Looking for a faster and more productive way to top dress compost etc.??

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I did a lawn seed install last Thursday and I spent most of time using a grain shovel to top dress and my BP blower to actually blow the compost out of the 4 wheeled dump cart. BP blower works for a thin layer but is very messy and coats the surrounding areas with compost. Grain shovel is very consistent but very slow.

    What I have found are these spendy gas powered units but I like to go with something that would be a go between the 2 extremes.




    Possibly a walk behind earthway type spreader that is modified in some way to reliably distribute screened compost. The turfco unit looks like it would be very reliable and would not require any screening of compost. Just need an intermediate stop gap method that will take me to the next level. If this part of the business gains more traction I would probably buy a high end unit but for now I can't justify the expense.

    Any input?
  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,250

    You can build a effective spreader for compost/spagnum peat moss. During the winter I use January/February to spread spagnum peat and a little cow manure on my lawns. The grass is dormant. You could adapt it to be pulled with a lawn tractor or mower. Use a 1/2 sheet of 3/4" plywood and cut two (2) 24" circles. Cut a 10"X10" opening an hinge and lock on one piece. Make it sturdy as it will get a workout. Buy 1/2" rabbit wire for the grate. I used 4 threaded rods with bolts to support the two circles together. On each of the two circles attach a length of 2X4's extending 2" beyond the circles placed 90 degrees apart. This is your rumble for shaking the peat or compost. Attach your rabbit wire using 3/4" staples and air gun. Put a length of 1" galvanized pipe through the center and a couple of PVC spaced outside of the pipe and attach a tongue similiar to a push reel mower and you're finished. I piddled with the design for a few days.
    Fill it half way through the door and pull it over the lawn. It will shake out by the tumbling of the material. I put a couple pieces of broken cinder block parts inside to help break up the material. You can make it any length you'd like. I used 36" rabbit wire so I would not have to cut it. Buy 7' of wire. Hope it will help. You'll have to clean out the bigger pieces of stuff in the peat moss. I didn't use compost and it may not go through the 1/2" wire but maybe some larger gauge mesh such as chicken wire would be available. Just take the principle and adapt it.
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,121

  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    In ball park figures what did that unit set you back? The Turfco unit is just over $7k.
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972


    Your home made spreader sounds like something that might be a good project for some people but as good as your instructions were I have read that a dozen times and am not quite following what you did. Probably just me but if you get a chance why don't you take a few pictures and post them in case someone wants to try that.
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,121

    It was about $6,800.00.
  7. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    24" circles on both ends, wire to form a drum. From bottom to top:

    Wood circle, wire, wood circle.

    Here is a picture of one:


    This one runs about $750-$1000 and would do exactly what you want


    What I did with my own lawn was spread manure as evenly as I could with shovel, hit it with power rake and then run over it with a mulching mower...worked pretty well, but it was time consuming...you probably could avoid the power rake step and use just the mower.
  8. godjwood

    godjwood LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 137

    do you guys offer the topdressing as part of your regular fertilization program? (fertilizer, weed control, aerating, overseeding, etc?)

    do you generally topdress in the fall or spring?

    or do you only do it on problem lawns?
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Topdressing is in addition to those. Topdressing with sand in the south or warm season grasses is done in the spring during green up or in June when green up has occurred and grass is growing quickly. With compost topdressing I would think you could do it anything the lawn is green.
  10. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    In the hot of the summer sun the dark of the compost can hold to much heat and sometimes burn the grass.

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