
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
Dr. Strahan responded. He advised no use of pre-emergent if laying sod, and unless they can guarantee the soil is free from torpedo seed, use some sort of topsoil.


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RaginCajunz
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Member since Mar 2009
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
So I talked to my dirt guy and he gave me the following options for bringing in dirt to re-grade my backyard.

- Clay
- River Silt (aka Batture dirt)
- Unsifted Topsoil (sticks and some debris but true top)
- Amite River Sand
- Mississippi River Pump Sand

It seems like the unsifted topsoil is the no-brainer here.





AndyCBR
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Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Nov 2012
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
quote:

It seems like the unsifted topsoil is the no-brainer here.



I would love to see this material.

FYI there really is no source for true topsoil unless you have oodles of uncleared land. Even then you only get a foot or so of half soil/half sticks and leaves if you clear it in bulk.

Most of what people call "topsoil" in bulk is some mishmash of ground mulch and other dirt.

As much as I hate to say it, river silt is the best fine grading material for landscaping. Yes you do introduce weed contaminants into your soil but most of them choke out when sod is laid on top.

Try and get some better material for your flower beds if possible.

BTW River silt and Mississippi river pump sand are very similar. Some river silt from the Amite locally is orange and has higher sand content (from Dennis Stewart). If you get river silt from Richfield it will be the more typical dark brown river silt.

Hope this helps...


ronk
Member since Jan 2015
3163 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
Sandy loam. Tell your dirt guy to find it.


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RaginCajunz
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Member since Mar 2009
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
His exact descriptions below. Some pricing details removed but otherwise his text to me.
—————

Clay

Riversilt (batcher dirt)

Topsoil loads I have to go into Livingston to get topsoil. Also it won’t be available for another few weeks which I think for you we are ok on that. Also please note this won’t be sifted so it will have sticks and small debris in it. But, it is true topsoil.

Amite River Sand (off white)
I have to get this off Arnold Rd in Walker.

Mississippi River Pump Sand (dark brown) as you guessed it’s from where the riversilt is dredged from. So not sure about the torpedo weed in this or the silt? It’s the same prices as the Amite River Sand per loads.


LSUtigerME
LSU Fan
Walker, LA
Member since Oct 2012
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
quote:

Topsoil loads I have to go into Livingston to get topsoil. Also it won’t be available for another few weeks which I think for you we are ok on that. Also please note this won’t be sifted so it will have sticks and small debris in it. But, it is true topsoil.

Amite River Sand (off white)
I have to get this off Arnold Rd in Walker.



Who’s your guy? If he’s getting top soil out of LP, I’m interested.

Ultimately, if you’re planting grass on top/in, go with the top soil. If you need to build up significantly, you can get fill/clay and then top with the top soil. I’d recommend against batture or river silt/sand due to weeds, unless you’re pouring concrete on top.

Another thing to consider, if you’re going with Bermuda or Zoysia, you can at least control torpedo or other weeds in those grasses. So while they are a pain in the ass, they won’t necessarily ruin a lawn. I had some torpedo come in with some river silt and was able to knock it out with localized roundup and Quinclorac. The river silt worked pretty well for what I was doing, so it really sucks it has so many weeds.


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RaginCajunz
LA-Lafayette Fan
Member since Mar 2009
3740 posts
 Online 

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
A followup on this tread. Between Ida throwing a wrench in my plans, (tractor guy spending his time moving debris and my dirt guy had lots of damage to his home and his parent's home), and the potential monsoon of rain we may experience.

I'm not sure I can hit my target for early October sod laying. I am leaning towards zoysia sod. How late is too late to put it down and have success?

Is there an option of having the dirt work completed and tossing out rye seed so my fresh soil doesn't wash away all winter?


CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3431 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
quote:

A followup on this tread. Between Ida throwing a wrench in my plans, (tractor guy spending his time moving debris and my dirt guy had lots of damage to his home and his parent's home), and the potential monsoon of rain we may experience. I'm not sure I can hit my target for early October sod laying. I am leaning towards zoysia sod. How late is too late to put it down and have success? Is there an option of having the dirt work completed and tossing out rye seed so my fresh soil doesn't wash away all winter?

I’m of the understanding you lay sod year round in south LA with success and certainly one sees it all the time with new house construction in the area. But that said, since you shelling out significant $ for this, I’d get back in touch with Dr. Ron Strahan with the LSU AgCenter on your two options and follow his advice.


RaginCajunz
LA-Lafayette Fan
Member since Mar 2009
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re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
Thanks CrawDude. I may email him. I did find this with a little google searching.

Laying Dormant Sod - LSU Ag

It categorizes it as risky after October. It may just end up being a spring project if things don't shape up quickly. The "keep kids off it until after green-up" becomes difficult if that stretches all winter with 6 and 8 year old boys. It's manageable for a month or so but impossible to do over a winter.

I've never messed with rye. I know it is supposed to germinate and take easily. But come spring does it all die back completely? Would I then have a yard full of rye seed that could fight my sod later on?



CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3431 posts

re: Best/Worst Months to Lay Sod (Dirt question)
Certainly there is greater risk the later one lays sod into the year. I will say this I laid 1/2 a pallet of centipede sod in mid-Oct last year where I had a tree removed, a it took beautifully - I had some concern that the extended hard freeze in Feb might damage not yet fully developed root system but it didn’t. I realize you have no guarantees as to when you are going to have your lawn graded and ready for sod.

Certainly planting rye grass is a viable option with you laying sod next spring summer. Either annual rye or perennial rye (more expensive but doesn’t grow as fast/tall) will die out naturally in the heat of summer, and as I recall correctly that’s going to occur by May. But nothing will reclude you of killing the rye earlier, say March, with a non-selective herbicide, slightly disking the area, and then laying sod in spring. There nothing complicated about planting and growing rye - it is an annual and I’m told even perennial rye can not survive the heat of our summers so you are not going to have a re-occurring issue with rye after you lay sod.


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