In this business, there are just some things you can’t do without: soil, water and sunlight. Today, we depend on our techniques and technology as much as we do the Big Three. Aerating, seeding and dethatching are almost as important as the big yellow guy in the sky.
Allowing moisture and oxygen below the surface
First Products’ Aera-Vator allows you to easily aerate dry soil. In fact, the harder and dryer the soil, the better it works. It uses vibrating tines to stimulate thatch decomposition by shattering loosened soil.
“What we’re doing is different from the typical crankshaft-style reciprocating plugger that’s on the market,” says Carey Parrish, sales manager with First Products, in reference to his product’s vibrating tines. “You get more lateral fracture between and below the tines.”
He says 60 percent of First Products’ sold merchandise has a seeder on it. The company’s patent-pending single seed cup seeds both smaller and larger seed varieties and allows for metering accuracy with positive shut-off, reducing wasted seed. In addition, First Products’ seeders differ from traditional seeders because they loosen the soil down to at 31/2 inches deep. Whereas, Parrish says, traditional seeders saw a 1/2-inch-deep groove in the ground. He says the extra cushion the First Products’ system allows makes it much easier for the plant to grow. “You need to be able to open it up to allow moisture and oxygen to penetrate the surface compaction,” he adds.
Rotadairon Emrex sells a handful of slit seeders in America as well as a three-point hitch pneumatic seeder and a couple pedestrian models. The company also pushes a dethatcher for tractors with 20 to 35 horsepower. Rotadairon’s De-Thatcher ED 130 has a verticut with fixed knives and patent-pending instant mount knives.
“It’s useful in opening up the turf so that you can get moisture, nutrients and air down to the roots,” says Mike Yasenchak, national sales manager for Rotadairon. “You can use the machine at a shallow depth to surface slice or you can deep slice up to 2.4 inches deep and that would naturally open up the ground a little deeper.”
Hydroseeding has been around since the 1950s, but explaining that a slurry of seed and mulch is transported in a tank and sprayed has been a tough sell. But as people have become educated to the process and learned it is a viable alternative to broadcasting, they have warmed up to hydroseeding.
“Today, most people understand the hydroseeding concept,” says Mark Middendorf, vice president of sales for Finn, a company that specializes in hydroseeding. These days, Middendorf says, hydroseeding is attractive to applicators because of its simplicity, reliability and versatility.
“Hydroseeding can be applied on any slope, any grade of soil,” Middendorf says. “You would typically use a hydromulch in the slurry and it will help retain moisture, which will help the seeds germinate faster.”
He says hydroseeding saves labor costs. Two guys can hydroseed a / acre per load and finish three loads an hour. But the best payoff is a high efficacy rate.
“The more material you put on the ground, obviously the more it’s going to hold,” adds John Imm, senior product specialist for Finn. “You’re trying to create a little microenvironment for that seed to germinate and it’s just like laying a blanket on the ground, but it’s laying a blanket on the ground hydraulically using water and mulch to put the slurry down.”