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New direction?


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  #1  
Old 08-29-2009, 11:03 PM
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Default New direction?

It's been a very interesting week. Today was the most expensive! One of my local competitors went out of business and had an auction for his equipment. I bought a Troy Built 3" Chipper and shredder for $300.00 (Lowe's lists it for about $800.00), an Echo string trimmer for $95.00, and an assortment of attachments for the Echo trimmer (pole saw, edger, and tiller for $125.00) Plus a tow behind drop spreader for $120.00.

Ron, the owner, wanted to know if I would need his help as a sub contractor. Mowing is all he is interested in for evenings and weekends (he got a grant to go back to school to become an accountant).

On Monday, I put an article on lawn top dressing on my blog. I only received 1 response on my blog, but I received 51 emails from interested people in my area (my blog is posted on the Hartsville web site). It seems that nobody offers top dressing service here. I spent most of the rest of the week researching top dressing and learned that the two main organic material components can be classified ad "Green" mulch and "Brown mulch. Green is high in nitrogen and brown is high in carbon.

I also received 29 requests for leaf removal this fall. Leaves are considered "Brown" organic material. Because the soil here in South Carolina has such low carbon content, I feel this is an untapped market. I want to offer a high carbon organic material as a top dressing for lawns next spring giving me 6 months to market it. I have a reliable manure supplier already set up and have worked out a method to mix the various ingredients for a good top dressing.

Here is my delema! I can mix and enhance the top dressing material during the next 6 months to get an adequate supply, but how do I store it? Do I have to bag it to keep moisture out? can I make a compost pile and leave it exposed to the environment? Should I make a compost pile and cover it with a tarp?

I want to concentrate on building soil, humus and organic lawn care services and products.

Any suggestions or experience will be appreciated.

Steve
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2009, 11:25 PM
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Wow, that's a great question and I have no idea the answer. But I would be interested to know too. Sounds like your on to something.

On a side note, how did you hook up with your town website? I would be interested in doing something like that too. What was the approach?
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:35 AM
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Default Local website blog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little's View Post
Wow, that's a great question and I have no idea the answer. But I would be interested to know too. Sounds like your on to something.

On a side note, how did you hook up with your town website? I would be interested in doing something like that too. What was the approach?
Someone on the city council read my blog and called me for permission to add it to their website. I thought about it for a mili-econd and said sure! They contacted me.

I do however spend a lot of time on my posts and get my wife to put in her 2 cents before posting them. Her input is invaluable. Just as much as her questions as her input. I have had more insperation from her questions. 37 years nest month!

Steve
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:59 PM
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Steve,

We haven't discussed top dressing on the forum much at all. Can you tell us the basics of what it is, how you do it and how it is helpful?
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2009, 08:30 PM
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Default Top Dressing

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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Steve,

We haven't discussed top dressing on the forum much at all. Can you tell us the basics of what it is, how you do it and how it is helpful?
This is my draft marketing page. Work in progress.
This pretty much explains it.
100% Bio-enhanced, organic, soil building, top dressing.

improves soil structure, health, fertility, aeration, compaction, thatch build-up, and weed growth
reduces water usage by maintaining soil moisture
reduces rainwater runoff
lessens soil temperature fluctuations
reduces maintenance
eliminates the need for expensive, messy, unproductive mechanical dethatching and aeration
inhibits many plant diseases
builds humus
increases brix values deterring lawn insects
makes the lawns more attractive

Component

Material

Action

Brown Organic Material
Mulched dry leaves, twigs, dried vegetation
High in carbon
Low in nitrogen
Trace elements
Micro-nutrients
Builds humus
Brown organic material decomposes into organic matter at a rate of about 5:1 (5 pounds organic material = 1 pound organic matter)
Green Organic Material
Mulched grass clippings, kitchen scraps,
High in nitrogen
Low in carbon
Trace elements
Micro-nutrients
Green organic material decomposes into organic matter at a rate of about 10:1 (10 pounds organic material = 1 pound organic matter)
Composted
manure
Composted
manure
Adds bulk
Adds uniformity
Adds micro-macro nutrients
Adds trace elements
Sustains , Micro-organisms
Sharp sand
Sharp sand
Adds uniformity
Aerify
Bio-enhanced liquid aerifying agent
Aerates lawn to a depth of 10" plus. Reduces irrigation needs. Allows air exchange. Breaks up clay soil. Relieves soil compaction.
Liquid dethatcher
Bio-enhanced dethatching agent
Supplies soil with the beneficial bacteria and enzymes needed to convert organic material in to organic matter building soil fertility and increasing humus production
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:36 PM
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What kind of equipment are you using to do the top dressing? Are you using the tow behind spreader? How thick should it be?

Also how often through out the year should this be done?
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2009, 08:51 PM
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Default Equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
What kind of equipment are you using to do the top dressing? Are you using the tow behind spreader? How thick should it be?

Also how often through out the year should this be done?
I have a tow behind drop spreader (not broadcast spreader) but I probably will dump and rake in. This will fill in low spots and be more uniform. After spreading I will apply Aerify, Mature's Magic, and the biological dethatcher with a tow behind sprayer.

What I posted was my first draft. There will probably be many changes and additions before I'm satisfied with it. I'm not planning to start until spring. Have too many things to work out, refine, develope into a process. Storing the top dressing is my main problen point.


Steve
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:53 PM
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Very interesting stuff!

Is the top dressing service something you can do all year round or are there some seasons that are better times than others?
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:01 PM
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Default Seasons

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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Very interesting stuff!

Is the top dressing service something you can do all year round or are there some seasons that are better times than others?
From the research I have done so far, spring is the best time for warm climates and Fall is the best time for cold climates. I have seen recomendations for frequencys of once every year to once every 5 years.

The major drawback (from my research) is cost. I am trying to overcome that by combining aerating, dethatching, insect control, fertility, irrigation savings, soil building, etc. in an Organic All-In-One process.

Steve
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
The major drawback (from my research) is cost.
Do you mean that it costs a lot to perform this service and the customers may not be willing to do that?

What makes it a costly service?
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