Upside down sod?

two_munkeys(z6 ON)May 29, 2002

I have a lot of rolls of sod (removed from around trees in my yard to make mowing easier) and no where to put them. I tried selling, but I only got rid of a few. Now that the sod has been laying around in the sun for over a week, it's no use to anyone.

I was thinking of laying the sod back in the beds upside down, then covering with landscape fabric or newspaper and mulch on top.

Will this be OK? Or am I going to have a problem with the sod coming back?

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virakech(z5 Ohio)

That's how I make my new beds, I use the newspaper (not the color pages) and mulch on top. Works great, you get to keep your topsoil. Some grass may come back, but pull it out after a rain, or use spray if you choose. I've had great success with it for years, and never a major problem yet.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2002 at 9:14PM
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Oh me too! I just turn it upside down and mulch right over it. Sometimes i tear the grass out of the dirt too. It will all just decompose and make wonderful soil!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2002 at 12:26PM
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Kay_H(NE MI-Z5)

I would not cover the upturned sod until I knew it was dead. Grass has a way of re-orientating itself, turning around and finding it's way back to the sun. Covering it will give it the moisture it needs to have time to do this.
I would lay the sod down, upside down - you can even do this over existing sod, and let it dry out completely. It can take several weeks for the sod to die. You might want to use a pitch fork to poke around once in a while to make sure no roots are taking hold. Then, after the sod is good and dead, lay down your newspaper, mulch, or whatever.

Don't use garden fabric! Only use organic materials that will decompose. The mulch over the fabric will eventually break down. Then weeds/plants will take root in the soil over the fabric, and the roots will get tangled up in the fabric making it imposible to pull them up. It will turn into a real mess. My mom did this once and it took 4 of us 2 full days to get that fabric up from under the weed filled broken down mulch. What a nightmare!!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2002 at 8:25AM
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two_munkeys(z6 ON)

Well, it's been about a week now. The upturned sod (not yet covered) seems to be growing!! Of course, we have had cloudy, rainy, cool days, so I guess it's no wonder.

Is there any way to kill this sod yet leave it in the garden? I'd hate to lose the topsoil, not to mention the height of the bed.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 4:50PM
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We've told you. Cover with newspaper then mulch. Unless you block the light, the grass will grow.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 6:01PM
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Kay_H(NE MI-Z5)

Leaving it upside down, with the roots exposed will kill it once it dries out. Grass is tough stuff. It will take weeks for it to die completely. If you cover it with paper and mulch it will continue to have moisture and try to find the light. It will work, but in my experience, it takes longer to die covered, then exposed and dried out.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2002 at 6:48PM
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Anyone had any experience with simply putting mulch and newspaper over grass to create a new flower bed?? I had planned to do this in August to take advantage of the harsh sun -- and turn the area into a flower bed next spring.

From the above suggestions, it looks people are saying it might be best to dig up the grass, turn it over to let it dry, then cover with newspaper and mulch.

Any other thoughts out there??

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 11:07AM
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Yes, we've done it. Cover the grass with newspaper or cardboard, cover that with lots of mulch, and you will have a great bed in the spring. Do it now, and use as many different kinds of organic material in the mulch layer as you can -- grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, straw, coffee grounds, wood chips -- it's best if you pile it more than a foot deep. Leaving the sod in place actually gives you a better bed because the grass roots rot in place, improving soil texture.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 6:38PM
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It's called 'Lasagna" gardening, and it works great. Put a thick layer of newspaper over your upsidedown grass, at least 6-10 layers thick, throw some mulch over the top, and next season, you're ready to plant!!!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2002 at 10:03AM
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I have read that in England they use upside down sod as a seed starting medium to be used outside. I've tried it a few times and it works great. Also I've heard that it can be used for planting water lilies and then sunk into the pond.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2002 at 10:20PM
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Lois1(FL - 9)

Its called 'instant garden' - mow very low, cover with 2-3 sheets of newspaper, overlapped [according to the Brooklyn Bot Gard, colored newspaper, like comics -not the bright print- might be safer than black and white]. Work on a non-windy day.

Mulch. To plant, cut an x in the paper; it will eventually decay. And it looks nice while your waiting.

I believe its a restudy by the U of Tx; they seem to be reviving many old home remedies.

Many grasses will be dead in less than 6 weeks [except bermuda types- it may take years!!!]

My projects takes a bit longer because I like ditch edging. Its easy maintenance, attractive and environmental.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2002 at 8:49PM
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KMac__Z5Ohio(Z5 Ohio)

I tried a cheaters version of lasagna gardening. I left the sod in place (didn't even mow it). Bought bundles of newsprint for a quarter a bundle and smothered the area of the bed. I had a small load of soil delivered and added a bunch of peatmoss, compost (purchased), and manure. I was moving into a new house and didn't have a supply of compost, clippings or any of the other organic media that your supposed to use. I immediately planted a bunch of divisions from friends and family and everything is doing great. I haven't had any grass coming thru (other than a few sprigs around the outside edges). I'm going to side with the folks that say cover the grass - no light - no life. Respect.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2002 at 9:53AM
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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

Regarding newspaper, everything I have read said that any colored ink, especially the glossy stuff was bad. It all has said stick to the black and white pages only.

I've lasagna gardened for years, without knowing that's what it was called. In the fall, carboard or paper layers covered with grass/leaf clippings from fall mowings, and the discounted (broken bags) pine bark mulch, peat moss, etc from stores, spoiled straw from local farmers, etc. Pile it up about a foot or 2 high. You'll lose 1/2 or more as it breaks down through that first spring.

My logic to my wife was "It's a spread out compost pile, and I am smothering the grass. No need to dig the grass, compost it and carry it back to the bed." She called it my lazy man flower bed. Either way, we both called it beautiful the next summer.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2002 at 3:04AM
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I would think putting upside down sod around newly planted shrub roses, etc. would help them live thru the winter better. I wish I had done that with my rose plantings last summer. Has anyone done it?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 3:33AM
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