Slitseeder?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by way to grow, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. way to grow

    way to grow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    I am interested in buying a slit seeder. I have done a lot of research and I think the lesco lawn renovator would be the way to go. Up until now I have been a fertilzing company. We now have about 1000 clients and hope to add another 500 this coming year. I think we could sell a lot of people on slit seeding as it will improve their lawn in a hurry - right? I have zero experience with slit seeding and I just wanted to ask a few questions about it:

    1. How long does it take to do the average 5000 sq ft lawn?
    2. Is it necessary to do 2 passes from different directions?
    3. Is 8 # of seed per 1000 good? Could I use less/more? I guess it depends on how sparse the existing grass is?
    4. What kind of maintenance do these machines need?
    5. What kind of waterng schedule do the seeds need to grow successfully?
    6. What else do you put down with the seed? Starter fertilizer?
    7. Is 4 to 5 cents per square foot a fair price?

    Thanks for all your help. If their is anything else I should know, please share your wisdom with us.
     
  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    I own the lesco renovator, and love it, I do think the ryan mataway does a better job, but not 2grand better.

    1. How long does it take to do the average 5000 sq ft lawn?

    I believe the machine is 22" wide and goes as fast as you can walk, so its kinda like using a 21" push mower, so a 5k lawn would take 20 min or so.

    2. Is it necessary to do 2 passes from different directions?

    No, one is fine,

    3. Is 8 # of seed per 1000 good? Could I use less/more? I guess it depends on how sparse the existing grass is?

    8lbs seems heavy for overseeding, good for complete reno

    4. What kind of maintenance do these machines need?

    Normal belts and Oil, changing blades sucks, very time consuming, You can turn them over once, then you need to replace them, heavy use I replace them in winter, and switch them once thru the year.

    5. What kind of watering schedule do the seeds need to grow successfully?
    Same as any other seeding work, You should know the answer to that

    6. What else do you put down with the seed? Starter fertilizer?

    Yes, starter fert, again just like any other seed work

    7. Is 4 to 5 cents per square foot a fair price?

    Not sure on cents per k, but I charge by the lb for seed, in other words, I look at lawn, really bad shape I recommend 6 lbs per K and quote it at $11.00 per lb. So a 5k lawn would get ( 5x6 ) 30lbs of seed x $11.00 = $330.00.
    My min is $300, no matter how small or what low of a seed rate is

    Thanks for all your help. If their is anything else I should know, please share your wisdom with us

    Your welcome, I usually sell it only as a reno, I still love core aeration and overseeding, so this is sold more that slice seeding

    Now the only problem with slice seeding is, It leaves a mess on top of the lawn, very similar to detaching. This is how I handle it, others may vary.

    I tell the customer about it first, warn them its gonna look messy, explain there is alot of seeds that get mixed up in that loose stuff on top. I instruct them to water for 2 days after I leave, then after 2 days they can run there mower over the lawn with the bagger off, or mulch it. After 1 week has pasted then they can run the mower with bagger on to remove the remaining thatch. If they are not able to do this, then I sell that service to them and sub it out to a local landscaper to do it for me. 90% of the customers have me take care of that.
     
  3. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 706

  4. Always double or triple aerified, then ran over with silt seeder to breakup cores and slice seed into soil.

    james is correct, lot of seed never makes any soil contact, and my experience was, more seed germinated in areification holes than in the rows created by slit seeder!!!!!!!

    8lbs/m is heavy, but what kind of seed are you using? Genreally, if turf has 50% cover, you overseed at half rate of what you would use if putting in a new lawn!

    non fert client, i do a soil test, seed, starter fert, and a growin fert, which is high in slow release fert, Existing client gets seed and starter fert!
     
  5. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Tim, I always been a huge fan of aer & seed, wasnt totally sold on slice seeding until the summer of 99, very dry New England year, with tons of grub damage, thats when I bought my renovator, I was truly amazed at how well the results where perfect lines of new grass. I think the key is leaving the thatch on the lawn, too many guys remove it right after the slicing.

    Now as far as comparing slice vs. aer & seed, i think is comparing apples to oranges. I only sell slice seeding as a reno, lawn must have large dead areas, or heavy crabgrass.

    I always explain that there are far more benefits of the core aeration and over seeding because of the aeration. And if I feel the lawn would respond better I will recommended that service over slicing
     
  6. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    when i have to slit seed i tell the customer to cut the lawn short but the dont
    so i take a mower cut it short then seed it then run the mower over it as high as it will go to mulch up the thach works great and only 1 trip to the job
     
  7. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

  8. James,

    One year we aerified the bent putting greens, waited about 7 days, applied growth retardent, overseed with silt seeder, had great results! I believe this was the first time i was able to see the result because the new grass was growing faster than the existing turf. very hard to see bentgrass seedling when overseeding on very short cut bentgrass putting greens!

    just never saw the results from a slit seeder on blue or ryegrass turf cut between .5 and 1 inch, but again i always aerified than used a silt seeder, yes saw grass in rows, but seemed like so much ended up in aerification holes. Never removed debri from fairways, but we had to on tee's!
     
  9. Turf Smart

    Turf Smart LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    1. You must slit-seed in two directions to avoid "lines" of grass. You should go straight across first and then diagonil from that.
    2. The rate of seed depends on ingredients and job conditions. The normal seeding rate is 5-7lbs/M. Typically you would use more seed if a high ryegrass content and less seed if mostly a bluegrass content.
    3. The most common thing I have seen trouble with as far as equipment maintenance is the belt snapping from going too deep in the soil with the tines. You only have to go about 1-2" deep, not rototill. The tines do wear out quick in sandy soil conditions.
    4. 4-5 cents a square foot is too cheap!!! Compare it to hydroseeding. they get 5-7 cents/sq.ft. for just spraying and an additional 5-7 cents a sq.ft. for prep work. Renovation is very labor intensive. I would suggest 8-10 cents a sqft.
    5. Aeration is the best for thin lawns. Renovation should be done if there are large bare areas to repair. If the lawn is simply thinned out or needs newer, better grasses, aeration and overseeding is the way. It is much faster than slit-seeding and thus more profitable. A 10,000 sqft lawn can be done in 30-45 minutes. At $12.00/M for aeration and $10.00/M for overseeding that is $220.00 in 30-45 minutes!!! Don't forget a nice app of starter fert with that!! (remember to go two directions with the aerator as well) payup payup payup
     
  10. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Posts: 406

    I try to discourage customers from slit-seeding. Even with a much higher price/k vs. core-aeration & overseeding, the profit margin gets a little dicey from the additional labor costs. This can be somewhat offset by the use of less seed in a slit-seed situation but, other factors can add up fast. If the lawn was originally sodded the slit seeder blades become a nightmare and require almost constant maint. to remove the sod netting. The other problems are maneuvarability of the machine itself. Slit-seeders tend to only want to move in straight lines. While core-aerators are not known for there flexibility in tight or curved areas, they still out perform the former. On residential lawns with many bed areas a tow-behind core aerator with a small walk-behind aerator are several times more productive. During the fall peak-season this becomes a huge benefit that cannot be overlooked when trying to compress your customer base production into a small window of opportunity. Coupled with the other benefits of core-aeration I find myself doing fewer slit-seed jobs every year. Just my 2 cents.
     

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