Advice on turning rocky pasture to mowable

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by supersail, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. supersail

    supersail LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I've searched like crazy here, but am still torn on what to do. We have 2 acres of rocky, clay, weedy land that we would like to make mowable. I'm not ttrying to make it into a lawn, just want to get the rocks and bumps out so it can be mowed a few times a year with an old crappy lawn mower. It currently has junky weeds about 4ft. tall, such as you can't really see whats underneath, but I've tried and hit way too many rocks.

    I think the best would be just grade it off and possibly harley rake afterwards, but it just isn't in our budget, so here's the question. Would just a harley rake or just grading be a decent option? Is a rockhound a better option? I've read here that harley rakes go down about 3-4" and I think that might be enough, but I have no experience with it. We had a very nice landscaper come out and he thinks that the grading would be the best option, but I'm worried about rocks coming back out after frost (minnesota), and ending up with the same situation a few years down the road. Would a harley rake just till in the weeds and windrow the rocks and give us a semi smooth area? If you could afford one or the other but not both, what would you do?

    Also, I have access to a bobcat and can use it fairly well, but no experience with a harley rake. Is it something I could rent and use in any semi-proficient manner, or am I way better off hiring someone? Do you have to go backwards with these?

    Any help is appreciated, thanks!
  2. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    What's your budget?

    Rake Rentals around my parts are under $200 for a full day. Pick up on sat PM and return on Mon AM counts as a one day rental so I can get one for 1-1/2 days at that price. Since you're in MN... dirt moving equipment rentals may be less expensive.
  3. supersail

    supersail LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    So you think the Harley is the way to go? Do you think someone who is ok at bobcat work, but never used a harley would do ok? Harley rakes go for $175/day and I can borrow a bobcat, so maybe I don't have much to lose if I can't handle it.
  4. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    I never rented one but my neighbor has... seems like the learning curve not that steep. Looked to me like he was productive all day long with it. The rental center around here is also very helpful.

    Maybe you can use the bobcat to grade then use the rake.

    I would also check with these guys on what kind of groundcover is ideal for your situation.

    I'm wary of any large field with tall grass/weeds close to the house. Just an invitation for rodents/critters.
  5. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    hey if you can do it yourself what do you have to lose...$175 then if it doesnt work get a good grading guy out there and hell handle the rocks

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