sandrat - cemetary question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by sandrat, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. sandrat

    sandrat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I have a couple of cemetary jobs that I can bid on. Mowing the grass is not a problem, but the trimming is! Any suggestions or ideas on most efficient way to trim around individual stones with anything other than a string trimmer?
  2. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    I mow two cemitaries. What seems to work the best is walk down one side of a row trimming the left and front side of each headstone. Then walk down the opposite side of the same row trimming the right side and back of each headstone. Hope this helps.
  3. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    I have talked with guys that will spray a growth inhibitor (slow down the rate of grass growth) to limit trimming to a minimum.
  4. Michdeere

    Michdeere LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I've got 4 cemeteries that I've maintained since 1990. I've found that growth retardant works great but you can't really spray after people have put their flowers/planters out. When I trim (every other mowing after Memorial Day) I make sure to trim VERY close to the ground. This seems to put more stress on the grass and slows down it's growth. There really isn't an EASY way to do it. JRCO makes a 12 volt trimmer (about $300) that mounts on a mower deck. I've not tried it but it seems like a good idea. You couldn't trim everything with it, but it'd probably save some time. Good luck.
  5. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Messages: 249

    no real easy way to do it.
    best thing i've learned about cemetaries is to just stay away from them. LOL
  6. Gumby

    Gumby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I had one for a year and quickly learned to do it similar to how Procut described it. Walk down a line of stones and do the side you are on plus the ends then all you have to do is quickly zip back up the opposite side and move on to the next line. It beats walking in circles around each stone.
    I also quickly learned that no matter how you do it, cemetaries make you work much harder for each dollar than most other jobs. Next year they asked me to bid on it again and I raised my price to what is was worth to me and prayed that someone else would underbid me so I wouldn't have to cut that property anymore. Four other bids and all were way lower than mine!!
    Now I ride by after spending most of day on the ZTR and wave to this poor guy and his 50+ year old dad trying to trim around all those stones with curved shaft Weedeater brand sticks in the hot august sun and I am forever grateful to be rid of that place.
  7. RobH

    RobH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    I used to do a cemetery for years up in the Northeast. It was on two sides of the street. We alternated each week with the trimming of headstones.

    I think if you must trim in a cemetery, it is best to cut it first. This way you trim only what needs to be trimmed. If you trim first you have a tendency to trim a little extra here and there to make it easier for the mower, when the mower can zip right along and get up pretty close to head stones.

    I found that I really save a lot of time trimming 2nd and cutting 1st.
  8. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    I have been mowing a 7 acre and 2 acre cemetery for 3 years and the best way to trim is to take the grass almost to the dirt and that really cuts the trimming back. Cemeteries are truly a pain to take care of I don't know if I will bid again this year, I think I can make more money if I just did resd. and those jobs can bring you extra work. Remember with a cemetery you may have to change your day if someone passes away which may mean working on Sunday or making other customers wait. Also instead of having 1 customer you have hundreds or thousands of families you have to keep happy.
  9. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    First thing....... Buy the Redmax BT225, which I think is now a BT250. It's a commercial bentshaft trimmer. The bentshaft allows you to go "around" the markers stones with just the trimmer (standing in one place), without having to walk around them. Saves a ton of time and it's much lighter than a straight shaft. Also, take the guard off (naturally) and run at least about 24" of string. We use the light stuff (.065, .080 at the biggest) and just jam it inbetween anywhere there's grass. The larger lines grab the stones too much and slows the trimmer down.
    We have one guy trim as close to the stones as he can get with a WB (velky or walk) and let another worker blast through the open sections on a bigger rider or fast velky.
    We aways find it better to "MOW" first, and trim second. This way the trimmer guy can cut any grass (besides the standard trimming) the mower misses, instead of having to go back and check if the mower missed sections the trimmer didn't get.
    Also, this doesn't force the mower guy try and cut sections he really can fit the machine........
    I've been doing the same cemetery for 10 years, and this method is the fastest way we've been able to do it.

    PS....... when trimming straight sections, walk and trim the side and front edge of each grave. Then, turn around and do the same on the other side. This method saves the most time and keeps the machine moving forward. Personally, when I do the front inside edge of each grave, I stop as I move the machine in, and continue walking as I pull the machine out of the middle section, which stretches out my arms, then I put the machine forward again as I trim the side, repeating this as I go.

  10. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    This is like what Doc said, but this also shows how to mow. If you mow like this you will also get better stripes. Also if you use a straight shaft trimmer they will throw grass onto the stones, but a curved shaft spins the opposite way throwing the grass away from the head stone.

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