How would you do this job

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I have an estate lawn to renovate.

    It's another one of these up on top of a mountain back in the woods.

    I can't talk them into waiting for the fall. I think they are planning to sell and want to get it looking prime to increase the value. I don't like the idea, but I don't think I want to give it away.

    The lawn is partially wooded and partially full sun. I plan to use a blend of two of my favorite turf type tall fescue blends and also add in Lesco's transition blend to curb the costs a little. I will blend the 3 blends equally 1/3 each. This will give me a 10-way blend of TTTF varieties.

    Now, here is the thing... The soil is HARD. HARD CLAY for the most part and I do not think it has ever been core aerated. It's steep enough that it will require used of a 4x4 tractor and a 3 point aerator or aeravator. Either that or a split-drive walkbehind aerator.

    It's a HUGE lawn though, so...

    Also, with the price of seed now... I can rent a power/slit seeder for the cost of a bag of seed. But this method will take a LOT LONGER than just core aerating and seeding at a heavy rate.


    So... I started wondering how some of you other guys might handle this job?

    From my viewpoint, I see it's going to be hard to get a tractor in there to do it. I'd have to drop at the main road, drive the tractor in, then go back for the rig, then do the reverse when finished. The drive is way too steep to tow a tractor in. It's going to be a trick to get around with it on the job too and some of it will have to be cored with a walkbehind anyways.

    I may just take my time and do the labor hours instead of spending the money and going to the trouble.

    I have also just thought about JUST slit seeding it and forgetting about it.
    But I'm not sure how it might turn out.
    I figure short term the results will be great.
    Good germination and good cover.

    I'm curious... what would you do on such a job?
  2. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    I like your idea for the blends, might add some fine fescue to the shady parts to sure up solid germination. other than that i would probably leave it up to the customer by presenting different plans. This way, you are garunteed to do the job and if they want to go all out, then you will be compensated for it.
  3. David C.

    David C. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    I'm gonna go with dcgreen here!! But heights spook me---and if I'm gonna go "slippin' & slidin'" all over the dad-gum mountainside with a frazzlin' 4 X 4 tractor . . . I can just picture it now-----just remember----while going downhill on the tractor-----use a lower gear and try not to "clutch & brake"---rather---use your gears to break----using, like say---1st gear going down hill----the tractor will only roll down as fast as 1st gear will let it----but you put your foot on the clutch and . . . !!!!

    But you ain't no "Chimpanzee" on a tractor, are you!!!!
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    I'm a small 1 man show and I rent vs own aerators. It sounds like since they are selling they don't want to pay for an "estate" lawn just improve the curb appeal. For up to an acre or so I would just rent the walkbehind aerator and load it in the back of the pickup with some ramps. The time you'll save jockeying equipment with a tractor and multiple rental fees will go back in your pocket. multiple passes with the aerator will do just as good as a slit seeder. I follow with overseeding , lime, and starter fertilizer. I blend rebel varieties tttf and ocassionally a good pay customer will get a bluegrass blend too. Discounters will get K-31 blended . The real question is how STEEP are the hills[some w/b aerators have low oil cut off switch and need extra oil added to make the grade], and how BIG is the lawn. For heavy clay soil I have found success with up selling "SANDING" service. I love lawn restoration jobs and take great satisfaction in seeing customers marvel at the how they could never grow any grass before. Good luck Envy!
  5. mslawn

    mslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from LA
    Messages: 483

    Do you have the tractor, split drive aerator, or slit seeder? You sound as if you are going to have to rent this equipment. You also sound real unsure about this job. Why not let them find a contractor that has the necessary equipment to do the job properly.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Yeah, that's a winning attitude!

    No, I do not have the desire to keep a tractor & 3-pt aerator, slit seeder and split-drive aerator in my stable for 'random seasonal use'.

    It doesn't make good business sense... didn't when I had it all... that's how I learned. Equipment rentals make it too cheap and too convienient for it to be cost effective to own such equipment as slit seeders, and every type of aerator.

    The one type of aerator you use most can make sense if you aerate every account and then some every year. And a slit seeder can make sense if you do a lot of that, and use it for a lot of things like verti-cutting / dethatching too.

    But 'owning' the whole nine yards just isn't cost effective.
    For rentals, I can pass the cost directly to the customer and I have ZERO cost involved.

    Heck man, if I want to, I can have the rental deliver me a tractor and aerator to the site and come get it when I'm done... if I'd rather do that than the extra labor for roughly the same price. At this point I am just trying to decide "HOW" I want to do this job... how might yield the best results... and rather I want to clear more or finish faster.

    Typically, I would just sub this job out and make some off the top.
    It's not the kind of job I prefer when it comes to renovations.
    But that's not going to work on this one.
    It's a referral and they will want me personally to do the work.
  7. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    How to do this job = Very very carefully. Thats about all the wisdom I can impart on you. Make sure you bid the job to take safety and carefullness into consideration.
  8. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    I dont know if you have ever used Lesco Transistion Blend but I made the mistake of using it on 6 yards once. Dont ask me how because I throughly checked the label but I went back the next spring to check on some overseedings I did and to my surprise there was flourescent spots all over the yard.

    Poa Triv...

    I took the label, samples and pics back to my Lesco dealer and they confirmed it but couldnt tell me how it got in there.

    That was the last time I ever used it.

    Id use a couple tall fescues with a small amount of rye. Some starter fert and a ton of water. Just slit seed it.
  9. mslawn

    mslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from LA
    Messages: 483

    Wow, I got a smart remark and a mile long post about equipment rentals...........for just making an observation from Envy's first post.

    So, Envy, do it however you feel it needs to be done, hopefully you will have good luck.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    You know... come to think of it... I remember reading about one other case with Lesco seed. But the issue was weeds.

    I've never used it myself. I just happened to know I would be at Lesco one day before I do this job. So I checked into it and the price was just OK... and the blended varieties included seemed pretty good.

    Padre, Megellan, Bravo.

    But I might just use something else in place of the Lesco seed.

    But anyways, you would really just slit seed it?

    Have you had success with that in hard compacted soils?

    I haven't ever slitted one this hard.

    Not against the idea at all... just wondering what the results would be.

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