Compost spreader?

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

  1. Turfco Tim

    Turfco Tim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Wow! I am sorry I have missed out on this chatter for the past 6 months. I just got back from GIE in Columbus, OH. At the mud bog, which was officially referred to as the outside demo day, we had a Mete-R-Matic top dresser demo. The response was excellent.

    We have been building machines to spread organic material for over 40 years. So I think I can provide some insight into features to be aware of when purchasing a spreader. I see that price and features are a big concern for all of you, which they should be. Something to remember is the more features you request the higher the price. Capacity, motorized drive, ability to spread a wide range of materials all add to the price, but are all very important features.

    Of all the features you should look for, the ability to spread wet material is the most important. Because if it doesn't come out of the machine no matter how much or little you paid for the machine no longer matters. Any heavy organic material will contain some level of moisture. Moisture is the enemy of spreaders because it causes material to stick to the sides which can cause a "bridge". This occurs when the material sticks to the sides of the hopper and stops flowing creating a cavity below the material. This is more of an issue with gravity type spreaders. The reason this occurs with gravity fed machines is that they need angled sides to gain capacity. Material tends to stick to the angled sides causing the "bridge".

    Belt type spreaders move wet material better but there are even differences in their performance with wet material. A smooth belt tends to slide under wet material and give an inconsistent spread. Patterned belts give the best performance in spreading compost type material.

    I highly recommend that you purchase a machine that is self propelled. Push spreaders are inexpensive but that comes at the cost of lost productivity and lack of capacity.

    When it comes to capacity remember that the larger the machine the less amount of places you can access. In a home lawn that could mean not getting in the back yard or top dressing a slope. On the other side of the coin if the machine doesn't have adequate capacity you lose productivity.

    I think all of you are on the right track considering top dressing as part of your services offered. Agronomically it is great for lawns, financially it is great for you.

    I hope this helps.

    Best of luck!

    Tim Gray
    Turfco, Mfg.
  2. pick5716

    pick5716 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hey Turfco Tim I see you are from Blaine MN. Any chance you know of somewhere in the Twin Cities Metro Area that rents topdressing type machines. I only need to use one once or twice a year and will not get back a return for buying a good quality machine but being able to rent would work out great. Thanks for your help. You can contact me at
  3. Turfco Tim

    Turfco Tim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101


    Sorry I haven't replied sooner. It's show season for us so I have been travelling a lot.
    I can't think of anyone right off hand who rents top dressers in the Twin Cities. Check with some material suppliers like Plaisted's or Litener's. They may have a machine or be able to point you in the right direction
    If I come across something I will let you know.

    Tim Gray
    Turfco Mfg.

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