08-30-2009, 10:01 PM
i have been studying a lot of you guys and reading the magazines,etc. i own a small residential business that is blessed with growth right now.i also work for a large local company as a supervisor 4 days a week ( who does fert-squirt-aerates-overseed-etc.) so i have gotten some exposure to it. i want to get you guys' opinions on some things..
1.i am concerned with quality-period.. a green lawn (cool or warm season) is what keeps clients.. when you made the jump did you buy off the bat speraders/aerators or rent until the income from that part justified buying your own??
2.are there any books out there or aerating??
3.do you have utilites and etc marked or go at it blind ( i'd mark everything most likely?!>!??)
5.leave cores or clean them up..
6.do you do soil testing.. i have a lesco branch here i buy supplies from and they are reasonably priced to do tests..
7. i want to do granular--do i need my applicator's license still??
8. has anyone used billy goat's areators and do you like them ( no drum ..yeah!)
08-31-2009, 07:37 AM
I can weigh in on some of your questions:
1. Good. I would substitute healthy for green, but good idea. Buy if possible. Looks better and saves all that pick up and return time. Trade off is up front cost and responsibility for maintenance on machine.
2. Look for books over winter, for now Google university research and articles from your part of the country.
3. Mark sprinklers and, if customer knows where they are, valve boxes. You are not going to hit other utilities with a standard lawn aerator.
4. As deep as possible. Also as many per square foot as possible. Go over the lawn at least twice. More would be better.
5. Leave cores, generally. If amending the soil is a goal on an occasional job, you might consider cleaning up (removing) the cores and topdressing with whatever your new mix is. It takes lots of work and many years of doing it to make a big difference, but it can be done. An add on/upgrade type service would be to run over them with a power rake to break up, then drag in with a drag mat. This process is good for overseeding too.
6. I don't work on yards and can't imagine having 80-100 different soil tests every year, or even every few years. I do have soil tests for most of the athletic fields I have worked on. You should get familiar with the native soil in your area, what kind of materials the local landscape yards are providing for "top soil", and how yards built on or with those respond to materials you plan to use. That is: know the materials you use forward and backward and know the general characteristics of the soils in your area. Spot test a few perhaps. I can't say it is a bad idea to have soil tests on every yard, just difficult to manage.
Get a soil probe "T" shaped tool that pulls one long plug much like a coring tine from an aerator. You do not need soil test results to aerate, but might like to know what the soil profile looks like before aerating. If nothing else, it will give you an idea of the differences from one yard to the next. Over time your intuition will become better as you start seeing patterns wrt existing soil conditions and the practices you use.
7. The Michigan answer is you do not need the license for granular (or sprayed) fertilizers. Use any pesticide though and the answer changes. Granular combination products, such as fertilizer with weed killer, require a license to apply. Whether you have a license or not, you need the knowledge before applying fertilizer on customers' lawns. LESCO/JDL can help you with the practical side; university web sites can help with the academic side. Many threads on lawnsite have good discussions that will help you develop your own approach.
8. Never used a Billy Goat aerator and have no opinion (have not seen one).
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