Compost spreader?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by rwb, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. dylan

    dylan Member
    Messages: 276

    You mentioned a hydromulcher a few posts back. I've been looking at the hydroseeder units by Turf maker and they look heavy duty enough to spread liquid compost. Ever experimented with this? Would it be beneficial to add compost to the mulch, seed, fert and water in the hydro tank? Could be a "new" service here or at least something to make your company different.

    Thanks Dylan
  2. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    The spreader that dylan has illustrated holds 1/3 of a cubic yard in the hopper. That will cover 300 square feet. Assuming the hopper is 24 inches wide, you will drive 150 feet before having to stop and refill the hopper. To cover an acre you would have to stop 130 times.

    A hydromulcher and a 12 yard truck can blow about 10 yards per hour (I think I have that right) or 10,000 square feet per hour. An acre would take all morning and a couple trucks.

    I don't know what the farm implements can sling but I believe it is a lot more than that. The self contained one I saw most recently would hold about 3 yards and needed a PTO.
  3. craigs lawncare

    craigs lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307


    Nice machine... I have seen a few pic's of this on lawn site. I would like to get one this summer, but I am just not willing to spend hug $'s for a compost spreader right now.

  4. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I think for the most part this is a major untapped area of the green industry, so far. You can either go with large tractors and implements, or something like what dylan has. But for the small to medium sized homeowner yard, there isn't really a good solution for spreading compost as of yet. And certainly not an inexpensive answer, imo. I would really like to get into doing this, I just haven't figured it all out yet.

    Turco, who makes that machine dylan has, does have some of the best equipment I've seen for this. Their stuff is more for golf courses than residential homes, and that equipment is somewhat expensive.
  5. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    That is a major drawback to this machine, as I see it. Turfco claims the spreading width is 31 inches or so. It would be a pain to keep refilling the thing. But, still much easier than spreading with a wheel barrel and shovel.

    dylan, do you find that you have to stop to refil often?
  6. dylan

    dylan Member
    Messages: 276

    I used to stop and fill ALOT. (still way faster than a wheelbarrow because there is no raking to spread it out)I added extra sides to my machine and more than doubled my capacity. It now holds around 1/2 or 3/4 of a yard. Not too bad. The machine empties in about 30 seconds or one minute but by that time the tractor has scooped up the next bucket full and you are off to the races again. With a tractor and a topdressor, the work goes very fast. It used to take me hours to load it by hand. I think the ultimate set up would be two topdressors and one tractor. Good for large sites.

    If my machine holds 3/4 yard heaped and I am applying 1 yd per 1000 on a 10000 sf ft lawn that equals 10 yds and 14 stops for loading. Not too bad. 30 seconds to load. one minute to spread.
    So, 14 times 1.5 minutes equals 21 minutes to do 10,000 sq ft. Hm, I don't think I'm that fast but even if you double that time to 42 minutes, that is a pretty good production rate. I'll keep better track of times this summer for a comparison.

    Another alternative is using a dump truck/ trailer with a "gate" opening. This small opening only allows a small bit out at once. Just park your topdressor underneath and filler up! Eliminates the tractor and cleaning up the mess left by dumping on the ground. You are then limited to the capacity of your dump. Good for small lawns.
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Most of what I'd be doing is around 6000 sq ft in size. That wouldn't mean too many reloading stops. Having a helper running a wheel barrel back and forth would probably help with the loading, too.

    What kind of extensions did you put on the hopper? I really like that machine, and I see Turfco is selling it for around $5000 direct online. Decisions, decisions.

  8. Puttinggreens

    Puttinggreens LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from southeast PA
    Messages: 398

    I see you are discussing the turfco topdressor.
    I started with a similar machine,,, may even be a turfco, couldn't tell by the time I picked it up from a golf course. Check out under they're used equipment. I have seen used topdressors like what you are interested in.

    My background is mostly golfcourse so I am more familiar with the larger topdressors. The small unit I had like the Turfco was good until the properties started getting bigger. You lose alot of time transporting back to the truck for more material. Also, they are tough to use on hills, the centerof gravity is not very low,,, especailly if you build up the sides. Most of these machines are origianlly designed for topdressing putting greens with a materail high in sand content. In other words, they are designed for a material much heavier than compost so you can get away with raising the sides a little.

    I found it difficut to make money at the rate of organic matter I wanted to put down so I dropped the rate way down and topdress every year. I am at 2 to 2.5 thousand squre feet per cubic yard. I only topdress on top of aerification and seed and my customers love it.

    Turfco also makes some good pull behind models if you ever want a larger model. I know these are on, just need to keep looking. Most of the good used golfcourse equipment usally shows up in the winter when superintendents are slow.

    Hope you can use some of this info.
  9. dylan

    dylan Member
    Messages: 276

    $5000 eh? Maybe time for another?

    For the sides, I just bolted on some sheet metal/ plywood to the existing sides so that it continued out at an angle. The original opening would have been about 30" across. Now it is 68" across to match the bucket on the tractor. I'll put a picture up when I drag it out of the barn.

    \ /

    Does my drawing make sense to you?

    The center of gravity is very high on these machines. For steeper lawns you will need helpers to keep it upright. i've considered an outrigger wheel that locks into position. I've rolled mine at least three times! Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    Thanks for the input puttinggreens. Lower application rates might be interesting but so far my customers like to SEE what I've done. I'll experiment with rates this summer. Could be more $ in my pocket and that is always a good thing!
    Turfquip is a good source for used I agree. Those machines can last a very long time.
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

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