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LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
08-22-2009, 12:08 PM
Anyone offer topdressing as part of their services? We have many lawns around here that are on soils with VERY low organic matter. I've seen the ads for walk behind topdressers, but have not seen one in use. Most of our lawns are 20k sq. ft. & up range, so topdressing by hand is out of the question:dizzy:

If you offer it, how do you do it? Do you have a dump truck follow you around? What do you use to topdress with?

Thanks:usflag:

nnj18
08-22-2009, 12:13 PM
I'm very interested as well.
Posted via Mobile Device

phasthound
08-22-2009, 02:55 PM
We offer a 3 part premium service in Sept.; core aerate, slit seed and compost top dress, great results. We use the Earth & Turf 100SP and love it.
http://www.earthandturf.com/100sp.htm

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
08-22-2009, 03:38 PM
We offer a 3 part premium service in Sept.; core aerate, slit seed and compost top dress, great results. We use the Earth & Turf 100SP and love it.
http://www.earthandturf.com/100sp.htm

That's the machine I was thinking of. How do you transport the topdressing medium around? Do you get it bulk & use a dump truck? How much per k do you spread? What do you use-compost? Is it ground or screened, or can it come out in large chunks all over the lawn?

Cloud9Landscapes
08-22-2009, 03:54 PM
I offer it and it's one of my specialties. I also overseed when I topdress.


BTW: Most lawns in my area are a MAXIMUM of 1,100 square feet. It would not be financially smart to buy a powered topdresser.

dKoester
08-22-2009, 04:01 PM
I use Nutrigreen.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
08-22-2009, 04:23 PM
1/2" x 20k sq. ft. = ~30 yds. = 3 tri axle dump trucks. Yikes! Nevermind that!

phasthound
08-22-2009, 04:29 PM
That's the machine I was thinking of. How do you transport the topdressing medium around? Do you get it bulk & use a dump truck? How much per k do you spread? What do you use-compost? Is it ground or screened, or can it come out in large chunks all over the lawn?

You'll be happy with the 100SP, it's heavy duty. I built up the hopper with plywood to increase the capacity. It holds the weight fine, just be careful on hills.

I use bulk leaf compost. Finished compost crumbles easily and is spread uniformly by the brushes, no clumping even with moist material. The 100SP easily allows you to adjust the depth. I apply it at 1/4" and it needs no raking. Because this is a drop spreader you have complete control where the compost goes so there is very little clean up.

Well, except for the first time I used mine. I filled it up at the curb and walked it 100 ft on the side walk before I turned around to see that I had forgotten to disengage the conveyor belt. There was a nice topdressing of compost on the sidewalk. :hammerhead:

phasthound
08-22-2009, 04:35 PM
1/2" x 20k sq. ft. = ~30 yds. = 3 tri axle dump trucks. Yikes! Nevermind that!

1/4" is all you need.

Another option we use in Nutrients PLUS Auxinite 5-4-0 applied with a normal spreader at 20-30lbs/k. It's a biosolid with auxins (plant growth hormones).
Still get great results with a lot less labor.

Marcos
08-22-2009, 05:06 PM
Topdressing with compost is great as a means to add organic content, especially while during core aeration...
But unless you're planning to discontinue or greatly curb the amount of pesticides applied, you'll not realize much of the micobial advantages compost will deliver to the soil in the long run! :waving:

lawn king
08-22-2009, 05:10 PM
Im looking for a used topdresser. Im shocked at the price of new machines!

phasthound
08-22-2009, 05:41 PM
Topdressing with compost is great as a means to add organic content, especially while during core aeration...
But unless you're planning to discontinue or greatly curb the amount of pesticides applied, you'll not realize much of the micobial advantages compost will deliver to the soil in the long run! :waving:

That's right, this is the Pesticide Forum!
Don't use compost, you will find you are building a healthy soil system that will support healthier turf and reduce the need for routine pesticide applications. :nono::)

Ric
08-23-2009, 08:20 AM
That's right, this is the Pesticide Forum!
Don't use compost, you will find you are building a healthy soil system that will support healthier turf and reduce the need for routine pesticide applications. :nono::)

Slow Dog

Unfortunately Economics get in the way of Agronomics. While your above statement is 100% true, Topdressing is costly compared to Synthetic. But I am also 100% on board with the value of cutting chemical use by enriching soil. Water or Field Capacity is also increased in a time when many areas of the country are under water restrictions. While many different types of soil receive value from SOM (Soil Organic Material) I feel the pure sandy soil in my area would receive the most value.

But back to the Economics and marketing. I feel marketing topdressing must be done to fill a present need. In my area that need is for water, we are under water restriction. Topdressing increases Field Capacity and gives the customer a visible response very quickly. At the same time they receive other advantages. But a great Idea is only as good as your ability to sell that idea.

phasthound
08-23-2009, 10:32 AM
Slow Dog

Unfortunately Economics get in the way of Agronomics. While your above statement is 100% true, Topdressing is costly compared to Synthetic. But I am also 100% on board with the value of cutting chemical use by enriching soil. Water or Field Capacity is also increased in a time when many areas of the country are under water restrictions. While many different types of soil receive value from SOM (Soil Organic Material) I feel the pure sandy soil in my area would receive the most value.

But back to the Economics and marketing. I feel marketing topdressing must be done to fill a present need. In my area that need is for water, we are under water restriction. Topdressing increases Field Capacity and gives the customer a visible response very quickly. At the same time they receive other advantages. But a great Idea is only as good as your ability to sell that idea.

You're absolutely right Ric. It is not the easiest service to sell or apply. It does require good communication skills to convince prospects that the up front cost is out weighed by the many benefits. The labor involved and the difficulty of finding good compost does discourage many companies from providing this service.

But the agronomic, economic and environmental benefits are important enough to make topdressing a good business choice for those who want to offer it. It will set your company apart from most of your competition.

Marcos
08-23-2009, 06:13 PM
Slow Dog

Unfortunately Economics get in the way of Agronomics. While your above statement is 100% true, Topdressing is costly compared to Synthetic. But I am also 100% on board with the value of cutting chemical use by enriching soil. Water or Field Capacity is also increased in a time when many areas of the country are under water restrictions. While many different types of soil receive value from SOM (Soil Organic Material) I feel the pure sandy soil in my area would receive the most value.

But back to the Economics and marketing. I feel marketing topdressing must be done to fill a present need. In my area that need is for water, we are under water restriction. Topdressing increases Field Capacity and gives the customer a visible response very quickly. At the same time they receive other advantages. But a great Idea is only as good as your ability to sell that idea.

You forgot to mention the added economic benefit of reduced # of mowings per season in turf that is topdressed, or turf fed regularly with various types of protein meals.
This saves lots o' gas, labor, wear & tear, drive time and emissions.

Compost & meals applied at the correct rate will generally take somewhat longer to respond than 'traditional' fertilizer, but the key difference is that the color tends to hold longer, assuming that all clippings are being dropped in each scenario.

Ric
08-23-2009, 06:27 PM
You forgot to mention the added economic benefit of reduced # of mowings per season in turf that is topdressed, or turf fed regularly with various types of protein meals.
This saves lots o' gas, labor, wear & tear, drive time and emissions.

Compost & meals applied at the correct rate will generally take somewhat longer to respond than 'traditional' fertilizer, but the key difference is that the color tends to hold longer, assuming that all clippings are being dropped in each scenario.

Marcos

In my market people aren't interested in less mowing, the yard boy does the mowing. They just want greener grass than the Jones. Top Dressing can help synthetic do just that.

phasthound
08-23-2009, 08:29 PM
Marcos

In my market people aren't interested in less mowing, the yard boy does the mowing. They just want greener grass than the Jones. Top Dressing can help synthetic do just that.

They're not interested in paying for fewer mowings?

Ric
08-24-2009, 09:39 AM
They're not interested in paying for fewer mowings?

Slow Dog

SOP because of our year round growing season. Mowing contracts are done on 12 month equal payment bases. The number of cuts per year-per month vary according to weather etc. But the cost per month stays the same regardless of the number of cuts. Our Upscale clientele are not the rich and famous. They are the retired professionals who have a nice income and live within their means. Because many have fixed incomes they want fixed expenses.

Knowing your clientele and their needs is very important if you want to market to them successful. Because my county has the highest average age in the world, they might not be up with or believe in the green movement like other areas. However there is a great pride in keeping both their homes and the community looking great. To better understand this factor go to www.puntagordatv.com click on Episode 1.2 BTW I might be letting out a little known secret because my town is not on the radar.

Top Dressing should be a very marketable service in my area because our soil is Calcareous Sand that would benefit greatly. Add in the Wet-Dry season tropical climate and water restrictions and you have the perfect selling angle for top dressing. Because we are also the Bug Capital of America, people are turned off by the idea of increasing Microorganisms in their yard. Organic mulch in planter beds has been replaced by Stone mulch on 99% of the home because of the fear of bugs. Therefore you market to the concerns of the people which is at present time is water for their lawn to keep it greener than their neighbor.

Puttinggreens
08-24-2009, 11:02 AM
We top dress many lawns in the fall. Check the first page of this link for a photo of out method. We use a Cushman mounted topdressor capable of holding about 1 cubic yard of material. We applied about 7 or 800 cubic yards last fall with excellent results.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=262830

Marcos
08-24-2009, 05:29 PM
Slow Dog

SOP because of our year round growing season. Mowing contracts are done on 12 month equal payment bases. The number of cuts per year-per month vary according to weather etc. But the cost per month stays the same regardless of the number of cuts. Our Upscale clientele are not the rich and famous. They are the retired professionals who have a nice income and live within their means. Because many have fixed incomes they want fixed expenses.

Knowing your clientele and their needs is very important if you want to market to them successful. Because my county has the highest average age in the world, they might not be up with or believe in the green movement like other areas. However there is a great pride in keeping both their homes and the community looking great. To better understand this factor go to www.puntagordatv.com click on Episode 1.2 BTW I might be letting out a little known secret because my town is not on the radar.

Top Dressing should be a very marketable service in my area because our soil is Calcareous Sand that would benefit greatly. Add in the Wet-Dry season tropical climate and water restrictions and you have the perfect selling angle for top dressing. Because we are also the Bug Capital of America, people are turned off by the idea of increasing Microorganisms in their yard. Organic mulch in planter beds has been replaced by Stone mulch on 99% of the home because of the fear of bugs. Therefore you market to the concerns of the people which is at present time is water for their lawn to keep it greener than their neighbor.

Sure looks to me like an organic full service company (if one were to exist in your area) could gradually come in to your backyard & blow this kind of arraingement out of the water, especially once the word got around to your clientele that a compost / meal-fed lawn only needs mowing, say, x-9, x-12 to x-15 or so times a year, compared to the 'x' number that you average per year.

As fast as bios generally get used up in the non-stop environment of LA, you know as well as I do that there is no real logic behind the "fear of bugs" argument & the topdressing of lawns.

Any decent organic guy who's been around should be able to overcome straw man objections such as that.
As far as insect pressure is concerned, lawns make up far too little % of the total ecosystem to take THAT much blame, and you know it!

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
08-24-2009, 06:16 PM
a compost / meal-fed lawn only needs mowing, say, x-9, x-12 to x-15 or so times a year, compared to the 'x' number that you average per year.


:confused: That doesn't sound right? Even non fertilized lawns in the short North's season need mowing more than that..:confused:

How does that work?

Marcos
08-24-2009, 11:31 PM
:confused: That doesn't sound right? Even non fertilized lawns in the short North's season need mowing more than that..:confused:

How does that work?

Up here in OH or IN we don't realize quite that much variance in the # of cuttings per year.
I've learned through the years that a realistic range of expectation is approximately 5-6 less mowings per year on fescue turf annually topdressed, or fed with some type of rotation of protein meals, like corn meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, cotton seed meal, etc...
We continue to see that year after year, results of these types of bio-applications provide extended, superior color WITHOUT unwanted & unneeded top growth.
To be perfectly frank, 'mowing only' contractors who sometimes venture onto our customer's turf must hate to see these types of results.....at certain times of the year! :laugh: :laugh:

onebreezer
11-15-2009, 06:51 PM
I have topdressed since 1990. I use turfco's and I do not use a dump truck any longer. I use a conveyer truck which is nothing more than a spreader truck. It loads my topdresser in 3 seconds. The topdresser unloads and evenly spreads around four big whellbarrows worth of material in around three minutes flat. We can topdress 8000 sq feet and coreaerate in four hours with two guys including drive time and clean up.

Hanau
11-15-2009, 07:13 PM
Anybody try one of these:

http://bullspreader.com/index.html

Good, bad, or average?

onebreezer
11-15-2009, 07:48 PM
I have not used one. I have always used turfco metermatics but I am interested. I wonder if they will clog and if they hold enough material to be efficient. There are several topdressers built along this same design.

CHARLES CUE
11-15-2009, 07:59 PM
I do top dressing [mushroom soil] works great than run over with a slit seeder a wala a great yard if you add water. Worked in DC for awhile and there was a apartment complex that top dressed every year with composted leaves they used a small manure spreader like one you pull with 4 wheeler or garden tractor they replaced the metal paddle's in the back with rubber ones worked real good so think about that
Charles Cue

GravelyGuy
11-15-2009, 09:09 PM
Does anyone rent these things?

turfcobob
11-16-2009, 10:46 AM
Anyone offer topdressing as part of their services? We have many lawns around here that are on soils with VERY low organic matter. I've seen the ads for walk behind topdressers, but have not seen one in use. Most of our lawns are 20k sq. ft. & up range, so topdressing by hand is out of the question:dizzy:

If you offer it, how do you do it? Do you have a dump truck follow you around? What do you use to topdress with?

Thanks:usflag:


Liberty, Top Dressing is a practice that has been around since the beginning of golf in Scotland. It is now making it's way onto the home and commercial lawn. Primarily it is used for soil amendment or improvement. However on home lawns it can also be used for smoothing of rough lawns (aka fescue one year old lawn) and revitilizing of older lawns. Depending on the compost blend you use. Go to the internet and check out some of the compainies that are doing topdressing to home lawns.

I would advise that if you go into this service you do it in a serious manner with the right equipment. Sell enough jobs to make it profitable and do it right. To do one here and one there will not be reason enough to buy the right equipment and do it right. I have worked with some companies that make a very good income with just topdressing. They use our Turfco F15 walking powered top dresser ( aka Metermatic ) that has been around for 50 years. It does a great even job with all kinds of material, will back up into corners and drive out and does hills very nice.

http://turfco.com/images2/MeterMatic.html

Click on the walking unit.

The guys I have worked with have a truck to haul the topdressing and trailer the topdresser. Getting the topdressing from the truck to the topdresser is the trick and a conveyor works best or a dump body which means you have to drop the trailer. That said a small two wheel trailer will handle the F 15.
The F15 handles very nice and with the clutch and steering is easy to load / unload. It is not a complicated machine to operate.

Just google topdressing and read some of the sites.

quackgrass
11-17-2009, 05:39 PM
I am a firm believer in topdressing with compost! We use EKO compost and normally apply at about 1/4" rate. All of these applications are done with a Earth and turf 100sp and we double aerate each time before seeding.

There is no doubt that the compost makes a huge difference, our topdressed lawns grow in better than our hydro seeded lawns with out a doubt.

I always try to sell an organic fertilizer program with a topdressed lawn because it goes with the theme and most go for it.

However, one thing I would disagree with is that synthetic fertilizer or herbicide applications hurt the effectiveness of a topdressing program.

In the cases where we have used synthetic instead of organic we have not seen any problems at all.