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are my professors wrong?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnboy82, Jul 19, 2001.

  1. ok. last night i was having a dispute with a customer. he is a special customer, not to say that they all are not. but he asked me how long it would take to do a cleanup at his house. and i asked him what he meant. said that every 2 years he power rakes his lawn. says that it is benefitial for the lawn, and he sees a difference. i said that he didnt have to thatch, and that he shouldnt thatch unless there is a thatch problem. he then went on to say that he picks up all the thatch, and mat. and that thatching is basically the same thing as aeration. maybe my head was in some other country while my professors said otherwise. but what do you guys think? am i wrong? or is he?
  2. racerdave

    racerdave LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    I think you're right:D
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    Aerating is much different than dethatching,one loosens the soil,and relieves compaction,the other just dethatches,leaving the soil untouched for the most part.
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    of course you are right about them being different. but,he probably does see an improvement as a thatcher can do a litte loosening up or scratching of the surface soil .this usually stimulates growth a little.
  5. kermit

    kermit LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    Thatch is generally a compaction problem. By aerating you relieve compaction, bring soil to the surface and increase micro biological action which breaks down the thatch layer. Of course a chemical lawn treatment means little or no microbes left, few worms, and of ultimately a compaction problem.
    The use of compost will help with a compaction problem will help add organic material to build up the soil and add microbes to the soil. Since few people in your area are offering this service you can charge more for this exclusive service and position yourself apart from the crowded field of lawn spray jockeys who have flooded the market, driving down profits.
    Since you are distancing yourself from the herd you can offer an exclusive service and educate the customer on better care of their lawn while making some serious coin. The hort knowledge of many spray operators,(as opposed to the company owner) is generally pretty low,you set yourself up as an expert anfd hopefully can justify your higher prices.
  6. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712

    I have 2 thoughts about this:

    1. You are right. He prbably doesn't even have a thatch problem. Most people confuse thatch with the decomposing clippings and leaves on the surface of the soil. Removing this usually does more harm than good, since many helpful organisms feed on this material.

    2. Why argue with the guy? If he wants to pay extra for something that doesn't need to be done, let him. Do the work and take his money. You didn't sell him something he doesn't need, and you tried to talk him out of it.
  7. DeepDivot

    DeepDivot LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 44

    One of the few grasses where removing the thatch may be beneficial is zoysia. Since I see your from NY, my guess is he doesn't have that type of grass. So you're probably correct.
  8. growingreen

    growingreen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hey Lawnboy,
    I gotta couple of questions for ya. What kinda soil are you dealing with where you are in NY? Do you have a compaction problem in your area?
    The reason I'm asking is that from what I understand if it's sandy or loam aeration may not be as big a benefit as it would be in a finer textured soil like clay that compacts. If it's clay I think Kermit is right on.
    Part of what ya need to do is use the knowledge you have aquired and help educate your customers. When you differentiate yourself from those who are just pounding the turf to make a buck it will be to your benefit ($) in the end when they hear you give good advice.
    The professor is right.

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