Renting a Topdress spreader and Compost ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,604

    Rick, that's a great setup you have. :clapping:
     
  2. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Thanks Guys for the comments on My Set up.

    Yeah, I almost bought Earth & Turf. I think they make great machines and I was going to head down to GIE Expo last year. I had talked to the guys at Earth & Turf and was excited to see their machines. They told me that they were going to make a version to compete against Ecolawn. So I decided to call Ecolawn and see if there was some place to demo their machine. I saw their rep. worked in Wheaton, IL and his name is Keith Schuler.

    So I thought Wheaton is a lot closer than Kentucky. Called Keith and he said that they had a new machine that had dual wheels up front. Could handle and spread wet material better than a single wheel. The single wheel can spread, but the coverage, evenness, and width is good....but with the dual wheel set up...it makes spreading that much quicker and easier coverage. And for what was $500.00 more (I think) for the dual, new machine, it was a no brainer for me.

    Keith brought his Ecolawn 200 up to my house, and once I saw it in action....I was sold!!! Went to the credit union and gave him a check, and off he went.

    But I would hesitate on Earth & Turf. I think they make great machines....but so far the Ecolawn has performed amazing and works for my limited space for traveling. I carry tools, rakes, shovels, and other hand tools in the rear of my pickup truck....never anything big like large mowers, compost spreaders, etc....that's what a trailer is for (just my thinking). I try to keep my appearance clean when coming and returning from a customer's house.

    And if you get into larger jobs, Earth & Turf is the way to go. Their machines can handle larger loads of compost....but that would be a whole another set....which I'm not there yet?!? :)
     
  3. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    And for either of these machines Barry or Rock, do you drag the material in as one of your last steps in the process? Can you give any idea of how much area you are overnight with a yard? I realize that can be adjusted but just trying to get an idea of how heavy you are putting it down. I am going somewhere around 1/2 yard per thousand on a large overseeding project right now and dragging it in.
     
  4. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Here's Rock River Valley Compost lab results:

    For the January 2013 the lab looks like they crossed out "Cattle Manure" and never assigned a Lab Number. So they don't add cattle manure to their compost....it was just an employee mistake.

    Keith Schuler from Ecolawn Applicator said when he was here, that their compost was some of the best he's ever seen. And he's been all over the USA and Canada.

    When I'm spreading, I am putting down 1/4" to 1/2" of compost. Sometimes a little more in other areas. The little more areas, I will spread seed on bottom and then once I'm done, I will spread the rest of the seed on top. I've found I've gotten the best results this way. The seed on top gets buried quickly from the rain and sprinkling from the customer since the compost is loose and soft. I will also spread Milorganite to kick start the growing process too.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Sorry, I've added two January results. Must have clicked the mouse twice! :laugh:
     
  6. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    Interesting, Rick.you and RockRiver Valley Compost get high marks for professionalism. Thanks for taking the time to post those lab reports.

    Up to 1/2"topdressing is pretty heavy but I have no doubt that it is beneficial in places. You do not drag it in then?
     
  7. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Nope. The organic compost will settle fairly quickly. I ask the customer to cut their yard down to 3 inches. This way once I'm done spreading and seeding the compost can fall through the grass...thus helping with most tracking problems from the organic compost.

    Dead/dormant areas I will ask the customer to not cut those areas for two to three weeks. These are the areas that I will put down extra compost. This way it gives the grass a good change to get started before any foot traffic or mower wheels mess up the ground. Once the customer gets a good rain or a heavy sprinkling almost any compost that was sitting on the grass gets washed down the the ground and billions of microorganisms come to life once water is added. Then those microorganisms start to eat dead thatch and grass clippings which will produce Nitrogen. Thus making the grass grow, increase grass roots, help thicken their yard, which help reduce weeds and disease in due time.

    I would think of drag matting if I were to:

    1. Core Aerate
    2. Organic Compost Spread
    3. Broadcast Seed
    4. Follow up with Milogranite
    5. Drag Mat

    The reason I would drag mat if I did all these steps listed above in one day at a customer's house. The drag matting would help by breaking up the core aeration plugs and this would help some with leveling. But it might be too much of a muddy mess with the cores and organic compost for most people's liking. They usually have a hard time staying out of their yard for two weeks. And they might worry about what the neighbors might think??? With a mess like that....but in the long run...I think it would be wonderful for their yard. A little thinking out of the normal box. :)

    For me, that would be two trips to a customer's house, which I've thought about but never done this for anyone. I should try it in my yard so I could see what would happen...but I don't think I could keep the boys out of the yard that long without their shoes turning into a muddy mess. Which My wife would be all over me. :laugh:
     
  8. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    I like your approach and thinking.

    When I have large areas to repair - say the size of a small car or larger - I mow them the first 2-3 times with an old Flymo. No tracking and gives everything time to firm up.

    It's seldom that I can ask that a field be taken out of service for a month or more unless it is a complete overhaul. In that case step 1 is finding them another field to use if necessary. So the drag mat is a regular part of my process. I feel it help bed seed too. I also agree with your method of dropping more seed in between passes with the topdresser. I will be tearing into one after lunch today that has a game scheduled on it Thirsday afternoon. I hope to get as far as dragging it by end of day Tuesday but it could be the next morning. By then the school's man will be chomping at the bit to mow and paint lines. First varsity game is 9/6 and their schedule has to be my first priority. 9th graders may get the short end of the stick for a game or two.

    Meant to include: I am a big believer in PennMulch and other similar products for large repair areas or spots that I need to heal in fast, such as wear area in front of pitcher's mound. Try it if you haven't already. Thinking about the Flymo reminded me of this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  9. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    Rick13: is your F-450 a Diesel? Also, you mentioned getting the topdresser with 2 front wheels but it looks like a single in your picture. You must have a third ramp somewhere too for the front wheel(s)? That carrier is pretty slick! Not sure I could get your rig into my normal lunch spot's parking lot :)
     
  10. Barnabas

    Barnabas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    You can see in the pic its 6.7 diesel
     

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