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Old 02-21-2013, 09:25 AM
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Flail blade or delta blade for Verticutting??

Hey guys I bought a bluebird verticutter an am a little perplexed here. I was told the flail blades that come on the machine will verticut but if you go on bluebirds webpage, it specifically says the delta blade is for Verticutting. Any feedback??
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:40 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is offline
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I am guessing that this machine will be used on St Augustine right? St Augustine is best treated with the least aggressive verticut machine possible. That is straight flail blade spaced very wide. Personally, I do not like to verticut St Augustine. I have found that thick matting is caused by mowing too low and stressing the grass in ways that cause it to go through cycles of dying then having to grow back. On Zoysia, developing a thick mat is caused by not cutting short enough with a reel mower. Here in Hawaii, Verticutting is considered a drastic measure to correct the damage caused by incorrect mowing. The expectation is that a bermuda or zoysia lawn is cut by a reel. I would get kicked out for allowing a lawn to be mowed improperly and then telling the client that they need to have the lawn verticut on an annual or every 6 month basis. Still working on educating mowing people and clients on the proper height of cut for St Augustine. Many think that the correct height of cut is as low as a rotary will go.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:48 PM
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It will be on diamond zoysia. It's been getting cut at 1" through the winter and .75" in summer. We want to very very lightly verticut it. There is a little bit of thatch but not much....the goal is the least amount of damage possible and I need to know if flail or delta will provide that result needed....
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:49 PM
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FYI-st aug that needs to get verticut here is from waaayy too much nitrogen. When you start seeing runners growing on the surface, you know there's a problem.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida Gardener View Post
It will be on diamond zoysia. It's been getting cut at 1" through the winter and .75" in summer. We want to very very lightly verticut it. There is a little bit of thatch but not much....the goal is the least amount of damage possible and I need to know if flail or delta will provide that result needed....
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If it is just a little. I would consider scalping it with a reel at 1/2"-3/8" instead. That is how well maintained zoysia is treated here. When a zoysia lawn starts to get thick it is scalped in the early summer months. Too much thinning just gives openings for weeds. Otherwise, a flail blade set not too deep or close together should do it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Florida Gardener View Post
FYI-st aug that needs to get verticut here is from waaayy too much nitrogen. When you start seeing runners growing on the surface, you know there's a problem.
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How much N are we talking about? This is why I am so down on slow release granules in warm season areas. At 90F and 90% RH they are not really slow release, yet if people follow the bag, they are going to be applying over 1 lb of N per application in the worst form possible. They might as well be spreading prilled urea. Because that coating has to be radically different from what is ok on cool season grasses growing up north.

I have applied 1/2 lb of N as a spray at 30-45 day intervals on St Augustine. With strict instructions to the mowing people not to mow below 4". This was to correct a problem where the grass was thickly matted and runners were growing on top. A year on this program and the running on top stopped. The matting also shrank to about half of what it was. Several people previously told this account that they needed to verticut this St Augustine. Do you know how much that would cost on 11/2 acre here in Hawaii?
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:09 PM
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Has to be more than 4 lb of N/yr cause I do 3-4 N/yr. and I never have this problem. I tried something this summer. I let one app slide until 4 months and I noticed something interesting. The grass didn't lose any color. Now, I believe since I mulch all my properties and the lawn is healthy to begin with that that had a big impact. Verticutting 1.5 acres of St. Aug?? Ouch, that must cost a small fortune. Any floratam here that is cut below 4" is a weed patch within a year. Especially ones that were resodded from CG infestations.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:24 PM
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Oh yes. To end that story, my instructions to for that 11/2 acre lawn were not to bag clippings when mowing either. I was then able to cut rates to 1/4 lb of N and still maintain color. My idea is not to let grass ever go through feast or famine, nor drought or flood. Because coming out of periods of starvation are when the problems start.

A verticut here can be as much as $1 per sq ft, including the necessary removal of debris and topdressing. It was either that or put the lawn on my type of program. Correctly fertilizing and maintaining the lawn turned out to be the bargain.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:32 PM
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I'll never understand why people want to cut at aug at 2" and sports turf at 4".....the thing with st aug is it doesn't cost more to cut at 4" but to keep sports turf nice, it cost a lot more...
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:38 PM
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It is not hard to take a string trimmer or rotary mower and grind St Augustine down to the ground. The stolons and leaves are soft. It is much harder with bermuda and even harder still with zoysia. Anything other than a reel mower or trimmer with counter rotating blades stalls and chokes on those grasses if made to cut it down low. That is why bermuda is cut too high. Trying to cut it at 1" with a rotary is rough on the operator and even rougher on the machine.
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