The gloves are off! Which is best? Mechanical or jet agitation

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Meadowbrook, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. Meadowbrook

    Meadowbrook LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    Ok, after searching for about half an hour, probably more, I'm still left with the question of which one is best. I had my mind set on an Easy Lawn or Turbo Turf jet agitated hydroseeder, but after reading some of the horror stories that guys have put on here, I kinda changed my mind. So......WHICH ONE IS BEST??? Not best for a lil' guy starting out, not best for a nationwide corporation, just THE BEST. If it costs, well then it does, but at least it's a dependable machine. I'm not asking which brand is the best, although a lil' input couldn't hurt. I'm really asking which agitation method is best. Also, if someone has a machine that they'd like to get rid of, PM me. Thanks for any and all input and I'll be checking back often.

    Chris
     
  2. jd boy

    jd boy LawnSite Member
    from nw ohio
    Posts: 179

    there is absolutely no pondering to do... mechanical agitation is the only way to go. It allows you to use a wood based mulch which is thicker and holds mulch better.

    we have a turf maker 900 and have never had a problem with it. if i had to do it again i would go bigger. 900 gal seems like a lot but doesn't go too far.
     
  3. rscritch

    rscritch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    mech. is hands down the best, my advice is buy some 100% wood mulch and call each company that your thinking about buying and have them come out and let you test their machine, if they dont want you to use the 100% wood mulch and keep pushing you towards the paper mixes then theres your anwser, ive got a turff maker and love it, no brake downs, no problems and no rust in the tank (not much paint left on the adgitator but no rust) after 3 years and i mean 3 years of hard use, every one will have their oppions so test the machines for your self thats the only way that you can see which works and will work best for you and your company. just my $.02
     
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I have written this many times, but what the heck, I will put a new twist to it.

    If money is not an option and you are going to be using 100% wood mulch, then mechanical agitation is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are only going to be using the machines for small lawns and on an occassional basis, or you plan on using straw as your mulch, why in the world would you want to waste money on an expensive mechanical agitated machine that will be sitting around most of the time.

    I started hydroseeding with a jet agitated machine, it paid for my finn and bowie that I now own. It also paid for the trucks the mechanical agitated machines are mounted on. It paid for the straw blower I own and the trailer it is mounted on. You will find out quick once you get a hydroseeder that its not the machine its the person running the machine.

    When I buy another new machine it will be a mechanical agitated machine. Simply because the mechanical machine is more productive with the materials I use and the jobs I do. That doesnt mean you cant mix wood mulches in a jet machine, Hell, I discovered that i was mixing more wood mulch per gal of water in my jet machine than most put in their mechanical machines, you can even mix BFM's in a jet machine, jet machines are just not as productive with these materials as a mechanical machine is.

    With that said, the type of work you will be doing should determine the machine you purchase. Jet machines make good starter machines but you can quickly outgrow it as your work conditions change. I started doing lawns and graduated to roadside work. I have a 600 gal finn and a 1000gal bowie, the jet machine was 500 gal but I just plum wore the pump out and converted it into a nurse tank for the finn.

    If you are serious about a mechanical agitated machine you can e-mail this person at kakakiefier@juno.com. She has a good 1100 gal trailer mounted Bowie for sale for around $9000,(my guesstimate on the price). Its a 95 model and last time i saw it, it was in great shape. She is upgradeing to a 3000 gal model. Located near Charlotte NC. the machine was used mostly for hydroseeding with straw and tacking so it shouldnt have much wear.Tell her muddstopper sent you.
     
  5. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    I will add one other thing. It depends on the area of the country where you will be seeding as to what type of mulch will be required. Also, if you are going to do any kind of state / gov't. work, most of them require 100% wood mulch. Here in WV, we use 80/20 and 100% cellulose in our jet machine, and we grow fantastic lawns. As Muddstopper said, it's not really so much the machine as it is the operator. The fanciest $ 50K machine is no good if the person using it has no idea of what they are doing.Remember: Knowledge is power!-Schoolhouse Rocky..lol.. We are on our second jet machine from Turbo Turf, and plan on going to the new hybrid machine they have next spring to expand more into reclamation work for the state.
     
  6. Meadowbrook

    Meadowbrook LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    Keep the suggestions coming.....I appreciate it. One of my sub's has an early to mid 90's Bowie mechanical hydroseeder for sale, 500-600 gal. unit, fair shape, hoses are worn, and he wants $4k-$5k for it, fair price or too high? I think that it's high for what the machine is, but you tell me. Thanks again and I'm still checking for input, have a good evening everyone, I'll be on tomorrow.

    Chris
     
  7. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 607

    Finn is the best(cost not an issue), Thats all we use.
     
  8. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    Depending on the agreed rate per year of this state contract, we are seeking a three to five year to start, we will be going to a much larger setup. We have a demo with a company near Charleston, WV. They will be bringing us a Finn T120 for a day. I got to try one at Expo, and was very impressed with it. If the state comes through, that's our next machine.
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Come on now Planet, have you ever ran a Bowie or other mechanical machine. I have a Finn and a Bowie and there are things I like about each, but when it comes time to mix a load the Bowie is faster than the hydraulic driven agitator that Finn uses. As for my personaly preference between the two, I dont really have a preference.

    As far as the cost of a new 500-600 gal Finn or Bowie, expect to pay $20+/- thousand, depending on accessories. The hoses and such are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace. What you need to look at is how well the pump is performing as well as the seals and bearings at the end of the agitator shafts. Dont forget to check out the engine as well. If these parts are good then the $4-5000 price tag makes this machine a steal. If you dont want it let me know where its at and I will come get it.
     
  10. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 607

    Sorry Mud , Just my opinion.
     

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