Originally Posted by TCW
Here in Texas, sod choices are either 419 or St. Augustine for new home construction. Some retailers around her offer Zoysia or Celebration, but charge way too much- upwards of $300 per pallet picked up at their store. I've got 419 in my lawn and I reel mow every other day with a 10 blade Mcclane, but I know that we have the luxury to care for our own lawns much more than our clients'! I just put out an app of Scotts GreenMax (22-2-2 with 5.75% Iron) that has my lawn growing like crazy, and as green as I've ever seen.
All of the residential properties we service have Tif419, and we mow them weekly. We chose to tailor our residential client list to only hybrid Bermuda, mainly because only the newer, larger homes are sodded with it. We differentiate ourselves from the competition by offering full service "golf course look" packages, and we aren't cheap- we don't bother with customers who want the cheapest price. All of our properties are set up at a monthly, 12 month price, which includes spring scalping, leveling, fertilization, and all mowing.
We are the only company in our area that utilizes reel mowers to mow hybrid Bermuda, and our 2 John Deere triplex reel mowers (purchased from the local Country Club where they were used to mow tees and fairways) are bench set at 1/2". As the temps climb to the upper 90s and into the 100s, I'll raise the height to 9/16" or even 5/8", depending on how much rain we get. All of the turf is thriving right now at this height, and we really aren't seeing many weeds with the combination of height and pre-emergent we put on in February.
Our program includes A-Vert pre-emergent twice yearly (February and October), and up to 4 fertilizations (13-0-13 in Feb, May, August, October) depending on temps and rainfall. We offer other services on a client-by-client basis like soil samples, iron applications, and spot weed control. We've been hit really hard with a drought lately so watering restrictions are pretty tight and we can only water once per week inside the city limits. We recommend a deep infrequent watering to establish a strong root system that can withstand drought better, and so far we are seeing great results. Changing out a sprinkler head the other day, I measured 7" deep roots on the turf I dug out at a property we've had on our program for 4 years.
Our next growth area may be into smaller new construction with hybrid Bermuda. I really believe that, in the cookie cutter neighborhoods, if one lawn looks immaculate then the neighbors will start to want theirs to look the same, and we can build a large clientele within a very small area to maximize our time. A 3 man crew with a 25" Tru-Cut, weedeater, and edger can knock out 4 properties in an hour if they are all on the same block. Gone are the days of common Bermuda and mowing at 3", we all know 419 and other hybrids look terrible when they get that tall. Once homeowners start to realize the stark difference in aesthetics and overall turf health, reel mowing might see a huge increase, whether that be homeowner's purchasing their own, or hiring a professional.
Good stuff man. Were you always reel mowing since you started? If not, how did you transition into it? That's the direction I'd like to take my business eventually. There's only a handful of companies around here that offer reel mowing. For every 100 landscape trucks you see riding around here, you'll only see one or two with a reel mower on it.