Soil prep tools for new construction lawns?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Shady Brook, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    I am purchasing a utility tractor and some attachments and want to do some lawn installations on new construction. I assume I will be comeing in with everything finish graded and want to prep the soil. Much of the time I will be involved with heavy compacted clay.

    My first thought was to get box scraper and tiller, and use the tiller to loosen the soil, and then use the box to level things out. I don't want to ruin the grade either. I don't know how valuable the box scraper would be, perhaps a landscape rake would be better. Do you fellas use either of these tools much for installs?

    I then thought running over it with the tiller, and then following it with a pulverizor may be better yet. Would this be better at keeping the finish grade, or would I still need a box scraper or rake, or even an angleing rear blade?

    Would suggestions do you have for a green horn?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. bigtime

    bigtime LawnSite Member
    from nc
    Messages: 11

    how big of a tractor are we talking. I would buy a harley rake and be done with it if you have the tractor to operate it.
  3. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    The pto power will be questionable. It will be a 20hp unit, and I have heard of folks getting by with it with a harley rake, but I would like to rent one prior to spending that kind of jack.

    Any other thoughts?
  4. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I like the Harley because you can windrow rocks and some trash with it. It loosens up cement-like soil that you always find on construction sites. A Rockhound is also good but I'm not sure if it's rated for 20HP
  5. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    I believe you can run the 5 foot harley rake on a 20 pto tractor. But really you need a bigger tractor. I started with a 30hp Kubota and did new construction for 5 years with it and a box blade with rippers and a pulvirizer. I took lots of time but built a reputation and got great on the job experience. Now we use much larger equipment and do a acre yard complete with plantings in 6 hours. 4 men. it took me 3-4 days with the 30hp. Labor really ate up my margin. but you have to start somewhere. WE ALL DID!
  6. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    i wouldn't get anything else but a harley rake, one of the best pieces of machinery i have...
  7. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    It really seems like the Harley is the reigning king of soil prep in most folks minds. I have heard of many other types of power renovators, are there any other then rival the harley? How is the Landpride power rake unit?

    I have been looking at info on a non powered unit, the TR3. Can this approach the Harley? They are made not far from me, and claim to be better then the Harley, though I doubt that. They said that the Harley is not as good at leveling and or moving soil? They also said the Harley take a great degree of skill and experience, is this true? They also indicated that the Harley is more prone to break, and be costly, is this your experience durability wise?

    Thanks so much!
  8. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    800 trouble tree hours on our harley rake. Awesome tool. I actually got a chance to demo a TR# and they filmed up using it on a tractor for their demo video. I found it to be way too bulky and big. They never even compared it to a harley, just that it would keep up with a box blade and pulverizer. not having to change tools. If you have never seen a harley work in wet conditions or good conditions do not buy anything until you see it for yourself.
  9. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    I am doing the same thing this year, with one contractor sending 30 houses minimum my way, and 8 others throwing me a bone every now and then.

    I am buying a New Holland TC33DA with Supersteer and quick attach for the bucket.

    This brings me to my point of renting. New Holland will rent a spiffy new tractor off of the lot for 5% of the invoiced total for up to 6 months. That monthy rent comes right off of the top of the balance if you decide to buy. In other words, 100% of the rent is applied to the price of the tractor, so you do not throw the money to the wind.

    Lets work this another way. If you are going to the bank and they want 10 or 20% down, and will finance the rest, to include the rake, maybe a good trailer, and you need a broadcast spreader, you can simply get your money, buy trailer, rake, rent the tractor and use that as your down payment, put the rest of the money on the tractor. Your renting the tractor is your 10 or 20% of the money. Now you have to have that extra money coming in for the duration of the renting.

    Something to think about.

  10. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    a lot of tractor manufacturers are offering no money down no interest no payments for 90 days, then 8.99% for 60 months. It you can't put it to work in 90 and turn a 600-700/month payment, maybe you don't need a tractor.

    Don't count on the 30 house mininum, he may meet a guy that already stuck his neck out and needs just enough to keep his tractor paid for. He will do a few at next to nothing and then drop the contractor when work picks up. Ususally the builder won't call you back cause there are so many choices for him. He will try another guy. DON'T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS UNTIL THEY HATCH!! A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. I could fill the server with cliches/

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