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  #31  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:37 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadiseLS View Post
my problem with this is that, decomp on the soil surface is going to be fairly slow. finely mulched grass clippings decompose quickly because they are shredded into infinitesimally small bits. serious thatch is a woven bundle of dry crap sitting up on the surface. simply spraying some molasses, or suitable meals isn't necessarily going to make life wonderful for the microbes.

when the thatch is a real *****, it is sitting up half an inch or more in the grass and microarthropods are going to have to shred that stuff. fungi can only attack it from the bottom to try to open it up for bacteria. if you're going to be spraying teas, molasses, meals, etc. i would think off the top of my head that a protozoa soup would be more beneficial as these little buggers will chew up the thatch and make it easier for the bacteria to get involved.

let's just run through a cost example. let's say i'm dealing with 3000 sq. ft. of lawn with considerable thatch.

power rake it: $30-50
aerate it: $30-50
mow the lawn, mulching thatch & grass at 3-3.5" tall: $20-30
PACKAGE DEAL: $85 for one man hour

customer responsibilities: give a deep watering to the lawn, a second in 3-4 days if lawn is not shooting up by about an inch at that time. instruct them going forward on proper irrigation and mowing techniques, and recommend compost and anything else that suits their particular situation.

NET EARNED: $80 (lost $5 to gas for mower, aerator, dethatcher)
TIME CONSUMED: 1 hr


so, run through a package dealing with teas/meals/molasses, etc. that would rectify the thatch problem within a week or two (customers probably don't want to hear about "in the long run..." they want a green, lush lawn at most within 3-4 weeks). so, what is the process, what is the cost?
Please read my posts in this thread. I already stated if a thatch layer is significant it needs to be dealt with mechanically by either core aerating or verti-mowing .... verti-mowing being the preferred method obviously. My comment on the molasses was merely to offer up a possible reason as to why it works, not a suggestion or recommendation that it be used to mitigate a significant thatch problem.
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  #32  
Old 03-25-2011, 08:41 PM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadiseLS View Post
my problem with this is that, decomp on the soil surface is going to be fairly slow. finely mulched grass clippings decompose quickly because they are shredded into infinitesimally small bits. serious thatch is a woven bundle of dry crap sitting up on the surface. simply spraying some molasses, or suitable meals isn't necessarily going to make life wonderful for the microbes.

when the thatch is a real *****, it is sitting up half an inch or more in the grass and microarthropods are going to have to shred that stuff. fungi can only attack it from the bottom to try to open it up for bacteria. if you're going to be spraying teas, molasses, meals, etc. i would think off the top of my head that a protozoa soup would be more beneficial as these little buggers will chew up the thatch and make it easier for the bacteria to get involved.

let's just run through a cost example. let's say i'm dealing with 3000 sq. ft. of lawn with considerable thatch.

power rake it: $30-50
aerate it: $30-50
mow the lawn, mulching thatch & grass at 3-3.5" tall: $20-30
PACKAGE DEAL: $85 for one man hour

customer responsibilities: give a deep watering to the lawn, a second in 3-4 days if lawn is not shooting up by about an inch at that time. instruct them going forward on proper irrigation and mowing techniques, and recommend compost and anything else that suits their particular situation.

NET EARNED: $80 (lost $5 to gas for mower, aerator, dethatcher)
TIME CONSUMED: 1 hr


so, run through a package dealing with teas/meals/molasses, etc. that would rectify the thatch problem within a week or two (customers probably don't want to hear about "in the long run..." they want a green, lush lawn at most within 3-4 weeks). so, what is the process, what is the cost?
OK, this is where it is good to distinguish the different between 'real thatch', and the dead grass that most people think of as being 'thatch'...

Dead grass is an excellent source of nutrient and humus that every plant in creation thrives in... This dead, dry stuff as you call it needs to be digested for the purpose of nutirent cycling... That is just the beginning...

'Real Thatch' in the context of Turf... is the layer of living and dead grass roots and stems that grass succumbs to when too much N and H2O is applied Too Often...

From this Jumping off point, there is sensible way of turning this chaos into a properly managed lawn...

If you are expecting income from 5-7 apps per year, that grows grass from the basis of 'real thatch', no one will ever see what soil has to do with it...
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
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  #33  
Old 03-26-2011, 02:18 AM
ParadiseLS ParadiseLS is offline
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i know exactly what real thatch is. it's not lush, supple growth. we are specifically discussing problematic thatch issues, not a little bit of surface root growth. when it gets serious, that crap is relatively dry, dead and tangled into a mess, mixed in with dead/dormant grass on the surface. (fine, some of the root systems might be living, but they are generally going to be under severe stress)

also, just to nitpick, thatch isn't a symptom of "too much water too often". rather it is too LITTLE water, too often....if you're giving too much water, it is going to seep into the soil and the roots will chase deeper in chase of it. of course, watering too much too often is going to cause it's own separate problems, but that's besides the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
From this Jumping off point, there is sensible way of turning this chaos into a properly managed lawn...

If you are expecting income from 5-7 apps per year, that grows grass from the basis of 'real thatch', no one will ever see what soil has to do with it...
i am not sure what exactly you are trying to say here. perhaps if you restate, maybe it is lost in translation as can happen on web forums.

i agree there is a sensible way for turning the chaos into a proper lawn--i mentioned my methods in my previous post. i am asking you or someone else to give me a specific program that beats it, both in providing the quick turnaround that a customer will demand/expect, and in terms of reasonable cost to them, and reasonable profitability to me as the contractor. maybe you have a better plan than me, but until you lay it out for me, i'm convinced that i am dealing with the problem "sensibly", afford-ably, profitably, quickly....
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  #34  
Old 03-26-2011, 09:04 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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[QUOTE=ParadiseLS;3956968]i know exactly what real thatch is. it's not lush, supple growth. we are specifically discussing problematic thatch issues, not a little bit of surface root growth. when it gets serious, that crap is relatively dry, dead and tangled into a mess, mixed in with dead/dormant grass on the surface. (fine, some of the root systems might be living, but they are generally going to be under severe stress)

also, just to nitpick, thatch isn't a symptom of "too much water too often". rather it is too LITTLE water, too often....if you're giving too much water, it is going to seep into the soil and the roots will chase deeper in chase of it. of course, watering too much too often is going to cause it's own separate problems, but that's besides the point...QUOTE]

There is a reason I specify 'real thatch', when I talk about thatch... maybe I should call it 'impervious black thatch'... Read This short paragraph, go to the website and look at the picture and read a little more indepth...

http://m.extension.illinois.edu/lawn...ge/lesson5.cfm
"The primary component of thatch is turfgrass stems and roots. It accumulates as these plant parts buildup faster than they breakdown. Thatch problems are due to a combination of biological, cultural, and environmental factors. Cultural practices can have a big impact on thatch. For example, heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications or overwatering frequently contribute to thatch, because they cause the lawn to grow excessively fast. Avoid overfertilizing and overwatering. Despite popular belief, short clippings dropped on the lawn after mowing are not the cause of thatch buildup. Clippings are very high in water content and breakdown rapidly when returned to lawns after mowing, assuming lawns are mowed on a regular basis (not removing more than one-third of the leaf blade). "

LCOs who are so much in the know that they don't NEED to look at this extension service article, should go back to grandma's lawn and stay there.
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
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  #35  
Old 03-26-2011, 10:52 AM
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phasthound phasthound is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe;LCOs who are [b
so much in the know[/b] that they don't NEED to look at this extension service article, should go back to grandma's lawn and stay there.
Agreed!! Part of their motivation may be the ability to upsell another service.
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  #36  
Old 03-26-2011, 01:59 PM
ParadiseLS ParadiseLS is offline
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i agreed with everything in the article. and everything i'v ever posted on this forum (this thread and any other) is consistent with the information laid out on that page.
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  #37  
Old 03-27-2011, 10:09 AM
SXSW Services SXSW Services is offline
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Just my two cents:

Whether anyone here doubts if this conversation is good or not, for outsiders like me who are researching the viability of organics vs. restricted chems, and who are trying to broaden their knowledge base for offering these services.....it is extremely valuable. So, thanks for all of your inputs, as (even if it doesn't seem so to you) it is all pertinent discussion.
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  #38  
Old 03-27-2011, 01:37 PM
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starry night starry night is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SXSW Services View Post
Just my two cents:

Whether anyone here doubts if this conversation is good or not, for outsiders like me who are researching the viability of organics vs. restricted chems, and who are trying to broaden their knowledge base for offering these services.....it is extremely valuable. So, thanks for all of your inputs, as (even if it doesn't seem so to you) it is all pertinent discussion.
Wow, there's somebody out there who can see through our bickering and find some valuable information!
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  #39  
Old 03-27-2011, 03:34 PM
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JDUtah JDUtah is offline
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30 to 50 for a power rake on 3,000 square feet? I could never work that cheap! Are you leaving the grass there? If done properly a power rake will produce enough waste to haul off site that $30 to $50 is WAY WAY WAY too cheap imho.
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  #40  
Old 03-27-2011, 04:10 PM
ParadiseLS ParadiseLS is offline
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for me, dethatching 3000 sq. ft. is 30 minutes. i'm going to charge $60, but i would take as low as $30 to do it. and that just includes the raking. so yes, i am just leaving the grass there for $50.

if they want it bagged and put at the curb, it's going to be a whole other story. my clean up is the aerating (which i'm charging extra) and the mowing (which i'm charging extra). and if i have to pick up a bag of extra crap from driveways, sidewalks, roads, etc. in the clean-up, that isn't an issue.
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