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  #1  
Old 09-15-2012, 08:15 PM
Djk83 Djk83 is offline
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Is it possible to only do dry fert?

I'm wrapping up my second full season. Thinking about doing my own thing. Would it be possible and effective to use dry fert only and backpack the weeds?
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:26 PM
CL&T CL&T is offline
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Nothing wrong with granular fert. That's all I use. Backpack is good for spot treatment so if that's all you need you will be fine. However may times a lawn will need a blanket application and that's not something you are going to do with a backpack unless you maybe get a motorized one and the lawn is within it's limits.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:03 PM
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EJK2352 EJK2352 is offline
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There are still a few companies in my area that are living in the stone age.. What I mean by that is they are still pushing spreaders on big acreage properties. These guy's do one blanket broadleaf app. in the spring and nothing after that. They dont even hand-can on any other rounds. I've picked up a few of their customers. I decided to go with the ride-on way and could'nt be happier. I do a spring and fall spray blanket app. on almost all of my properties. Then on the rounds that I don't blanket I can do spot apps. The fall blanket app. keeps me from running around in the spring taking care of weed complaints.

In your case you can get started with a push spreader and a back pack. You can set up a backpack to cover allot of ground. 32k is possible at a pint per k with a 4 gallon sprayer. I personally don't feel comfortable at that rate. I did'nt like my results with my PermaGreen Magnum at a quart per k. I made a spray boom and added a pressure regulator and apply at 1/3 gal. per k. I get real good control at that higher rate. I'd recommend setting up your backpack for a 1/3 gal. rate. A 4 gallon backpack would be able to cover a 1/4 acre at that rate and you won't be constantly re-filling.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:35 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
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Lots of people started out that way. But the equipment is not suitable for big jobs--and your customers know this. They will think you are unprofessional. So...be ready to counteract this opinion. You are competing with TruGreen and many other companies with snazzy equipment and clean white trucks.
You need highly competent, friendly personal service, more friendly and more personal than any competing company.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:04 AM
CL&T CL&T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RigglePLC View Post
Lots of people started out that way. But the equipment is not suitable for big jobs--and your customers know this. They will think you are unprofessional. So...be ready to counteract this opinion. You are competing with TruGreen and many other companies with snazzy equipment and clean white trucks.
Actually around here TruBrown does mostly granular apps. It looks like they have been getting away from liquid for awhile now, maybe because of problems with leftover mix and rinsate or some other environmental reason.

Quote:
how do you apply your blanket coverage or treat areas with weeds?
With a skid sprayer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:00 AM
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mikesturf mikesturf is offline
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I've been using dry fert and a backpack sprayer for 6 years. You need to know your limitations. I don't do jobs over 12,000 sf, nor do I take lawns that are totally full of weeds. In my area there are thousands of potential customers and I know my niche. I find the smaller sized lawns are much more profitable (especially 5,000 sf). On a long day I need to refill my 4 gallon backpack sprayer once. Key is to use quality fertilizers that keep the lawns thick and lush. I also tell my customers to mow at 3". Since I only use 2 gallons of herbicide concentrate per year, I spend the extra money and use T-Zone. Works very well for me. I also aerate every lawn in the fall and tell my customers adding seed will help their lawns look even better next year.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:23 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RigglePLC View Post
Lots of people started out that way. But the equipment is not suitable for big jobs--and your customers know this. They will think you are unprofessional. So...be ready to counteract this opinion. You are competing with TruGreen and many other companies with snazzy equipment and clean white trucks.
You need highly competent, friendly personal service, more friendly and more personal than any competing company.
PERCEIVED VALUE is the issue here. The customer RECEIVES VALUE from a Granular and back pack program, But do they PERCEIVE THAT VALUE???? I think Riggle brings up a very important issue that every one should pay attention.

As business people we must be aware of our customer perception of us. TG/CL & Scotts etc are very aware of this market ploy and field a fleet of polished specialized trucks that both look professional and offer advertisement. The Customer only sees the well established Image of a Large Professional company and not Tom, Dick & Harry who are hired fresh off the street. They are PERCEIVING VALUE that they are NOT RECEIVING.

I think there could be a whole Internet forum dedicated to just the RECEIVED/PERCEIVED VALUE issue.

This can work in reverse. I am talking the Mow & Go type service where people think they are getting over on the Lawn Boy who is laughing all the way to the bank. But once again we are Talking PERCEIVED VALUE.

BTW I am the first one to tell a new person to let your customers determine your equipment needs. Too many buy will by the big skid sprayer just to say they have one.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2012, 10:09 PM
Skipster Skipster is online now
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Relevant to Ric's post (and others on this thread), since there is no difference between liquid and dry ferts (N is N and still has to be dissolved in water before it can be used, so it doesn't matter if you apply it wet or dry), your customers' needs and the nature of your book of business will determine your equipment needs.

The big guys out there usually use liquid fert only when they need to apply pre-emerge products, since you can't customize your PRE rate independent of the fert rate with dry products. Outside of PRE windows, I see them use dry ferts.

So, back to the OP's question, can you develop and implement a granular only fert program? Yes! Several big name companies over the years (Barefoot Lawns, for example) made a lot of money and had high quality lawns with granular only programs. You can easily do fert and PRE on a granule. POST products, though, usually aren't available or effective on granules, though.
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2012, 10:47 PM
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buckhigh buckhigh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RigglePLC View Post
Lots of people started out that way. But the equipment is not suitable for big jobs--and your customers know this. They will think you are unprofessional. So...be ready to counteract this opinion. You are competing with TruGreen and many other companies with snazzy equipment and clean white trucks.
You need highly competent, friendly personal service, more friendly and more personal than any competing company.
All of my properties are serviced with granular. A JDL 6-step program. I'm not ashamed nor see it as being UNPROFESSIONAL. I'll put my properties up against any of the big boys that spray liquid, and guarantee mine look better. I just don't see why you keep saying granular looks unprofessional in the customers mind? For what reason?
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2012, 12:44 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
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Buck,
I agree that granular fertilizer is better for turfgrass treatments in most situations. Particularly if you include a generous portion of slow release nitrogen. I have used a lot.

But I think a skid sprayer is better suited for weed control applications--particularly on large lawns. Over 8000 sqft. I think liquid herbicide application is superior in effectiveness compared to dry granule weed control, as most homeowers apply.
Except new "Lockup" herbicide may be far superior to conventional weed and feed products.
Of course, if you use granular weed and feed, but apply it more often than the liquid program, (and time it better), the results might be about equal. Suppose you applied weed and feed granular four times per year.

True, I hesitated to use a small spreader because it was lighter in weight, and looked similar to homeowner models. I wanted a big green one --even tho it weighed more--because that is what the big company used.
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