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DA Quality Lawn & YS
07-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Hi guys,

After applying compost to a decent sized portion of my lawn last fall (with a shovel and rake, mind you), and seeing the vast benefits reaped this season in the form of higher lawn drought tolerance, I am really interested in a manual, perhaps push type compost applicator.

Has anyone used the Earth & Turf 24D model?
www.earthandturf.com/tf24d.htm
If so, what is your assessment of it? Is it hard to push with a hopper full of compost? How much does that unit go for? My intention would be to use this machine for 1/4 acre or less resi yards as either stand alone topdressing OR overseeding then topdressing applications. I believe I could sell these services pretty well around here, topdressing is almost unheard of in these parts.

Any other topdresser models that I should take a look at?

wrager
07-29-2009, 03:53 PM
I've been looking at these too.
http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/product.asp?PG=2217

This one is $895 plus S/H. i would love to find a used one!

jsf343
07-29-2009, 06:04 PM
Hi guys,

After applying compost to a decent sized portion of my lawn last fall (with a shovel and rake, mind you), and seeing the vast benefits reaped this season in the form of higher lawn drought tolerance, I am really interested in a manual, perhaps push type compost applicator.

Has anyone used the Earth & Turf 24D model?
www.earthandturf.com/tf24d.htm
If so, what is your assessment of it? Is it hard to push with a hopper full of compost? How much does that unit go for? My intention would be to use this machine for 1/4 acre or less resi yards as either stand alone topdressing OR overseeding then topdressing applications. I believe I could sell these services pretty well around here, topdressing is almost unheard of in these parts.

Any other topdresser models that I should take a look at?

how much do those run? did you see anything on prices?

DA Quality Lawn & YS
07-29-2009, 06:20 PM
how much do those run? did you see anything on prices?

The previous poster said $895 + ship for that Rittenhouse model.
Otherwise, that is what I am asking you or someone who has used these machines. Would really like to know about their functionality first, though.

jsf343
07-30-2009, 12:27 AM
The previous poster said $895 + ship for that Rittenhouse model.
Otherwise, that is what I am asking you or someone who has used these machines. Would really like to know about their functionality first, though.


Yeah I saw the price on that one, I was talking about the one you posted about.

Exact Rototilling
08-08-2009, 02:18 AM
I was also considering this top dresser for this fall....Bump!:waving:

kirk1701
08-08-2009, 09:29 AM
I just fell in love and actually think I got a boner :laugh:

I got two pallets of 40 Lb bags to spread by hand this fall and was really concidering having that homemade top dresser someone posted a while back, I was going to have someone build it.

I like this better, can see already how easily it can be engineered to weld a handle of the front to tow with a lawn tractor. :walking:

More info please.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
08-08-2009, 07:32 PM
Getting a lot of posts on here from people considering these machines.

NOW, lets hear from someone who has used one or something similar.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
08-11-2009, 04:13 PM
Bump - no one uses a push type topdresser out there??

kirk1701
08-11-2009, 05:25 PM
Bump - no one uses a push type topdresser out there??

Can I second that bump?

I just found a place locally to get my compost so I'm really concidering one.

hardscaper
08-13-2009, 02:36 PM
All of the roller distributor type topdressers (rittenhouse, earth and turf etc...)will only apply dry flowable material, if you're topdressing with wet material and need a walk behind I would suggest a powered unit like turfco or earth and turf 100SP, these will spread anything.

phasthound
08-13-2009, 03:29 PM
I think push type top dressers are good for tight spots for professionals who have larger top dressers. If you are adding topdressing to your services, I think you will quickly find out that the push type will not serve you well. I understand the need to save money on equipment, but you'll probably need to buy another model soon and then what have you saved?
I own the Earth & Turf 100SP. It paid for itself in the first year.

quackgrass
08-13-2009, 05:10 PM
I 2nd the E&T 100sp its a remarkable machine.

kirk1701
08-14-2009, 07:07 AM
This was posted here not too long ago (last year) and thinking about building this for next month.

Exact Rototilling
08-14-2009, 11:30 AM
I think push type top dressers are good for tight spots for professionals who have larger top dressers. If you are adding topdressing to your services, I think you will quickly find out that the push type will not serve you well. I understand the need to save money on equipment, but you'll probably need to buy another model soon and then what have you saved?
I own the Earth & Turf 100SP. It paid for itself in the first year.

How do price your top dress application with compost with a product like http://www.ekocompost.com/ ??

Minimum charge per sq. foot?

I found a bark blowing Co. in my area that will apply EKO compost for $46 or so a yard. :cry: Their application hoses can go up to 400 feet. My contractor cost for the same product is around $30 but that leaves me with hand shoveling and hand spreading. As much as I would like to offer this service I feel like I will be fighting gravity going against $46 a cubic yard applied...regardless of how I apply it?

Any advice?

phasthound
08-14-2009, 11:47 AM
How do price your top dress application with compost with a product like http://www.ekocompost.com/ ??

Minimum charge per sq. foot?

I found a bark blowing Co. in my area that will apply EKO compost for $46 or so a yard. :cry: Their application hoses can go up to 400 feet. My contractor cost for the same product is around $30 but that leaves me with hand shoveling and hand spreading. As much as I would like to offer this service I feel like I will be fighting gravity going against $46 a cubic yard applied...regardless of how I apply it?

Any advice?

I'd hire them to apply after I aerate & seed. :)

Exact Rototilling
08-14-2009, 01:35 PM
I'd hire them to apply after I aerate & seed. :)

Precisely what I was thinking. *trucewhiteflag*

pt03
08-15-2009, 10:48 AM
Just to follow up on that home built top dresser. Here are some pictures of the application. This was compost screened to 1/2 inch before being applied. I don't have the moisture content number. (never got it tested)

Compost trail (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3769503056/sizes/l/)

Close up (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3768666249/sizes/l/)

Top dresser (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3768540783/sizes/l/)

I laid that trail down to see how thick the material came out. I don't think it's too thick but I am not a lawn guy so my opinion means squat. All in all the machine works well with my compost.

I did a couple of friends lawns just to see how long it took but I don't know the size of the lawns and we stopped and talked several times so that data is pretty well useless.:dizzy:

Lloyd

kirk1701
08-15-2009, 11:14 PM
Just to follow up on that home built top dresser. Here are some pictures of the application. This was compost screened to 1/2 inch before being applied. I don't have the moisture content number. (never got it tested)

Compost trail (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3769503056/sizes/l/)

Close up (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3768666249/sizes/l/)

Top dresser (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3768540783/sizes/l/)

I laid that trail down to see how thick the material came out. I don't think it's too thick but I am not a lawn guy so my opinion means squat. All in all the machine works well with my compost.

I did a couple of friends lawns just to see how long it took but I don't know the size of the lawns and we stopped and talked several times so that data is pretty well useless.:dizzy:

Lloyd

Sounds like for what I do, that would be worth the investment :drinkup:

And just so happen I have a friend that does sheet metal, duck work and has a shop to build if and do the welding :cool2:

I'll post pic's here of my version this fall.
and in case I forgot before, thanks for the idea

blazemaeko
08-19-2009, 10:43 PM
pt03,
nice job with the applicator. how difficult was it to make? would be interested in building one myself. any challenging parts to fabricate?

thanks,
Rick

kirk1701
08-20-2009, 07:23 AM
pt03,
nice job with the applicator. how difficult was it to make? would be interested in building one myself. any challenging parts to fabricate?

thanks,
Rick

Yea +1 on that.

Might not be a bad idea.:drinkup:

pt03
08-20-2009, 09:57 AM
Well it was really easy for me, I watched my brother (mechanic/welder) do it whilst I drank beer.:drinkup:

It didn't take long or seem to be difficult. We did have a couple of issues, the end steel tended to bow in and that caused rubbing on the frame. He 'fixed' this by cutting a 1/2 inch piece of tubing to go between the end steel and the frame thus giving it the clearance.

The prototypes handle is also too narrow, the subsequent ones had wider handles that makes them easier to sterr/drive.

We used simple hose clamps on the axle to keep everything from shifting. We could have welded something on but we contemplated having to take the axle out if there was too much wear on the assembly.

The door and closing mechanism caused us to ponder it (drink beer) a lot but in the end the protype had exterior latches (which we didn't really like) and the next two had interior closures. He used small pipe, welded to the inside of the screen and used a thin rod to go through the end steel, into the pipe and then into the other end steel. A simple, welded on hook keeps the rod in place.

These things are pretty robust and it would take a lot to break them. The one concern I had and still have are the thin steel rods. I fear that a person might lay them down on the grass and step on them thus bending them. For this reason, we made up spares.

Picture with roll over notes. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3511427249/in/photostream/)

If you like I can go out and get more pictures and close-ups of anything that might be helpful. Let me know.

Lloyd

blazemaeko
08-20-2009, 11:05 PM
What gauge metal did you use for the roller? The axle I could picture working is a stud type and attach to the handle with a pillow block. The door pin has me stumped, maybe run it all the way through the roller side and secured with a hitch pin. Might take some playing to get the pipes lined up and welded that the pin would slide into. Let me know what you think of my ideas before I even cut my first piece of steel.

Rick

kirk1701
08-21-2009, 12:15 AM
And also, did you ponder (and drink more beer) on the idea of a hitch? Connect to riding tractor rather then walk behind; just wondering if there was a reason for handles to push/pull Vs connecting it to a tractor to pull for you?

That would be the only modification I would make and before doing so wondering if it was a limitation or engineering.

pt03
08-21-2009, 09:10 AM
Gauge of steel...Hmmm...off the top of my head I don't remember. I will check the invoice and get back to you. The expanded steel is something like 1.5" by .5" 'rough'. (There was a smooth option but we wanted the abrasiveness)

Axle: We too contemplated (pondered aka drank beer) a stud and bearings but feared the side wall steel would flex too much and the cost (and weight) versus a simple steel bar axle wasn't worth it. In a more commercial setting (more miles put on the unit), maybe bearings is the way to go. If our steel sidewall wears down, we can just weld a large washer to the inside of the walls. The axle is easily replaced if it wears down.

Closing rod: The prototype has the clasps because we built it on a Sunday morning when the stores weren't open and we had the clasps already for the tumbler project. We weren't thrilled with them. The rod is very simple and works well. I am mostly concerned about someone laying the rod on the grass while they refill the drum and stepping on the rod, bending it. I have, and still am, contemplating drilling a hole in one of the end caps on the handle to slide the rod into while the drum is being filled. We'll see how many bent rods we get. ;)

Hitch: We thought about pulling with tractor but we still intend to make a motorized topdresser with an old snowblower unit. And after testing the prototype we found that with the volume it holds, it just wouldn't be worth getting off and on a tractor so often.

With 40 liters in the drum it travels about 240 feet to be empty (varies with moisture and speed of walking). We could put more in but that seems to apply the compost too thin until the drum is about half full. It's the force of the compost hitting the mesh as it tumbles that forces the compost out. If it's full, there isn't that tumbling inside, it just rolls.

When I did the lawns, I transported the compost in polyweave bags that easily hold 40 liters. I filled about 20 or so and threw them on the trailer. I used a 'barrow at the site to move the bags to place them along the edge of the lawn. This way I didn't have to return to the trailer each time to fill.

Because I'm not in the best of shape and getting old, we tried to make these things fairly easy to use on an average sized lot, inexpensive to make yet robust enough to withstand an idiot using them. In a commercial setting doing this everyday, where you want to go fast and get 'er done, I'm not sure how good they'd be but they would get the job done.

I also like the 'no raking required' bit, I hate raking!

Lloyd

kirk1701
08-21-2009, 09:17 AM
I also like the 'no raking required' bit, I hate raking!

Lloyd

Exactly.

I know if I modified it with a hitch I'd be getting off/on a lot and probably still have some raking to do but loss less then I do now, seeing as I'd be spreading the whole 15,000 SQ FT with a dump cart and rake :drinkup:

Will update, this will definatly be a go and already in the works.

pt03
08-21-2009, 09:35 AM
You know, if you have large areas all the time, then maybe a variant of

The Stablers (http://www.thestablers.com/index.cfm?Page=36)

would be better.

Lloyd

kirk1701
08-21-2009, 10:15 AM
You know, if you have large areas all the time, then maybe a variant of

The Stablers (http://www.thestablers.com/index.cfm?Page=36)

would be better.

Lloyd

http://i36.tinypic.com/10mr23n.jpg

What more can I say.
However, not that I have a lot of large area's I'm just a homeowner, just my property.

I first misread the price; I seen 149.50 for the small one and LOL I was ready to say go for it.

blazemaeko
08-21-2009, 06:33 PM
Thought about it while mowing and came up with some more over engineering. Budget build would be 55gal drum cutting the top and bottom off, leaving 1-2" lip to attach the expanded metal. Maybe plywood disc bolted to the inside for structural support. Either a bolt or pipe flange for the axle. Bolt would need to have a long shoulder for pillow block. Pipe flange would need round stock to change from id measurement to an od measurement. Did not like the idea of the axle not having any support but the thickness of the side metal. Seemed that would be the weak point while pulling the applicator.

Any feedback on the changes?

Rick

pt03
08-21-2009, 07:39 PM
Sounds like it would work, wouldn't be beautiful, but functionality and beats cosmetics in my mind!:)

I wouldn't do it though because we intend to rent these things out for the average homeowner to use.


Lloyd:drinkup:

ericbl
08-21-2009, 09:51 PM
what about a drop type spreader, may have to enlarge the gap at the bottom but little work, fairly cheap, may have to fill it up more often.

subeedude
08-31-2009, 11:05 PM
I've been looking at these too.
http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/product.asp?PG=2217

This one is $895 plus S/H. i would love to find a used one!

Hello Folks,
I'm a pure amateur who has been taking tips off you all's forum for a while. Having more credit cards than good sense, after researching and obsessing from one season to the next, I purchased the push applicator from Rittenhouse. It's a beautiful tool and extremely well made, but whenever I look at it or use it, I can't help but thinking, for as much as I paid for this contraption, it should have a motor on it.

I continue to experiment with the screening, texture and moisture content of my compost, but so far I would have to say I seriously doubt that it has any advantages over the 150 dollar roller spreader described at this post. Certainly, you can put a lot more compost in it, and it may roll easier. But for compost, I find the distribution to be uneven and it clogs or bridges much more than I thought that it would. I always end up rocking it back and forth as I push it, and I fiddle with the application rate gate looking for that sweet spot for even flow that I have yet to discover. If I had it too over again, I would probably stay with the shovel and wheel barrow method. I always end up raking it in anyway. Hope this helps.

grntmbfisher
09-04-2009, 02:41 PM
How do the rotary spreaders work on hills? Is it easy to control? Does it spread evenly? I've been thinking about getting one of these.

kirk1701
09-04-2009, 03:14 PM
How do the rotary spreaders work on hills? Is it easy to control? Does it spread evenly? I've been thinking about getting one of these.

Your believe your talking about using a rotary fertilizer spreader to spread compost am I mistaken?

If that's what your referring to that would be worse then spreading by hand, your in for a lot of stop and go's unclogging the release.

grntmbfisher
09-04-2009, 03:40 PM
I meant the top dressing roller like pt03 built. I'd imagine you'd pretty much have to go up and down hills with it and not side to side to get an even application.

kirk1701
09-04-2009, 04:37 PM
I meant the top dressing roller like pt03 built. I'd imagine you'd pretty much have to go up and down hills with it and not side to side to get an even application.

Your correct there.

pt03
09-04-2009, 11:12 PM
How do the rotary spreaders work on hills? Is it easy to control? Does it spread evenly? I've been thinking about getting one of these.


I haven't used it on 'hills', but on slopes, you definately have to go up and down or you only get about half the drum width coverage as the compost falls to the low side inside the drum.

Other than that, it does spread very even and consistent. Speed of walking and moisture content will cause variance in coverage but it is consistent if you keep those variables the same.

I don't have the commercially built one but looking at the picture of it, the handle looks somewhat flimsy. We built ours to withstand some abuse.

There are 4 pictures (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laj2006/3768666249/) of the applied compost on my flickr page if you haven't seen them yet.

Lloyd:canadaflag: