Looking to rent a Harley Rake to smooth out my lumpy and bumpy 3 acre weed field. I've not used one before, so I am not sure what to expect.
The area has developed quite a few ruts from it's service as a lumber landing and also by some of the equipment used to build my home.
My motivation is to get it "Smooth" enough so that I can maintain it with my Exmark mower. Right now, it's way too bumpy. At first I thought I might have to till the area and then smooth it out with a rake attachment.
Someone suggested a Harley Rake instead. I have the choice of renting a kubota L-3010 with that attachment or a Bobcat with a similar attachment.
I presume that I'll have to brushhog the area at first. Anyone have experience with this type of implement and what should be realistic expectations be for this attachment?
Re: Harley Rake
If the area is sod, then I would plow it first.
I had a neighbor's contractor and the concrete truck drivers cross onto my lawn (they drive on whatever they want and beg for forgiveness or act stupid later) and they left deep ruts. I mowed across them for a year, then rented a Harley rake. It took several passes to work into the sod below the ruts, and get the area smooth. I thought the Harley Rake did a great job. But, I would not want to try to smooth out three acres using this method. The grass, however, came back quickly and looks good after a year.
If the area is not sod yet, then the Harley rake should work good. Rent the biggest one, be it on the 3pt or on the Bobcat. Both should work good.
Re: Harley Rake
I have done similar renavations like the one you are going to attempt.What seems to work very well is to kill the whole area first w/a weed killer (roundup or a similar product),then go in w/a tiller (if you are renting a 3 point hitch harley see if you could rent the tiller @ the same time) and just till the first couple of inches,this will just chew the sod/field grass up and will still leave a solid base to work off of,run the tiller every which way so it just leaves tiny,tiny pieces of material behind.Now you are ready to be amazed by the Harley rake,w/a three point model it wind rows best to the side w/out the gearbox so try to set up your raking pattern to favor that side,also you will probably have a good amount of overburden(little chunks of sod and rocks) from raking so hope you have a low spot to fill [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img] You will probably need to rake the area a few times,the first being the slowest because of the amont of material you will be moving,you'll find after a couple of passes you'll have to move/push the wind row w/the loader bucket,the second set of passes try to cross over your previous passes at a different angle,by crossing like this it helps to fill low spots and cut high ones.I know this may sound a bit overwhelming but it really isn't,it normally takes me a day to prepare a little more than an acre for lawn installation depending on the soil conditions and if the overburden has to removed or bucketed to a spot on site,so you should plan on having the equipment for at least 3 days(not the tiller of course)Once you get the hang of runnin' the rake you'll be amazed at what you can do with it,sorry to be soooo long winded but you asked,if you have any other questions fire away!
Re: Harley Rake
Thanks for the great explanation!
Does sound like a bit more work than I anticipated. I'm assuming that the Harley Rake really needs some help to get started (i.e. tilling a little bit of the surface first). The guy at the rental place seemed to indicate that the power rake attachment for the Bobcat could be used right on the "weed" sod without tiller prep. Not sure about this, but I suppose it could be a monster rake?
Renting the kubota might be a better deal, because I'll have the loader to remove the overburden etc. I do have a couple of really low areas that could use some fill as well.
This year I'm mostly interested in smoothing the 3 acre area to a point where I can speedily mow down the weeds. I'll concern myself with creating a masterpiece of a lawn for another time. However, I do have areas around the house that I would like to put some grass in.
Which leads to another question. If I have clay, how much topsoil is required (in inches) to create a good seedbed for a lawn?
Re: Harley Rake
I threw sooo much info at you at once I didn't want to cloud the issue w/the skid steer factor,but I have been using a skid steer w/a rake the last couple of weeks(I am waiting for my new tractor to come in so I have been borrowing a friends skid steer) and I thought I would hate it but it is just the opposite,the thing woks great,I think mainly because you can run the rake forwards or backwards and can change the direction of rotation because it is driven hydraulically.I just tore up some sod w/it today and i have to say you could get away w/using a skid steer mounted rake,it worked much better than I thought it would,the biggest bummer was having to switch from rake to bucket and back again several times.I would suggest that if you use the ss,it would save time if you were able to have another machine there w/a loader.
If you want a good looking lawn I would suggest at least 3 to 6" of good top soil,as far as I'm concerned the more the merrier,but 3-6" will do just fine.