Dethatching with a Bluebird S22 Over seeder?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Looking at the Blue bird web site it would appear that the Bluebird power rake is the better unit for dethatching. What is different other than the hopper on the S22 vs. the power rake? I'm not really super hot about offering dethatching since it's very labor intensive and I'm not sure if it will be profitable due to post clean up and hauling of thatch. In my area it's a spring event. hardly anyone does it in the fall.

    Can the dethatching blades show below be used for the S22 :confused:

    Has anyone used both units? Pros & cons etc.?

    I'd really rather stick with offering over seeding alone . . . but if thatch is excessive when you overseed you have issues. Correct?

    Wisdom from veterans much appreciated.




  2. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Just run the S22 seeder over the lawn without any seed to get thatch up then rake up the thatch, fill the seeder and seed the lawn. Just make sure you don't set the blades to low when thatching since you just want to get the thatch up, also never thatch a lawn when its to wet. I have never had their power rake with bagger but have rented one and it makes thatching much easier but I don't do much thatching so I just use the seeder and rake up the thatch.
  3. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,020

    That is double the work.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I will be calling Monday to get the definitive answer and specifically ask if you can use or even easily change the blade bar over to the tine or flail blade assembly with out too much trouble on the S22 seeder. I really can't see buying a specific power rake for such a short season here in the spring [3 weeks] but I can see buying the seeder and getting double use out of the machine as long as it can be switched over to the flail or tine blade assembly.

    I'm really wondering if I'm really just better off just using my Mantis with the detacher attachment and possibly get the same type of attachment for my Honda FG 110 [faster tine rotation speed] attachment that does the same thing for another $140 and call it good. The flail blades or even the seeding cutter blades seem that they would do more damage to the turf than nessary, compared to the Mantis or Honda unit, unless you really are going to over seed after dethatching. I've been told that they are fine for small areas but for large lots they take too long.

    Considering renting and the time spent chasing it down, returning it money wasted even if it's a deductible expense I just might be better off just using my Mantis or Honda unit and just being done with it already. So what if takes a few extra minutes to do a yard.


  5. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Messages: 1,818

    To me, its just easier to rent the dethatcher for $40/4 hours. Like you said, the market is small for dethatching.
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Yes, the flail reel will interchange with the delta (slicer) reel. I have both for my Bluebird machine, though mine does not have the seed box. The delta reel is NO WAY a powerrake, it will bring up little if any thatch or dead grass, unless you want to drag the machine backwards. It slices right through it instead of pulling it up like the flail reel will.

    The flail reel, quite honestly, will DESTROY a lawn though. Unless the turf is very healthy and well rooted it will strip what's alive right off the dirt along with all the dead stuff. I helped mine out by removing HALF of the flails and using some rubber hose to make new spacers between them. It's still very aggressive, but will do the job and not destroy as much.

    I honestly refuse to powerrake. It's usually totally un-necessary (around here) and the same thing CAN be accomplished by using a slicer or aerator to open up the thatch layer and allow air and water to penetrate it, helping to start breaking it down. Powerraking dosn't remove real thatch anyway, only the dead/brown grass blades that you can see on the top.

    *I will add, I have never used, or seen in person the spring tine reel. I think it would be a good option for powerraking as it would be less likely to tear up good turf than the flail reel.
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    Excellent point. From the looks of the flail blades it would seem that they will obliterate the grass. That's why I think so many LCOs are down on power racking. I can't say I blame them. I'm really thinking the Mantis or Honda tiller attachment will do far less damage to the turf than the flail blades will. The spring tines look promising but I really doubt those would be on a rental machine.
  8. LaCasse Land Management

    LaCasse Land Management LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    We have the Husqvarna version of the bluebird dethatcher with the spring tine reel and it works great for pulling up thatch. It does have a couple of downsides to it, one being the spring tines do break and you have to have spares in your truck for on the site replacement. The other being time spent on the job compared to a JRCO front mount dethatcher, so you have to make sure your pricing is in line to the service being offered. On the upside, it does not tear up the healthy lawn.

    There is a night and day difference in the amount of thatch that the walkbehind dethatcher removes compared to the JRCO. We sell both depending on the amount of thatch in the customers lawn and their budget as well. We don't have the seeder box on ours but the spring tines will scratch the surface on most soils deep enough to overseed afterward. For an example from last season, on a 30k sqaure foot lawn, we removed 135 bushels of thatch. Thats 15 loads in our 9 bushel bagger.

  9. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Just noticed that on the Bluebird web site that there is an 8hp Brigs engine on the Power Rake 22 but no 8HP on the 22 Seeders. Would I be better off buying the 8hp power rake and adding a hopper as an option?

    Does one really need the extra 3hp?
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    I have the PR22 with the bagger and it works great for dethatching with the flail reel. I have yet to get the bag to work correctly but Bluebird does have a kit that is supposed to allow the unit to collect better.

    The flails, spring tines and delta reel all interchange, and you can get seed boxes for almost all of their units.

    The reels also can be turned end to end so that when the blades get rounded you can get a new edge buy swapping.

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