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Tillers, flower beds, and more questions

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Cathman, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Cathman

    Cathman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Ok, looking to buy a tiller. I have had several request to redo flower beds which have existing stuff in them. Well i can get the crap out no problem. But the soil i have found around here has been terrible for new plantings (compared to what i use when built from scratch) and i would like to be able to till this stuff up and mix in some ammendments to make it a nice rich soil.

    What do you guys use to do something like this? Tiller is my obvious thought. With that in mind, has anyone use the little ones like the mantis type or the stihl yard boss (or whatever its called). I am wondering if these are heavy duty enough to till 4-5" up and then mix in the ammendments. How are they with roots from existing stuff? Would i be better off laying down the cash for a big azz one and if so, any recommendations.

    Thanks for any and all info.

  2. Bigred350

    Bigred350 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 803

    We have a 8 hp troy built. Use it on all our bed redos new or old. We use it almost everyday they usually last about 3 years. We are pretty rough on it and the ground is like concrete here.

    But a tiller is a must for any landscaper.
  3. grntmbfisher

    grntmbfisher LawnSite Member
    from NH
    Messages: 61

    I tried the mantis before and that worked great for smaller areas but most people I know that own them have had them die after a couple years with minimal use. Stihl's tiller looks well built but I have a 110 R trimmer, so I decided to buy the gearbox attachment for it. For one, I saved about $100 or so and with it mounted on the trimmer I feel it gives you more leverage to work tuffer soil. The trimmer has more than enough power for the attachment, I used it this past weekend to till organics into compacted, rocky soil.

    If you were doing more bigger projects you'd probably wan't a rear tine tiller though.
  4. Cathman

    Cathman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Well, thats kinda where i am at. I am solo and take on smaller jobs right now so i do not have the big tools to do major makeovers. Looking for something that will do the job on smaller flower beds as far as adding new ammendments, etc. Keep the experiences and suggestions coming.

  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    My favorite is an old Gilson/Montgomery Ward front tine tiller. They don't make them like that anymore.

    Try to find an old front tine in the newspaper. Might be cheaper yet, but ya, the Stihl with the tiller head works great.
  6. huskres

    huskres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    I picked up a stihl yardboss at auction for 100 bucks, pain in the ass to start. Im to lazy to take apart the carb though.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You should have both a mantis and a descent rear-tine tiller. The handy size for me digs a 20" swath 6-8 inches deep. If you've ever used a cheap tiller then you know why a rear-tine is the only way to go.
    The mantis generally last a long time. One of my clients actually turned me on to them. They have one that's over 25yrs old and one that must be at least 20. My current one is about 5 although I did get one in the 90s that puked out on me in a year or 2. It lost speed and no one could get it revved up again.
  8. grntmbfisher

    grntmbfisher LawnSite Member
    from NH
    Messages: 61

    If you are to get a bigger tiller definately go with a rear tine they are much easier to operate as the wheels are on solid ground and digging behind the machine.

    Some people I know have had a mantis last them a long time but I've known a few that have had them anywhere between 1-3 years using them once or twice a year and they died.

    My Stihl is practically new but I'm sure it will last me a long time, they make great equipment.

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