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Power-raking Thoroughness

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ecoguy, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. ecoguy

    ecoguy LawnSite Member
    from Duncan
    Messages: 234

    Hey everyone. So...I was calling all the customers whose lawns I serviced this fall (highly recommended btw) and I received positive reviews although I had one lady say "I'd never get you again." When I asked why she said "you left too much grass behind when you power-raked." Truth be told, I took away a truck full but her lawn was very thick and it was wet so the grass definitely looked beat up when I left. I explained this to her when I was leaving which she seemed to understand. Anyways, a week later she said she mowed over it a few times and took away tons more grass so she's claiming I didn't do a thorough enough job. The thing is, I could power-rake all day long and leave the lawn bald by the time I was done but I stopped because her grass was quite thick when I arrived and I didn't want to leave it too thin.

    I'm trying to use this as a learning opportunity (hence the reason for the phone calls in the first place) but am having trouble with this one. What should I have done differently?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Use sugar/molasses to eat away at the dead grass. But if you must power rake there is only one thing to remember. Don't leave the place looking like crap!

    You should have mowed and bagged that day as part of cleanup. Its the only way to dress up the appearance after power raking.
  3. ecoguy

    ecoguy LawnSite Member
    from Duncan
    Messages: 234

    Thanks Smallaxe. You're exactly right.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Ditto times 20.

    I saw this thread and that was my answer before I read it.
  5. ecoguy

    ecoguy LawnSite Member
    from Duncan
    Messages: 234

    Hey Small Axe. I've heard you mention the sugar/molasses thing a few times. Is there a solution you purchase or do you make your own? Also, I'm guessing its something you spray on? When's the best time and how do you determine which lawns need it? More information on this would be great. Thanks.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I spread granular beet sugar and granular molasses, usually by hand. Even distribution is not necessary, it seems to build populations that spread everywhere there is food.

    This all started in a response to dog spots. This dog spot lawn has not been fertilized with anything, other than feces and urine, for 3 seasons now.

    The bright green spots kind of run together and spread evenly across the lawn , on their own.
    This is odd, in that the dogs obviously do not distribute their habits evenly. The microbials seem to be the great equalizer in this case and the sugar helps.

    The side effect of all this is a noticeable reduction in thatch and dead grass, which is constantly recycled at mowing time.
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    My goal for 2010 is to do less power raking than ever before. They are very popular here in the Spring. I use primarily the Blue Bird Spring tine power rake bar with 3 rows of spring loaded tines - NOT flail blades.

    It is extremely tough to keep power rake customers happy. "You left too much in the lawn"... "you took too much out and scorched my lawn it looks horrible"...."the last guy hauled off 17 bags of stuff and he only charged me $65...." I'm real tired of these PITA people. :hammerhead:

    I do have a pack of middle ground repeat customers that are happy campers and they say my power raking is the best.

    People want instant results. A slow working treatment is too slow for many. Frankly a less aggressive spring tine power raking does help a matted lawn spring back to life but aggressive turf grinding makes for time better spent seeking better mowing accounts. What I started do last spring was offering rake and go specials. I just show up and run the Blue Bird and the client picks up all the loose nasty dirty stuff. :laugh:

    FWIW I do pick up al the loose debris with my Quick mower and or a high vac 21"

    I will be reading up on better alternatives to mechanical power raking over the winter. There are several products on the market that supposedly work well. I will always push lawn aeration as the best value for the clients dollar.

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