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Box Scraper and Rake for new Lawn

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paluvsjoshua
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 61 White Mountains - New Hampshire
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2004-06-17          88776


Considering purchasing a box scraper and landscape rake to install new lawn after the site contractor has left following his rough grade of the site. Have alot of rock mixed with clay soil rough graded and intend to have loam delivered and distributed with my FEL. Any recommendations of preparing the site to spread loam and what size implements do you recommend to use and when to use them. Thanks very much for your help!

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-06-18          88787


Since it's been raining here almost daily for a while now my first thought is to get the drainage taken care of, be sure nothing slopes toward the house without being diverted by a berm of soil to divert the natural flow past the house. Perhaps if it's real flat and a wet soil type drain tile would be in order if you have an outlet for them. Another thing comes to mind is whether you're hooked to a city sewer or if you have your own septic tank and drainage field. I've known of a couple drainage fields that would'nt work because the landscaper put too much fill on top of the system. If you do have a drainage field check with the installer as to how much fill/soil you can put over it without afecting the operation of the field. Can't think of much more now, but if you're going to roll sod call a couple overweight brother inlaws, that stuff gets heavy and sometimes kind of ornery to handle. Enjoy your new home. Frank. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-06-18          88801


Like Hardwood said, you will want to get the area cleaned-up and leveled prior to spreading the loam. You should have atleast a gentle slope away from the house. If the base is fresh be real careful about driving over your septic field and even more important is the main tile from your house to the septic. I've heard of allot of people having trouble with the soil not being packed correctly beneath this main and when it does compact, it pinches off the tube to the septic tank. Do-do comes back into your new house. That's real bad!

After you've gotten the base established with your rake, box scraper, pulverizer or whatever (either works), be hopeful of a nice rain. This will settle your grade (from working it, some areas that you worked may have more fluff than others) and may make some gulleys or mounds as it settles. You can then visually check it out from a distance and from several angles to see how it looks and make adjustments accordingly.

Depending upon how large your lawn is you may want the loam dropped in one spot or several. I use my loader to fill in and start at one corner and drop several (Half dozen or so) bucket loads about 4 feet apart or so and then back drag to level it. Once I've worked a corner out, I then try to do rows and get it pretty level to desired thickness of about 4". Since I'm not a professional, I cheat and poke sticks in the ground and wrap masking tape at the desired thicknesses. In the area prior to where I'm working. Doing it this way is like laying strips of asphalt to getting uniform thickness. I keep back dragging sections at a time to get them level and smooth. When the entire job is filled, I back drag N to S and then E to W and then at diagonals. That way all the gulleys get backdragged level. At the end only a slight tilt is necessary on the bucket so you are not pushing much dirt and that it doesn't flow much over the side edges of the bucket making large ridges. I then go over it with a lawn tractor pulling an upside down wooden skid (like 36" x 42") hooked to the tractor by a chain anchored at each front corner with enough chain slack, so it is about 2 to 3 feet behind the hitching point. The hitching point should bring the skid up at the front just slightly. I throw some blocks at the rear. This gives me a finish level and breaks up some of the clumps. Very little hand raking is then necessary. I usually broadcast my seed and then go over it again with the skid to work it in. Then pray for light rain frequently for the next week or so. I generally broadcast 12-12-12 fertilizer and work that in as well. Hydro seeding is better but you either need to rent equipment or have it done.

Don't work the ground when it is wet otherwise you will get big soil clumps that look like rocks and breakup like cement. You need good conditions. If you wait too long and get in a summer dryspell you can't retain enough moisture for seed germination. Hydro seeding is definitely better when planting in dry weather conditions, since the chipped paper or whatever helps to retain the moisture. Manual sprinkling may also be a must. I broadcast my grass seed allot thicker than specified to get a real full lawn. Keep the lawn growing with moisture and cut it "long" when it becomes necessary. There may be a number of methods to get the same final results. I've given you my method which seems to work for me.

Lots of luck with your project!! ....

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snmhanson
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 27 White Salmon, WA
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2004-06-18          88839


I'm just a little farther along than you in the same type of project. I am getting ready to plant 20,000 sf of grass in very rocky soil and have worked it over pretty well. I only need to install the sprinkler system and then do the final grade before hydro-seeding.

First off, I highly recommend getting a box blade and landscape rake. My boxblade was invaluable for spreading soil and rough grading and there are many other uses I will have for it in the future as well. My landscape rake took some getting used to but also turned out to be a nice thing to have. The first time I used it the soil was pretty loose and I thought I had wasted my money on it since it seemed to collect as much dirt as rocks. When the soil compacted after a few rains however, I was able to collect the last remaining surface rocks and leave a very nicely contoured finish with the rake. It was level enough to be planted right then but I needed to till in some amendments to the soil first which leads me to my next to recommendations.

First, make sure there is some moisture in the ground before working it. When I tilled yesterday the ground was very dry and I was left with a fluffy mess of dirt. Now I need to run a sprinkler to get some moisture in it so I can grade it again and get it somewhat compacted. Second, I recommend getting a soil test of both the new and old soil. After investing as much as you will in your yard you don't want to discover that your soil is out of balance and can't support a nice lawn. Some deficiencies can easily be treated after planting grass but some cannot. In my case I had to add phosphrous to the soil which I was told is almost impossible to increase the phosphorous level of the soil without tilling it in before planting.

Other than that I don't know what else to tell you. It is pretty remarkable what you can do with the box blade/FEL combo. Add the landscape rake to that and I think you've got everything you would need to get that lawn planted. A harrow or skid or chain link fence section might be nice to get a good final grade as well but not necessary in my opinion with the landscape reake. Just remember to make multiple passes in different directions and try to get it as level as possible. You may want to run a sprinkler if it doesn't rain much to both help compact the soil and also to show where the water puddles up and you need to level more. Hope this helps a little.

Matt ....

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paluvsjoshua
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 61 White Mountains - New Hampshire
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2004-06-18          88851


Thanks Matt that info was very helpful. I have about 1.5 acres around the new house recently constructed that has been rough graded. It has a large fairly level area where the septic and leach field is but I am concerned about driving the tractor over the septic due to its weight. I have multiple slopes to deal with where the hay fields and new rough grades meet which will be challenging, so I'm not sure if I can make multiple passes at various angles. Will be looking for smooth transitions with the slopes rather than a flat level surface. A tracter dealer suggested that since the rough grade material (fill) that was relocated from one part of the property to the other to create a larger back yard and install the septic system is newly turned soil (clay/topsoil mix), that I should just use a Frontier 72" rake with a flip down blade and guage wheels to do the complete job thus saving the expense of the box scaper. Their are still alot of rocks of various sizes up to 6 to 8 inch round lying in the area so I'm still leaning towards the box scraper. I plan on depositing and spreading most of the loam with the FEL but have some serious new slope around the edge of the septic leach field where it was built up due to the contour of the property in general, that I don't intend to use the tractor on. Great tip about using water to help grade the topsoil. ....

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paluvsjoshua
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 61 White Mountains - New Hampshire
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-06-18          88853


Also thanks pete and wood for your help, I really appreciate it.... ....

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-06-18          88854


before you do anything check out www dot tr3rake dot com. I install 3 - 5 lawns per week using a tr3 rake & it works faster & better then any other implemt(s) I've tried. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Box Scraper and Rake for new Lawn

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Jim on Timberridge
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 172 La Crosse WI
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2004-06-28          89553


grasgod:
I am intriqued by your mention of the TR3Rake. I went to their website, and the image is of an implement with several scarifiers like what's found on box blades, plus a row of hard teeth like what's found on a drag/harrow. And it has drop-down wheels for transporting.
So, tell me about how it works.
I have 6-8 acre field that I recovered from an old runoff terrain with gulleys and washouts. It needs patching in the spring and fall to fill in spots that settle or erode. I move in dirt from the adjacent hillsides, then try to smooth and prep for grass planting. But nothing works the way I want it to.
Tried a pulverizer, moldboard plow, 2 row cultivator, rigid drags, landscape rake, and flex harrow. All with mixed results. Biggest problem is that the soil is heavy clay or loam, and tends to compact if it's driven over into impermeable/dense hardpack that won't allow seed to take.
I recently stumbled on a "rotary harrow" that looks to have potential, and have been thinking of trading in my rake.
Cost is $600-800. 6ft diameter. Have you any experience with this type of implement ???
What does the TR3 Rake cost? Does it come in different widths?
thanks
jim ....

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thepipe
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 23 New Jersey
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2004-07-04          90027


I was also intrigued by the rake so I called for the video. I knew I was in trouble when they sent a kit with everything you could possibly want to know about it...except the price. I called and was quoted (grab wallet an HOLD ON) $3700.00!!!!!!!
Although it's a nice tool, it is basically 1100 lbs. of steel. Ho hydraulics. No moving parts. No high-tolerance machining. Just a company that has a unique product and knows it. ....

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-07-05          90135


Jim - never used a rotary harrow sorry for the lack of knowledge there. My tr3 rake is a 5' footer. Yes it's heavy but its in the high 900 lbs range. The scarifier's on it are razer sharp & heavy duty. I have loosened some of the hardest clay soil up in no time. There are mowing parts - Pipe. there are these leveling bars that move up & down to allow the grader blade to scrape the high spots & fill in the low spots. I have a rule of thumb I have always used when purchasing anything....You get what you pay for!! That goes for everything. You hire a cheap contractor to do work for you & you get cheap work. When I saw the price tag on it when I first researched it, I new it had to do everything they said it would, & it did! It has saved me major time installing new lawns & I install almost 75 Lawns a year. Most of which have poor soil provided by the builder (GC)which is usually clay. It also pulls up the vegitaion well that has grown while they build the houses. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-07-06          90187


OK, guys, pleeeease, this talk about the weight of a TR# rake is making me nuts (more nuts?).

I have asked the company directly, they will only tell me 'shipping weight' which is what goes on the bill of lading and what shipping is charged by, it is not necessarily accurate or even correct.

The picture on their website clearly shows the construction of this implement. On a 5-footer there would be (roughly); two 5' pieces of 3" angle, and three < 3' pieces of 3" angle, 10 scarifier teeth, a 5' scarifier bar across the rear, an axle, two tires and a 3pth tower.

DO THE MATH.

3" x 1/4 wall structural angle is about 6 pounds per foot, there is maybe 20' so there is 120 pounds of angle iron. Scarifier teeth are about 5 pounds each, and the scarifier bar (stock stuff for a motor grader BTW, readily available anywhere) is also about 5 pounds per foot, so all the scarifiers are another 75 pounds.

So far we're up to about 200 pounds, that leaves 700 to 900 pounds unaccounted for.

I doubt the tires, hitch and assorted bits and pieces are anything more than 200 pounds being VERY generous. Even at that it's still at LEAST half of what they claim.

At $3700 you could hire a first class engineering/fabricating company to make one and have enough left to take a REALLY nice vacation.

Enough ranting, my apologies to any that read this far, exagerated sales pitches and stupid claims make me crazier than normal.

Best of luck. ....

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-07-06          90210


Murf - I hope your not speaking to me about the sales pitches. I make no comissions ; P . Just giving my thoughts on the situation. By the way murf - My old 790 couldnt lift the TR3 all the way up. How do you explain that?? I value your opinion, but on the wieght of the tr3, I believe your are way off! ....

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-07-06          90211


I just spoke to some friends down at the local transfer station. When I have the time, which could be a while, I am going to put the tr3 on the scale. I will mail you Murf, a copy of the computer printed weight sheet. ....

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jamesrm1
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 29 Central New Jersey
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2004-07-06          90214


This is really gettin good!! ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-07-06          90215


I was not trying to infer you were receiving any remuneration for your efforts, I apologize if you took it that way.

I honestly believe you are just happy with the product, you state as much, and are passing along the information you got from the COMPANY, who ARE trying to make a profit, a BIG profit.

As for the lift capacity of any machine, not just your ole' 790, it is and can be affected by MANY things. Some manufacturers spec. lift AT the lift point, some 24" behind, that alone is big difference. If an implement is 4' long, like a bush-hog, the practical lifted weight is affected by leverage.

There are many places on the web where you can look up the weight per foot of steel, you don't have to take my word for it. Science is one set of laws you can't break, no matter how hard you try.

A scanned copy will be fine, save the stamp.

Best of luck. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Box Scraper and Rake for new Lawn

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-07-06          90234


unfortunaly my scanner when to that same transfer station about a week ago after a several thunderstorm, so it will be some time before I replace it, Probably about the same time I bring that TR3 down to the transfer station to get wieghed. I take no affence from you murf. I know your a good guy, However, This is a debate between friends. I have a 5' brush hog & my ole' deere lift's her up with out any trouble at all. Now the Tr3 on the other hand was a major struggle for that deere. ....

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beagle
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1333 Michigan
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2004-07-06          90236


Hey Murf, 3x3x1/4 angle weighs 4.9 lbs./ft (US), I guess that could that be about 6 lbs./ft (CAN):).

1" x 5" bar stock weighs in at 5 lbs./ft. Not sure the scarifiers are quite that beefy. Could weigh 5 lbs. with the cutting edge.

There could be a couple more lbs in there not accounted for. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-07-07          90262


I was merely being overly generous to illustrate the point.

I have used a TR3, we had a demo a few years back. I know what a 1,000 pound implement feels like on our machines, the Rhino box blades we use are that much. The TR3 we tested didn't weigh anything near that much, the salesman was unable to tell us what it weighed because it's not (or at least was not) printed in any of their literature. I also know what it would cost to have one of them fabricated by a first-class company, as a 'one off' unit, certainly far less than their 'production' cost.

The salesman that came to visit us openly admitted that they are priced high 'because they can, they're competing with MUCH more expensive equipment like powered rakes'.

Besides, in head-to-head competition they lost, hands down, against several other methods, all cheaper.

Believe me, if there was a cheaper way to prepare seedbeds for turf I would use it. On a running average we do about 1,800 acres of new turf a year, a few percentage points of savings would be a BIG deal.

Best of luck. ....

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2004-07-08          90323


Murf - I know they reconstructed it 2 years ago. Maybe that makes a difference? ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2004-07-11          90551


This one is sold by northern tool.

It looks to be the same basic thing, maybe add some small wheels, as the TR3. Just like the TR3 also grossly overpriced for what you get. ....


Link:   4-in-1 tiller rake

 
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phillipsjb1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1 Poquoson, VA., USA
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2004-10-25          99231


I just received a TR3 that I am trying out and it does have some weight. It lifted the back tires off of my Kubota L3010 tractor when unloading it from the 18-wheeler.

It must weight over 600 pounds.

Just my .2 cents...........

Jim ....

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