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re sodding question

I never miss an episode if at all possible, even back to the old days with Bob V. and always enjoy the shows. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned over the years from Norm, Roger, Richard, and Tom (sorry Kevin).
My question is this:
My 20 year old Bermuda lawn is looking very bad. I want to re-sod with the newly developed Tiff Grand Bermuda (at my alma mater...UGA) that is shade tolerant and should be available in July.
I have been told conflicting things. Some say to just spray the lawn with grass killer and when dead, cut it very short and lay the new sod over it and water in well and often till it roots.
Others say, that I have to remove the old sod before placing the new sod down.
Still others say you can just roto-till the grass, rake it smooth and then re sod.
Obviously, the first idea would be easy to do and far less costly...since I would be doing the this myself, will that work?

A. Spruce
Re: re sodding question

I've not heard of overlaying existing grass with new sod. The definite advantage is the reduction in work and expense, however IMHO, it's a bad idea. Part of the reason to till and remove the old grass is that you'll destroy the growth and root structures of the weeds, then the sod creates a pretty good blanket that will smother out most new growth, however, if that growth is already established with a good root structure, all you've done is force it to push toward the warmth and light. Weeds will likely take over much more quickly and be more problematic than having started from bare soil.

Reasons to till the soil are so that you can install or change the irrigation as necessary, regrade and amend the soil, and change the layout of the landscaping if you so desire. Tilling will aerate the soil and it will be easier for the sod to take root, it will also allow you to smooth out any dips or pockets that have formed over the years.

Re: re sodding question

Although my lawn doesn't have any weeds and the lawn would be sprayed to kill everything anyway, nor am I in need of repositioning my underground sprinkler system, I was kinda hoping that the quick and easy method would suffice.
Guess I was just hoping for a quick fix.
Thanks for the advice.

Re: re sodding question

There are only a few types of grass used for sod, because of the fact that they have very shallow and thick root systems. So when you run the sod cutter it gets 90% of the roots which is what make it easy to cut and move and still hold the dirt. That being said, to poison the grass and cut it short would be the worst option. If you read the label on most killers, it will last for 6 months or more, so you couldnt replant for at least 6 months. Even if you were to wait the 6 months and cut it short, you would still have tiny stubbles of short grass which would keep the roots from making contact with the soil, even if its a 16th from the soil its enough to kill it. If the roots were strong enough to contact the ground, they would have to fight their way through the thick root system of the previous sod. So a good option is to till in and resod, or a really good option is to rent a sod cutter, and take up what you already have, then rake in some organic matter (usually manure) then resod. The sod cuter is the best option if your not looking to raise the level of the grass, if you just till and resod it usually brings the level of your grass up a half inch (the thickness of the sod). Hope that helps.

Re: re sodding question

Thanks for the good advise.

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