Newbee needs help! How to grade/level dirt/yard prior to grass.
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Thread: Newbee needs help! How to grade/level dirt/yard prior to grass.

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    Newbee needs help! How to grade/level dirt/yard prior to grass.

    Hi so I searched the forums and havent found an exact answer for my problem. Short version is I have 2.25 acres that I just built a house on. 100% clay. Rear 1.75 acres slightly slopes towards my house. and has 2 hills, one im paying a guy to remove which is over a gas pipeline, the second I am going to conquer.
    Rear of lot has about a 4 foot drop off over about 150 ft so my goal is to push the crown of the hill towards the rear and smooth it all out.

    Fun part, I bought a 2018 1025R TLB, depressing part, I am actually stuck at not knowing the right tools or steps to basically remove the crown of the hill. I have a tiller, buddy has a rear blade, not sure best or most efficient way to do this. Crown of hill is about maybe a foot ish high over around 100 feet by about 200 ft wide.

    So basically looking for what attachment is needed to help me grade. Then ill figure out how to use it.

    Also while im writing a post.

    Anyone have tips on best way to clear brush and then smooth out dirt with the TLB? Manually cut/pulled out brush with my truck last year and then mowed and paid a guy to use a harely rake to smooth it all out. Problem is Harely rakes are expensive as H and none locally I could find to use/rent. Looking to do everything myself.

    Lastly, anyone have tips on best way to move a newly planted B&B tree? Township planted one right where my future drive will be for my future polebarn...was thinking of getting bucket hooks and a strap to lift out....however any tips are helpful.

    Again I am sorry for being such a noob. I have always done things manually before and now that I have an expensive tool I feel kind of lost.

    Thanks!!
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    Drifterbike's Avatar
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    watch videos from everything attachments on the use of a box blade. I think they work about the best for all around dirt and gravel.
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    neiltcasey (04-03-2018)

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    Well, for starters... Clearing brush can be done with a toothbar attached to the bucket. Think BIG sawblade. I have this one BXpanded Piranha Toothbar

    and I cleared out a lot of overgrown blackberries and stuff from behind my barn. It cuts them off well and tends to make snags that stay together 'till you get to your dump pile. It also helps the bucket dig into the dirt.

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    I would look at long term uses and figure it out from there. It depends on how much dirt you are looking at moving but I have done this with my X585 equipped with the FEL and a box grader. It wasn't as big of an area though. We hauled in the new dirt mainly because we removed a bunch of white pines that were next to the building and the soil was pretty acidic from the pine so grass wouldn't grow well. The FEL/BB combo did a good job of spreading and smoothing out the dirt. It was seeded and straw mats laid over it to keep the erosion in check until the grass could grow.






    You could try a rear blade but the problem with them is kind of like with plowing snow, the dirt just rolls off the sides.

    In my case I was hauling dirt in not moving it. Not sure how far you are moving it but maybe try tilling it to break it up. Then use the FEL to move it to a trailer then dump in the area where you want it. If it was a short distance you could move it in the FEL.

    I just haven't delt with much clay so I don't know what that means for the process. It may make things a little more difficult.
    Last edited by sennister; 04-03-2018 at 12:17 PM.


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    neiltcasey (04-03-2018)

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    Lots of practice

    Quote Originally Posted by neiltcasey View Post
    Hi so I searched the forums and havent found an exact answer for my problem. Short version is I have 2.25 acres that I just built a house on. 100% clay. Rear 1.75 acres slightly slopes towards my house. and has 2 hills, one im paying a guy to remove which is over a gas pipeline, the second I am going to conquer.
    Rear of lot has about a 4 foot drop off over about 150 ft so my goal is to push the crown of the hill towards the rear and smooth it all out.

    Fun part, I bought a 2018 1025R TLB, depressing part, I am actually stuck at not knowing the right tools or steps to basically remove the crown of the hill. I have a tiller, buddy has a rear blade, not sure best or most efficient way to do this. Crown of hill is about maybe a foot ish high over around 100 feet by about 200 ft wide.

    So basically looking for what attachment is needed to help me grade. Then ill figure out how to use it.

    Also while im writing a post.

    Anyone have tips on best way to clear brush and then smooth out dirt with the TLB? Manually cut/pulled out brush with my truck last year and then mowed and paid a guy to use a harely rake to smooth it all out. Problem is Harely rakes are expensive as H and none locally I could find to use/rent. Looking to do everything myself.

    Lastly, anyone have tips on best way to move a newly planted B&B tree? Township planted one right where my future drive will be for my future polebarn...was thinking of getting bucket hooks and a strap to lift out....however any tips are helpful.

    Again I am sorry for being such a noob. I have always done things manually before and now that I have an expensive tool I feel kind of lost.

    Thanks!!
    In reverse order- it's easy to get a tree out of the ground unless you want to replant it and have it live. That's much harder, lol. I would use your backhoe and dig the appropriate hole where the tree should be. Then I would use the hoe to dig outside of the hole that the tree is in and carefully try to get a tarp or burlap under the tree. Tie the tarp or burlap around the root ball and then lift using straps.

    A tooth bar is the best tool for brush. You are going to want one for digging into your clay anyway. A good operator with the backhoe can scrape it off the top of the ground and not dig in but that takes practice. It's easier to set the loader bucket with a tooth bar down flat on the ground and then very slightly angle the bucket down. Drive forward and with a little touch the brush will come out.

    Moving the dirt is going to be a bit harder since it's clay. You can dig it with either the backhoe or the loader bucket and move it with the bucket. However, moving large amounts of dirt in a relatively small bucket is a slow process. It's ok for small amounts but it will take you some time for large amounts and if the distance is long. I would probably suggest using a box blade with the rippers down to loosen that clay up. You may or may not have enough power and traction to both rip and drag a box blade full of dirt in the same pass. If the clay is tight, you probably can't do that in which case you can rip first and then drag. It's also easier to load a bucket with loose dirt than maintain a good grade with a loader in tight soil.

    The best advice I can give you is the only way you are going to learn your new equipment is to run it. You will make mistakes so start moving dirt in the more private areas of the yard, not next to the house. If you make a hole, practice filling it in. If you leave a high spot, cut it down some. It's great to watch videos, read tips etc. but at some point you've got to get on the machine and learn for yourself. Go slow. Go so slow that you feel like you are crawling but pay attention to the machine. If you are using the loader, try to cut a 1-2" smooth cut with the FEL. If you are using the backhoe, cut to a flat grade. If you get a box blade, try it with the cutting edge down and rippers up and vice versa and pay attention to what it's doing. Get used to the machine and get comfortable getting the grade right before trying to get any speed up.

    Treefarmer
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    I cant speak to the brush, but Ill be following for info on that, as Ive got some (a lot) to get rid of myself. Thinking Bxpanded toothbar too, but like look/function of a real toothbar, but they are also more money.

    As to the clay, we have quite a bit here in Indiana. If it were me, and I had a tiller, Id remove your brush, then Id go after it with the tiller when its not wet. Moving it with the loader once its broken up will be a piece of cake.
    Jim B.

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    Last year I had opportunity to grade, add top soil, and seed about 1 1/2 acres after home construction. I am by no means an expert but one thing I did learn was that using a CUT with a box blade and FEL can do a lot for you. However, a soil pulverizer that can break down the lumps of dirt/clay left by the box blade would have provided a significant improvement to my finished grade. FWIW.
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