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Picking up Aerating plugs?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LawnCrafters, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. LawnCrafters

    LawnCrafters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I searched for other threads on this, but couldn't come up with any thing.

    I've been suprised at how many times customers have asked me if I pick up the plugs after aerating. Has anyone elese been asked to do this? If so does anyone do it?
  2. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,694

    I've been asked this. I tell the customers not to rake up the plugs, they will disintegrate soon. Then I tell the customer what a direct waste of their soil it would be. Never have any problem once things are explained to them.
  3. Twotoros

    Twotoros LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 494

    Lost a job due to this last week. When asked, I said it will cost 4x the price of aeration and that the plugs should stay as they are top soil . Also that with water and mowing they will be unseen in a couple weeks. She just looked at me like"you're just lazy. I said you don't want to pay 200$ for the job do you. She of coarse said No!
    I tried to do this once about 14 years back and vowed never again. Am I wrong????
  4. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    I've been asked but never lost a job. I have considered a pulverising option, using a verti-cutter set just above the grass. But the plugs are to moist when first pulled. This would work better after the plugs have sit for a few days and have had a chance to dry. For those that dislike the plugs, this wait may not meet their needs. Any thoughts?

  5. Commander

    Commander Banned
    Posts: 116

    The only time that plugs are picked up is on golf courses. Let me just tell you this... the golf courses do not use Classen aerators... they pay at least 5 times what we pay for aerators. The only reason why they pick up clippings and plugs is so that they do not interfere with ball roll.
  6. lawnkid

    lawnkid LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 935

    I'm sure it's expensive but on the Ryan website they have this new thing called the plug harvester and it goes around collecting the plugs. Has anyone ever seen this?
  7. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472


    JD has one as well. $8,000.00 and you need a gator/tracktor to pull it. These things are impracticle in most sized yards I work. But what are you going to do with the plugs once you pick them up? You going to dump them in the corner of your customer's yard? You going to haul them off? With what, a dump? Now you need a skid steer/tracktor to load the dump. Is this going to be classified as yard waste by the local communities? You going to need a permit to dump it? It's best that they stay on the yard as a top dressing, helping to eliminate thatch.

  8. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 738

    We pick up plugs on our creeping bent lawns that we maintain. You can't use a reel mower if you don't.

    After aerating, which we time with an forecasted warm spell with no rain, we verti-cut to remove thatch and cut the stolen growth of the grass. As well, it does an okay job shattering the turf plugs. We usually go in two directions.

    We then blow the lawn down with back pack blowers, collect the thatch and remaining pieces of plugs (usually a spring of turf with thatch attached, little soil). It goes a little quicker since the grass is under 1" tall than it would with a typical blue grass lawn. Load the debris into the dump and haul it away.

    Timing with the weather is not easy or predictable. As well, it's labor intensive and customers don't like paying us by the hour to clean it up. The other option for us is to cut the lawns with push mowers for three weeks until the plugs break down.

    Too expensive for us to invest in machine that collects the plugs. Customer can pay for the labor to pick up plugs or pay for the aerating from a $10,000 machine. Hmmmm, they like what they have now.

    Anyone just spike their lawns and not pull plugs? What brand spiker do you use and what are it's production times?
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I am with naturescape on this. We NEVER pick up the plugs. But I always explain why, along the same lines that naturescape already said above....

    It's normal for people to ask this question from time to time. But I've never had an incident where my explanation of why we wouldn't pick them up didn't satisfy the customer. Part of it is your posture. I always take the posture that I know more than they do about turf. It's not an arrogant attitude. It's just an attitude of confidence.

    I know for a fact I know more about turf maintenance than any of my customers. So I don't let them push me around with questions like this. I'll entertain the question and answer it. But I won't let them make me feel like I am being lazy or don't know what I am talking about.
  10. KLawn

    KLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Let them dry for a couple of hours then go over the yard with a drag to break them up and fill in low spots.

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