Easiest method of removing old sod

Yesterday, I prepared an area for planting horseradish, rhubarb and ginger root. I removed all old grass with a layer of sod and tossed on the compost pile. Do do this, I simply undercut the sod with a shovel, with a kind of "bayonet like" movement of shovel. It was painful and a lot of effort.
We are thinking about planting new lawn in another area, and I would like to remove old sod to keep it weed free. The question is, what is the most economical way (effort-wise)to do so? Is a "sod cutter" a good way to go?
Also, what can I do with a large quanity of old dead sod. I have a compost pile, which is comprised of old leaves, new grass, and chicken manure (2 chickens). Would it do well in a compost pile?
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The *easiest* method is not to remove it at all. You can define the area to be converted, spray with Roundup, wait 7 days or so, then plant directly in through the sod. I've done this many times with good results, but for it to work well long-term one should then lay thick layers of newspaper and mulch in on top.
Dave

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On top of the newly laid sod???
i

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    The easiest way is to cover it with something that kills it and wait till fall ( assuming it's spring where you are). Black plastic works well, also newspaper covered with mulch.
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maybe I can cover it with blue tarp until fall? (I already own three huge blue tarps).
I am reluctant to use herbicides, because I recently planted four fruit trees in that area. I want to plant grass around those trees. The area is currenntly empty maybe 60%, and has bad grass and weeds in another 40%. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- char*p="char*p=%c%s%c;main()";main()         "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
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On 17 May 2004 16:45:33 GMT, Ignoramus4854

The blue tarp should work. Roundup is OK around trees if you want to go that way. I'd put newspaper and then grass clippings or mulch on top around the trees. It would get rid of the grass and weeds and build the soil. Worms love newspaper.
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(snip)

It will be an excellent addition to your compost pile.
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On 17 May 2004 14:42:29 GMT, Ignoramus4854

I sure hope you will NEVER want to move that horseradish, one hair root survives, you got more horseradish, I put a 4 x 8 piece of scrap plywood over mine, and left it there for oh.. 10 years... it managed to eventually get out from under it.

You are wanting to kill off old sod, and then reseed it to grass again? In order to make the new lawn are weed free?
Is the current grass ok, just weedy? Or is it entirely unacceptable grass, as well as weedy?
If the grass is ok, just weedy, then don't kill it, kill the weeds. There are lots of broad leaf weed killers out there that will kill the non-grass plants. Once that has been done, rake the ground to loosen the soil and then reseed over the existing grass. Or you can go over it shallowly with a rototiller, tear up the current grass.. after killing broad leaf weeds. Then water it very well, and keep it watered, you will have just performed a few million "cuttings" and the cut rhizomes will sprout and make more grass. That's why the WORST thing you can do to form a new garden spot is to just rototill the grass where you want it. Even with diligent raking, you will have so much grass come up in there! You could rototill, and seed too, keep it all well watered.
If you have a lot of grass you do not want growing in your lawn, then you have another problem. If it's quack grass, all I can say is GOOD LUCK getting rid of it if there is a lot of it. Supposedly the newer formulations of round up is supposed to kill it. Finale was supposed to kill it, but I no longer see it for sale. If you have a lot of quack grass, I'd suggest every method you can think of combined! Spray the affected area it with something rated to kill it. Wait, water, wait to see what grows, spray that again. I'd take a season if it's quack grass and lots of it, at least, to make sure it's REALLY dead. During this time, let things die, rake them off, water, don't stir up the soil to expose new weed seeds at this point. Wait,watch, see what is still going to come up, respray. If you see there is still a lot of quack grass coming up.. keep in mind their rhizomes often grow many feet each spring.. I pulled up 10 feet of rhizome before it broke in the spring one year. That's the only time of year you can really pull out a lot of it like that.. before the side shoots anchor it. If you seed when you know you still have quack grass alive it will remain alive. You can spray, respray, cover it with black plastic, keep light and food away from the roots, and it can still come back if there are rhizomes under the plastic being fed by green plant somewhere else, so it might be worthwhile to at least make a cut all around the section you're dealing with, to sever any rhizomes.
I hope all you have is broad leaf weeds, in which case, spray them with a broad leaf weed killer, rake out the dead weeds and thatch after the weeds die, and rough up the soil a bit doing that, and reseed the area heavily with a good grass seed, and water and keep it watered the old grass will act like the straw they tell you to scatter across a newly seeded area of ground, it will help to keep the soil damp, and when the new seed grows, and you feed it.. it will thicken and choke out anything trying to grow in the lawn.
You can spray all the existing lawn with round-up, rake off the dead stuff, do whatever you want to do to improve the soil, but by working that into the soil, you will bring new weed seeds to the surface, and they'll sprout right along with the lawn grass seed if you choose to seed at that time. But the grass will choke out most of them eventually. If you have stubborn perennial weeds like bind weed, that too is tenacious and should be gotten rid of before planting your grass. Tilling it up will only make it worse. They have very deep flesh roots that can store food for a long time. Local agricultural agent said you can spray, and repeat, over and over. Or you can go out and BEFORE they have bloomed paint full strength roundup on their leaves. You should be able to do so on just a few leaves, and if it's before it's bloomed it's supposed to take the roundup down to the roots. After, the sap flow reverses and it doesn't work. I didn't say it, she did. I've not tried it because I don't get around so well these days, but it's worth a try!
Your success no matter which method you choose, shall depend a great deal on just what kind of weeds you are trying to deal with and how long they've been there.

Sod in the compost big if the bin truly heats and composts, will compost well. One time I saw a method listed to take any removed sod and stack it grass side down, as neatly as you can, and then water it and cover it well with black plastic ..don't let light in anywhere. This should be in an area where the sun can hit the plastic, heating it up, killing the grass, and you'll have nice loam soil after a few months. That keeps the grass from growing in your compost bin if it's just a pile of garden refuse that seldom heats or gets turned.. like mine! ;-D I'd make sure any sod already in your bin gets covered well to exclude light, and it should die and rot and any organisms in the sod will help fuel the beasties that live in the bin. ;-)
Good luck!
Janice
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No such thing as easy sod remmoval unless you have a powered sod cutter. I just finished removing sod to make new beds for the wifes flowers, and it was tought going and far from a breeze. Removed centipede in those areas and in some other areas bahia grass. It does help a lot if the soil is somewhat damp and moist but not soaking wet. I find a square mouth shovel works best for my type soils (no rocks or gravel at all) Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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