Aerating issue: Sprinklers & Fertilizer

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by dedmonds, May 23, 2006.

  1. dedmonds

    dedmonds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I'm starting a side business with my son aerating lawns. I'm pretty familiar (I think) with lawn care, but I have a question that affects efficiency. In order to protect sprinklers from damage, we need to flag them first, which means opening each valve for a few seconds. This moistens the lawn a bit which I believe will cause even pelletized fertilizer to dissolve enough to potentially burn the lawn if it is not then watered in.
    We'd rather put down pelletized and tell the clients to water w/i 24 hours instead of having to take the time to cycle all the valves through (time=money).
    But I've heard of guys who put down pelletized and drive off, but they must put it on dry lawns. But if they do this, then they aren't finding the sprinkler heads and are risking damaged heads from the aerator (mine is 400 pounds). What's the best system, or is there a fairly high nitrogen pelletized out there that won't make me have to water in even though it was spread acrossed moist lawn?

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I just have those customers flag the heads themselves. This way I don't have to waste time doing it, and if they miss a head, it's not my fault.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    drop flags week before and let customer do it. tell them to flag valve boxes too.

    But even if you do it, you will be at the site for a while and any water should be dry before you drop fert. If you want just run a manual test of the system just as you leave and it will run as you drive off.
  4. dedmonds

    dedmonds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks guys, drop the flags off first. great idea and will do.
  5. greenscapes inc.

    greenscapes inc. LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 137

    I have never flagged sprinklers prior to aeration. Takes too much time and I have never has a problem.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,376

    We couldn't get ANY customers to flag them so we sold them a sprinkler check first and put flags on all the heads. Then we decided to forget that and just run aerator.....and repair any damage. I would guess that some valve boxes that under the grass get damaged. We seen 4 box heads damaged that Scotts had just finished and they drove on.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It is of interest to note that even thou I flag heads, I've hit a few over the years and none ever broke. Also, even when they are flagged I ride over the head while lifting the axle a bit, just enough to take most of the weight off, and again never a problem.

    As for who marks them, doesn't matter to me, I got over 100 of these flaggots with me but if I mark them, it costs $5-$10 extra.

    As for fertilizer burn, I don't put down that much that it could burn, and I don't put it down anytime temps get over 80 and there is no rain in the forecast. Do NOT rely on customers to water the lawn, if their sprinkler system is active then it is ok, but otherwise you're just asking for it.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    I've got a Plugger. drives tine deep and will tear the heck out of the head.

    I've also hit a valve box cover and drove the box down on the pipe and broke the pipe-- now I always mark them. I also have them read and sign a sheet that states I am not responsible for pipes too close to the surface. Yes I have hit them. Installers did not go deep enough.
  9. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,821

    All customers lawn irrigation systems are flagged before aeration. As far as fert,after an app,the customer is given an invoice with what is put down , how much is put down etc, along with all watering instructions.

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