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 02-01-2003, 01:05 Post: 48499
drichards



Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Elizabeth City, NC
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 Doing it right and fast

I am in the landscaping business full time and make a living with my tractor and implements. I started part time four years ago with a shovel, rake, etc, and have just last year obtained enough equipment to keep my back from hurting so much. This past fall, Mr. El Nino came to town and visited me at the time I went at this full time. He has yet to leave.

I have plenty of new construction lots and other work to do but nothing is dry enough to work. The problem for me is that once it dries out, everyone will want the work done at once. I have a method of final grading a lot that is quality but is slow. I do not want to trade quality for quantity because I believe everything you do reflects back on me, and sooner or later my business. However, contractors have their own issues and do not want to listen to mine when they are already 30-60 days past closing date. If I do not make them happy I have less business.

I am looking for any information, advise, grading methods, implements, signs from the grading gods, anything that will cut my work time down and increase the amount of work I can physically do in a day.

Equipment: JD 970 4wd, FEL, box, blade, rake, tiller, and chisel plow.
Soil: Mostly clay, sometimes concrete clay So Sad, and ever so often a little sand. No rocks.
Method of work: Rake lot clear of all topside debris. Chisel plow lot if there is even remote chance of under ground stumps or large roots. Till broken up soil to workable substance. Use box to level and distribute soil (the most time consuming). Use box and FEL to complete final grade. Plant with seed with an Earthway hand pushed seed spreader.

Any idea is appreciated.

Many thanks.






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 02-01-2003, 06:16 Post: 48502
TomG

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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Upper Ottawa Valley
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Posts: 5406
 Doing it right and fast

A rollover box might be a time saver for your work, and also a hydraulic top-link if you don't already have one.

A rollover box allows the same pass to be done forward and reverse so it saves turn-around time--especially when working narrow drives. If the 3ph side-leveler is being used to cut side-grades it also saves having to re-adjust the 3ph each turnaround.






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 02-01-2003, 09:31 Post: 48510
Peters

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 Doing it right and fast

I would recommend investing in a HST model tractor. I found I could level as fast as a small dozer as I can reverse more quickly and do a couple of turns while the dozer does one. I recently sold my JD 955 to a landscaper in LA for this reason and the light weight of the tractor and loader. Having had both manual and HST I would recommend a HST for this type of work.

I would also recommend a power spreader for the tractor. I spread behind the tractor and then drag it. I use a flex harrow flipped but a rail or board would do.






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 02-02-2003, 08:29 Post: 48539
Mike2000
2003-02-02 00:00:00
Post: 48539
 Doing it right and fast

I used to own a Landpride 7' rake with gauge wheels and flip down grader blade. I also had their 60" scarifier (adjustable depth teeth) installed in front of the rake (as it is made to do). This setup will rip the toughest soil (gravel drives also), take out most rocks/debris. It generally is a great one setup landscaping operation. The only added thing that would have made it perfect would have been hydraulic angling for the rake. Save for the box blade you have, get could get rid of everything else and barely get off the tractor. The only other thing I can think of would be a specialized rock/debris bucket for the front that can sift out soil while getting the debris. I've seen one on ebay and Northern Tools sells them. Although they are made for skid steers I'm sure you could adapt or make one. Other rock pickers are also available. The constant strain on your back will take its toll eventually. If you want to find the easiest way to do a job just watch a lazy man do it.






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 02-02-2003, 15:29 Post: 48551
marklugo



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 Doing it right and fast

These are fine suggestions. However, the most bang for the buck would be to invest in a Pulverizer. It will do the job of a box blade and a rake and also allow you to go right behind and plant. Also throw that push planter away. If you want to seed, a tractor mounted fertilizer spreader is much more accurate and much quicker. A shoulder mounted Cyclone seeder(available at local garden shops and hardware stores) will take care of the corners and little nooks. You could plant an acre of grass seed in 5 minutes. If necessary( depending on type of seed,) use a little play sand mixed into the hopper on the finest of seed. It is not necesssary to cover grass seed to get excellent results! A fine layer of mulch hay or cellulose will keep moisture, soil and nutrients in place. This is standard practice. The alternative is to purchase an inexpensive Hydro-Seeder and do it all in one step.






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 02-04-2003, 16:55 Post: 48687
JackHerr



Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: SE PA
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 Doing it right and fast

Landscapers in SE PA usually complete new lawns seeding in these steps:
1 - Rough grade. A good excavating contractor eliminates this step! Mark is correct that the pulverizer gives you a lot of bang-for-the-buck. However, it doesn't do anything with stones or really hard soil.
2 - Fine grade & remove rocks. A machine called the Preseeder landscaping tiller by ATI Corporation is used virtually exclusively. In one operation it tills, levels, and rakes the seedbed. Nothing compares to the finish that it leaves behind. Best of all, you stay on the tractor since very little hand raking is needed. Many landscapers no longer use a pulverizer to rough grade because the Preseeder is so aggressive. I have used a Preseeder many hours and would buy it over a pulverizer. My local dealer has several in stock. See the link below.
3 - Seed. A Brillion seeder will give you the best stand of grass for the least amount of money. Look around, there are many that are for sale on the used market.
I hope that these opinions are helpful.






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 04-05-2003, 20:00 Post: 52638
Pacesetter



Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Maine
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Posts: 178
 Doing it right and fast

Check out a TR3. They will send a video for you to check out. It is 1/2 the price of a Harley rake and seems to do more. I was looking at one, but can't justify the price for my limited use.
Pacesetter






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 04-08-2003, 20:14 Post: 52799
bushogbob



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 Doing it right and fast

I have the tractor, but not much in the way of landscape equipment. I would like to try seeding new lawns on residental construction, new sites mostly 1/2 to 1 acre. What is the going rate for this? Rough grade is done, no stumps/wood and all flat land in Ohio






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 04-08-2003, 20:43 Post: 52801
drichards



Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Elizabeth City, NC
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 Doing it right and fast

This is a tuff question to answer without knowing more about the condition of the lots that you are going to be seeding. Where I am from, the profit does not come from the actual seeding of the lots. The money is made from forming the lots into something. When I go into a new construction lot they are usually messed up from all the construction traffic and need to be shaped so that water runs away from the house and does not stand anywhere on the lot. The seeding I do is with a quick germinating rye grass that comes in quick to hold the dirt that I have moved and shaped. This grass will burn out in our harsh summers but does well in the fall, winter and spring. However, it is understood around here what the purpose of this seed is for.

Around here it is a different business to establish the lawn. This is something that someone comes in and does after I have prepared the seed bed for them. I usually get between 500 and 2000 to convert a piece of land into something that will stand, without water, on its own. It just depends on how much bulldozer work has to be done to shape it.

If you are looking at just doing the seeding, you need to make sure that you know all about soil conditions and types and how to amend them if necessary to make grass grow green and full. But, like I said before, this is a specialty all within its self if you are doing it commercially






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 04-09-2003, 08:14 Post: 52832
Murf

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 Doing it right and fast

From experience, and lots of it, building and maintaining golf courses, where speed AND quality are mandatory, sell the bow blade, skip the pulverizer, and get a grade maker with hydraulic top link.

The best way I could explain the difference betwwen using a box blade and a grade maker would be to say that you COULD cut your lawn with scissors, BUT ...... got the picture now.

Best of luck.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Survey Forum

Thread 48499 Filter by Poster:
Art White 1 | bushogbob 2 | drichards 2 | itsgottobegreen 1 | JackHerr 1 | marklugo 1 | Mike2000 1 | Murf 1 | Pacesetter 1 | Peters 1 | TomG 1 |

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