Clearing a Field for Planting Grass
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    gwood86's Avatar
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    Clearing a Field for Planting Grass

    I will be preparing an overgrown field so that the landowner can plant grass. It currently has growth about 2-3feet high. We will go through it first and remove any large rocks that might be an issue. I'm planning on renting a brush cutter (the JD dealer calls it a 5' Gyromower) to first cut the growth down. Then I plan on running a JD 655 tiller over it to churn it up. Finally, I will run through it with my York rake to smooth it out and clean it up. I'm thinking after that, it will be ready to seed.

    Sounds like a fun weekend but what do you guys think about my plan? Also, the only time I have ever used my PTO was for a posthole digger so any advice on running a tiller and/or mower like this would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
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    Depending on how dry it is, keep a close eye on the grill and cooling system, I did this with a neighbor about 10 years ago to control a little
    over an acre of blackberries straddling our property line, and actually overheated my 770 to the point of it shutting down on me twice, the
    only times it ever did that.
    First time was on seeds that got thrown up by the brush cutting, the second time by fine dirt during the second or third pass with the tiller.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Sounds like a neat project. But your estimate on one weekend sounds off to me unless it is a very small field - that is a lot of work you have planned.
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    I'd have someone walk that field before you cut it. If you've got vines growing (like poison ivy, buckthorn, etc..) you'll probably want to pull them. Otherwise you run the risk of cutting and then tilling them in they'll just root themselves all over.
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    raco232's Avatar
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    I suggest using Roundup first, let it dry down good and then burn it. I don't know the area around the property, but if can.....spray, burn and then till. From my experience, this will be your best way to do the job. You will not have to rent the mower, you will find any objects, weeds will be dead and you will have clean ground to till. Consider planting grass in the fall, as you will have a higher success rate with the cooler weather and the ground will hold the moisture better.
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    My buddy prepped his yard for SOD by applying grass/weed killer in ample quantities. He didn't burn it because it's near his house. He then tilled it up.

    If you have a York rake, I would go through it before you till. It will be good at finding rocks, roots, debris. I use one on my bare lot I am trying to prep to one day hold sod (I am having a house built etc) and can tell you the landscape rake really does a good job of getting rocks etc. Once you rake it, then till it up. You can use the rake to smooth out the tilled dirt if you want afterwards if it isn't smooth enough for you.

    Depending how big the lot is you can do this in a weekend but it will take most of it.

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    Some parts of Connecticut can be pretty rocky. You're received some pretty good advice but I'd run a middle buster or a single bottom plow through the area to loosen things up and uncover any large stones or roots just under the surface. Had the same idea about tilling some areas around my property. First pass with the tiller was "uncomfortable" to say the least. Many large rocks & roots that were cause for concern.
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    Hit the grass/weeds at max rate with Glyphosate, a week before mowing.

    Mow, and apply again to anything that comes up after a week.

    Then till, and wait a week. You may very well have to kill more crud coming up.

    There are going to be late season perennial weeds in the soil, rhizomes from pest weeds, as well as lots of annual junk just waiting for the soil to be disturbed.
    Kill it all now, before it takes over the new lawn.

    Follow planting, with a good lawn pre-emerge until the grass is established.

    It's not going to happen in a day or even a weekend, unless you want to battle weeds for control of the lawn.

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    meyerld's Avatar
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    Have done this many times when I was on the farm as boy and my choice would depend on how large the field is. For a small area a tiller is OK but for a larger area it is slow going particularly if ground is hard. For a larger area use a cultivator followed by harrows (after you deal with the grass). Cultivate and harrow in both directions. What size land we talking about here? If land is hard then would go with a plow first then disc the furrows then harrow.
    Last edited by meyerld; 06-22-2016 at 10:50 PM.

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    gwood86's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great input. The field is only about 1.5 acres so I don't think it will take too long. I'm hoping the ground is not so hard that the tiller won't break into it. This used to be a small farm so I'm thinking the ground might be softer than typical New England soil. We will go through it pretty well first for rocks and such but I'm sure I'll hit some with the tiller. By the way...what happens when you hit a rock with the tiller? Does it just ride over it or do I have to worry about breaking the tines.

    Thanks.
    3039R with H165 FEL and 385A BH with thumb
    LR6 72" Woods Landscape Rake
    RB72 Woods Rear Blade
    EA 60" Wicked Root Grapple
    Electronic 3rd SCV with lines to FEL
    3Pt Hitch Receiver
    Woods SB74C Snowblower
    42" Titan Pallet Forks

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