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BlueBird 530 vs. Lawn Solutions 21" WB in 1/2" thatch

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by Exact Rototilling, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. stang2244

    stang2244 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    I picked up the PL855 today to demo. We got a tiny bit of moisture overnight but things are still bone dry. I used it on 7 yards and was able to pull decent plugs. This machine is totally different to operate than any other aerator I have used. The controls take a little to get used to and I realized quickly that you get much better results if you don't go full speed with the forward lever but keep the tines going full speed. If the ground is too hard it just bounces off and you get tiny plugs, but in most spots I was able to get about 2 inch plugs and got a LOT of them. The ground was pretty hard and I'm hoping I can get it to pull a little bit deeper in ideal conditions. Also, this thing sure as hell doesn't seem like it's 30" wide. I didn't measure it before brought my equipment back to the shop today, but it only felt like it was about 23-25"(aerating path). Also, any advice on flipping 180 degree turns without raising the tines? I could kind of do it but I felt like I was putting torque on the tines. Any general tips or techniques to help when using it?
  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    As for aeration width I think all the manufacturers count an imaginary extra tine for path width....? Not sure why?

    Can't speak for that model specifically but if the tine block is the same as below as the 850 sharp turns can be made with front wheels up off the ground and let it propel through the turn with tine action only. Works pretty well on 90 degree turns. If you turn too sharply it will lift
    The sod loose from the soil. No harm done just step on the turf to settle it move on. Tough to describe but you'll go..oh yeah...when it happens. No harm to the unit...just feels odd.

    Sure would like to see some.detailed pics of a 855. Dealer in town doesn't stock. Web site pics not very revealing.

    As for tine depth drop rear tire air presure some as well as turn tines out a few turns. Don't tell anyone but rolling tine units with enough weight will pull deeper plugs in the right conditions. What you want in plug depth is sub soil dirt for top.dressing effect.
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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  3. stang2244

    stang2244 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    I'll take a few pics before I bring this back tomorrow. I have a Classen 26" rolling time unit and in the right conditions it will pull a solid 3" plug. Problem is it will beat you to death running it. I am torn on this aerator. It's not quite what I was hoping it would be but I feel like the customers will be a lot more satisfied with the results. I also think I'll get a lot of on the spot jobs from neighbors seeing the ridiculous amount of plugs this thing pulls.
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  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I was pulling tine spacing specs today ...classen has some.of.the most widely spaced patterns of all the WB rolling tine aerators.

    I bought my first plugr sight unseen from reviews on lawnsite mainly due to ease of use. Cost of.tines.is way higher so you need to recoup expenses somehow.

    Anyhow... take tons of pics especially under the hood.
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  5. stang2244

    stang2244 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Here are some pics. Definitely not even close to 30" width, the Classen is 26".

    I went ahead and bought one, picking it up on Monday!





  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Congrats...hope you sell a ton of aerations this spring!
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  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Turns out the tine spacing on the LS 21" WB is 3.5" x 9" which turns out to be only 4.57 plugs per square foot. Based on the "Purdue formula" for square foot not the floating square cut out creative measuring method.

    Somehow I had it stuck in my head the LS 21 WB was 3.5" x 6"....?:hammerhead:

    The BlueBird 530 has a tighter pattern but lacks the weight to break through the thatch layer? The greater weight of the LS 21" WB beats the BlueBird 530 however the reciprocation of the Plugger has the speed and punch to get through a thatch layer like what I inherited.

    So.....my Plugr 850 pulls 75% more plugs per square foot than my Lawn Solutions 21" WB and 72% more than the Bluebird 530.

    Compared to the other rolling tine unit out there on average the Plugr 800 series pulls 46% to 77% more plugs in a single pass over the current WB aerators on the market.

    Truth is reciprocating aerators will often pull shorter plugs so there is some debate here.

    One of the site sponsors here has mentioned the soil fracturing of rolling tines is better.

    The pics I have taken and my experience is the the top dressing effect of the Plugr 800 series is over the top based on shear plug count on the pop effect of the plugs being ejected from the tine....even if there is less soil fracturing.

    Now I'm trying to figure out how much more to charge this year for 46% to 77% more plugs in a single pass with the Plugr 850 vs. the other rolling tine units.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,219

    So, does the XT5 also pull 4.5 plugs/sq ft? Or better?
  9. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Turfco specs are top secret. [​IMG]

    I have several reasons to belive it is 4 x 8. Math would put it at 4.5 per square foot if spacing is in fact 4 x 8. I'm hoping to have a modification done to my LS to get a tighter fore aft pattern. Don't hold.your breath I hope to have that done for the fall.season.
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  10. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    How fast does the PL800 move? I have a couple of PL600s, these are pre hydro units I bought in 2000. They do OK, though they burn through tines, but they are soooo ridiculously slow. literally move at about .5 mph. I aerated a 39k lawn with one, partly just to see how long it would take me without pushing the machine to increase speed. Took over 2 hrs and 45 minutes!

    Good luck on getting free tines. Plugr has used my endorsement on their website and in brochures for 10 years now. I bought 4 of their units, I used to be on a first name basis with them, back in the Rock Solid days. I could get my tines from them directly for $6 each, but one day I was told that they could no longer circumvent the local distributor, and bam, I am now paying $12/tine. The thing that makes me mad about the tine wear isn't so much that the tines have such short life-span, it's that they charge twice as much for them as any other manufacturer. A Bluebird tine, or a Ryan tine will cost half as much, and last 10 times as long.

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