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View Full Version : I'm going to be doing my first top dressing job


Winnipeg Lawns
05-15-2011, 04:59 PM
I decided to try out top dressing with one of my existing customers, I've had him for years as a year round customer and don't want to screw it up so I could use some advice.

Somebody told him he needs 7 yards of soil to cover his lawn half an inch. I estimate he has about 7,000 sq ft of turf.. does that sound right?

Anyway, my plan is to cut and bag very short, aerate, spread the soil, spread the seeds then rake it in.

I'm a little leery as he had a bad top dressing done a few years back, so I'd like to get the figures straight.

How many yards per 1,000 sq ft for half an inch.

And how many lbs of seeds for that area as well.. my brother told me I'd probably need a hundred bucks in just seeds about two big bags, sounds like a lot but...

Any advice would be great thanks!

Btw, this lawn is in Manitoba.

cut level
05-15-2011, 05:03 PM
I always use my own home for test runs! If I screw mine up oh well!!!!
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Think Green
05-15-2011, 05:43 PM
top-dress @ 1" depth (use 1yard for 300 sq ft)
7,000 square feet total
300/7000= 23.3 yards at one inch.
You will need 12 yards considering the 1/2 inch.

Then again what is your media for topdressing because it will compact down by 40% after rains. You may add 20% extra for this compression.

To answer your original question.....to cover a 1,000 square feet you will need 1.7 yards.

Dr.NewEarth
05-15-2011, 06:24 PM
You'll need to buy "Canada Grade One" Seed.

As for how much, you need to look at the label on the bag.
They are all different. O.K.?

I always tell guys that one metric yard of soil will cover and area
10 feet by 10 feet, 3 inches deep


Go Canucks Go

bradhale
06-14-2011, 02:32 PM
You can topdress very quickly with a pelletized compost.
It can be applied with a broadcast spreader

adam.neusbaum
06-21-2011, 05:50 PM
what brand of pelletized compost are you buying?
thanks

vencops
06-21-2011, 05:58 PM
I don't get 12.....but I do figure over 10 (almost 10.5) CY.

7 won't do it.

bradhale
06-21-2011, 10:01 PM
Easy-Flo Pelletized Compost

Greenery
06-22-2011, 05:54 PM
Gardenplace.com
check it out.
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Smallaxe
06-23-2011, 10:33 AM
Somebody told him he needed a half inch of topsoil topdressing? And so you're going to do it?

What qualifies as topsoil in your area? What is wrong with the existting soil on site? What happens when it rains? You don't have compost?

You haven't validated that this 'topdressing' is necessary, let alone it being a good idea or not... You don't want to screw it up, then you shouldn't dump 10 yards of 'topsoil' on the lawn fo no good reason...

Winnipeg Lawns
06-23-2011, 05:40 PM
Well we did the job and I don't ever want to do work like that again. I would have made just as much money if I did a single aeration on a small lawn.

The soil was 3 or 4 mix, whatever that is, my brother ordered it. Very nice looking soil, not contaminated with weeds at all.

Overall the job is a disaster. It took us at least 8 man hours to spread 7 yards as we had to go over the lawn 2-3 times looking for places to put all the soil. We covered up so much grass I'm sure we killed more grass then seeds we put on but the customer is happy.

Soil was $200, seeds $50 and the job was only $450. Part of the over dressing was a super short cut and bagged which took twice as long as a normal cut and a very aggressive aeration that probably took 3 times the normal time. And THEN I couldn't cut the lawn the following week as I was waiting for it to grow.

I made no money and I told the customer that (known him for 10 years) he just let that go by, lol.

My brother originally told me it should have been 3 yards and $650-$700 for the job, that would have been profitable.

bradhale
06-23-2011, 06:21 PM
With pelletized compost you can cover 3000 sq. ft. with 3 bags in 30 minutes using your fertilizer spreader! Think of the labour savings. At that rate you get the equivalent organic matter and biological of 1/8" of traditional topdressing. There is a little bit of a learning curve for your customers as the lawn will not be covered with soil. But after they see the cost savings they get over it pretty quick. Also the pellets don't track into the house and it is weed free - good luck finding that with any bulk topdressing mix.

Smallaxe
06-23-2011, 06:58 PM
With pelletized compost you can cover 3000 sq. ft. with 3 bags in 30 minutes using your fertilizer spreader! Think of the labour savings. At that rate you get the equivalent organic matter and biological of 1/8" of traditional topdressing. There is a little bit of a learning curve for your customers as the lawn will not be covered with soil. But after they see the cost savings they get over it pretty quick. Also the pellets don't track into the house and it is weed free - good luck finding that with any bulk topdressing mix.

Pelletized doesn't give coverage for seed like a 1/4" of real compost does, but it is better than 1/2" of some topsoil imitation... :)

Winnipeg Lawns
06-23-2011, 11:57 PM
With pelletized compost you can cover 3000 sq. ft. with 3 bags in 30 minutes using your fertilizer spreader! Think of the labour savings. At that rate you get the equivalent organic matter and biological of 1/8" of traditional topdressing. There is a little bit of a learning curve for your customers as the lawn will not be covered with soil. But after they see the cost savings they get over it pretty quick. Also the pellets don't track into the house and it is weed free - good luck finding that with any bulk topdressing mix.

I'll look into that but how would the seeds germinate?

Smallaxe
06-24-2011, 09:33 AM
I'll look into that but how would the seeds germinate?

Compost is an excellent ammendment to any soil, as it is 100% OM. If you had good 1/4" coverage over the seed you couldn't ask for a better seedbed situation. But with an overseed like that you may want to slit-seed for adequate sol contact underneath...

What was the aeration for?

hackitdown
06-24-2011, 10:30 AM
It sounds like charging a little more would have helped.

Puckdropper23
08-04-2011, 11:11 AM
Try this.....Heavily aerate the lawn, overseed, and then rake/grind the plugs up as much as possible. I'd like to try and add the Pelletized compost as well, it sounds like a big time and $$ saver.

cTak
08-04-2011, 09:09 PM
Well we did the job and I don't ever want to do work like that again. I would have made just as much money if I did a single aeration on a small lawn.

The soil was 3 or 4 mix, whatever that is, my brother ordered it. Very nice looking soil, not contaminated with weeds at all.

Overall the job is a disaster. It took us at least 8 man hours to spread 7 yards as we had to go over the lawn 2-3 times looking for places to put all the soil. We covered up so much grass I'm sure we killed more grass then seeds we put on but the customer is happy.

Soil was $200, seeds $50 and the job was only $450. Part of the over dressing was a super short cut and bagged which took twice as long as a normal cut and a very aggressive aeration that probably took 3 times the normal time. And THEN I couldn't cut the lawn the following week as I was waiting for it to grow.

I made no money and I told the customer that (known him for 10 years) he just let that go by, lol.

My brother originally told me it should have been 3 yards and $650-$700 for the job, that would have been profitable.

Did you use a top dressing machine? Like
http://www.forconstructionpros.com/article/photos/1195141687999_SP-100-008PR-Action.jpg

It sounds like you did this by hand with a shovel?
:hammerhead:

Smallaxe
08-05-2011, 08:24 AM
Try this.....Heavily aerate the lawn, overseed, and then rake/grind the plugs up as much as possible. I'd like to try and add the Pelletized compost as well, it sounds like a big time and $$ saver.

Why does unnecessary aeration save money...?

landpride
08-10-2011, 03:06 PM
to cover 1000 sf with 1" of compost is just a little over 3 cubic yards. No wonder you were looking for places to spread the excess if you had 7 cy.