Aerating advise? -thinking of adding to services

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Pecker, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    Did a search on aerating and read most of the posts but didn't find everything I need to know. I would like to add aerating as an additional service for the fall. Several questions:
    1. What is the risk of tearing up someone's property with an aerator? (shallow cables like television, telephone, homemade power running to storage building type stuff, SPRINKLER heads???. etc.)
    2. If I were to buy one (I have an acre myself, so I know it'd be used even if my customers don't go for it), should I go with a walk - behind model or something like a LESCO pull-behind model? I have a JD 757 ZTR but it has no hitch and I wouldn't use it if it did, an ATV (which I know how to operate without digging up the grass (learned this technique in my younger days by riding it on my Dad's lawn (oops!, learned that one real fast!)), and a JD rear-engine riding mower. In other words, no big tractor! I'm not interested in the Wal-Mart special; commercial grade aerators only please. And if you can remember the price of any model suggested, that'd be great too. Some of the lawns are soft enough and some you can't even dig with a shovel without using it as a jack-hammer.
    3. Once customer decides to have me aerate, what do I tell them regarding how to prepare, in addition to watering that morning or day before, to ensure the best results. One post that I found mentioned that they drop off a bunch of flags with the customer to have them mark their sprinkler heads. Any other advise like this???
    Thanks in advance!
  2. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    1 - Most all those cables legaly should be 18 inches below the surface. Electrical in PVC. Sprinklers, we have never had any real problems with heads, only problems are with shallow lines.

    2 - We only use Ryan Lawnaire IV's walk behinds. We are interested in a larger split type for easier turning.

    3 - You have that pretty much covered, but in question 1, you may want to ask if they know of those shallow cable or electrical cables.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    A quick thought about shallow cables is to always ask or even put in contract about Invisible Dog Fences. The commercial ones are about 6 inches under the ground but they move. I have seen homeowner ones that were about a half inch under the soil.

    Be safe and make sure that the neighbors dont have one either.
  4. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    Nothing beat the Rock SOlid Plugr. Have used both the Ryan, Classen and Lesco Models and would say the Rock Solid Plugr works 10 times as well. I bought the Rock Solid lasts Spring and loved it.

    • Pluses
    • Pulls better plugs in dry soil because of its cam action tines
    • Easier to maneuver in tight areas because of its stable 4 wheels
    • Reliable simple design -- 30+ hours already and haven'r broken a single belt or linkage
    • Does not tear up turf as easily as drum type aerators
    • Very easy to load and unload from the trailer

    • Minuses
    • Will tear up turf if trying to go ***up*** very steep hils -- always go sideways
    • Slower than Drum Types -- but the PL800 pulls more cores so you only have to go over one pass -- not two.
    • Handle design need to be tweaked a little -- your hand get tired after using it for 10 hours or so.

    Any question talk to Dee at Rock Solid -- they are very helpful and Friendly.

    [​IMG] - Rock SOlid Plugr
  5. Cooper Landscaping

    Cooper Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214


    Check out Gator Rator. Bryant is a sponsor here, and has what is in my opinion what looks to be a great piece of equipment, and has received rave reviews from other lawnsite members. It mounts to the front of the ZTR, and uses the weight of the mower to pull the plugs.

    As for your other questions, the other guys that answered have covered everything I could think of.

  6. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    1st of all if they have an invisible dog fence just walk away. I have seen many (professional jobs) and the max depth is about 3" on the average 1.5" , some areas laying on the ground. Just not worth it . I won't give you any advertisements but if you get a pull behind remember you need an easy way to raise and lower. Also they are not suited for tight areas or even medium size yards. A walk behind with some kind of turning assist would be nice. Best price will be the old style iv or v but they are a lot of work, they are quite profitable though. Must mark sprinklers and junction boxes and plastic downwells.
  7. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Oh and since it should not be scheduling problem with just a few customers. Forget telling the customer to water. Just aerate after the ground is plenty saturated with moisture after rains. The water request to the customer is the big boys excuse when they plug a bone dry property in August. Oh well you didn't water. We told you to. $100 please.
  8. Clay

    Clay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 236

    Agree with Hamons on the Plugr... I recently received my pl800... It pulls a boat load of cores and does not kill you to operate, load, or turn... Simple design with two belts to cams and the honda engine should deliver longevity... Order and extra set of tines in case you break one on concrete or something.... They simply screw off and on.....

    Good Luck, Clay
  9. Qualey

    Qualey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    Good topic
    I've always rented a walk behind Bluebird that does a good job, but you get worked! Its heavy, narrow and requires a lot of lifting the tines to avoid nasty turns. great workout.
    Anybody feel like sharing the price paid for their machines? I'm hoping to purchase this fall and its nice to know what the ballpark is.

  10. All wires can be marked.

    Invisable dog fences max depth 3"

    Sprinkler lines aprox 6"

    Electrical wires 6 FEET minimum code

    Anything you should encounter you should not be responcable for.

    An aerator will puncture PVC

    Flag sprinkler heads, boxes, water meter covers etc...

    Your ZTR will do fine pulling an aerator. L&G tractors are bad for doing this.

    If mostly open lawns get the tow behind first, if not get the WB first use it on all. Otherwise rent one, $70 a day is nothing, and you should be charging that in your pricing anyways.

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