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With the disappointing winter season we’ve had, I’m now trying to figure if there is something I can do to generate income with the 3500 DRW and 2 yd spreader I bought last summer. The plan is hauling topsoil for people who are putting in new lawns. I was planning to dismount the spreader and put on a dump body. However, I’m wondering if I can use the spreader. There seems to be several advantages such as a more even distribution over a given area and being able to adjust to the size of area being covered or just dumping as in an area to be filled. I’m also thinking about using it to spread grass seed for new lawns. I realize the loads would be smaller than with a dump body.

It’s just that I don’t remember this being done. Any thoughts or comments? Any problems using the spreader for topsoil?
 

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If you have ever driven across a so-called firm base with a load of topsoil, you soon realize that "firm" to your feet is not necessarily "firm" to 85 series E load tires is all I'm saying...
 

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I had a couple of friends that want me to spread fertilizer and seed for them this spring. I told them I would probably do more harm than good. But if you could put a nice fat tire on your trucks and spread seed, I would imagine it would work pretty well! This winter has gotten everyone filled with ideas!
 

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I have seen a guy run mulch loads. He has an ice-o-way with the removable apreader section. He uses the conveyor to feed loads into wheelbarrows or small piles ont he ground. Seems to work well. Mulch is a lot lighter though.
 

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Seed & fertilizer need to be correctly calibrated when spread, so that machine would be a very innappropriate way to do it. As long as ruts aren't a concern for the property owner (and if they are trying to grow a lawn, ruts are a concern), a V-box might be a viable option for spreading topsoil, compost, etc. for large, wide open areas. If you can schedule these jobs right away, the best option would be to do it in the early mornings after nights that still get well below freezing for lows. This will hopefully allow you to spread the top soil with less ruts if the ground hardens some from freezing. I'm not sure if the spreaders can be physically adapted to spread topsoil though.
 

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HEY JD,

I know up here in Michigan in our yard at the concrete plant we use sugar beet juice loaded in a water tanker equipped with sprayers and spray it on the dirt roads we have to prevent the dust problem.

Its very common (atleast in my area) that people,city, and countys all do this. However everytime it rains it washes it away little by little and it gives off a oder not a bad one but you will notice it thats for sure. Its seems it lasts us about 1 1/2 to 2 months per application but its non stop truck traffic on it all day, and I do mean non stop. we have about 60 trucks that we operate at that plant so there is that traffic plus gravel trains, fuel trucks, cement bulkers ect. ect.......

We hire a company that comes in and does this so I am unaware of the price it costs and my boss I am sure will not tell me but if I can get him to tell me I will gladly post it if anyone is interested
 

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I've seen calcium chloride spread on dirt roads to keep the dust down. It draws the humidity straight out of the air, (the same way it does when you try to store it all summer). I have no idea how long it remains effective, and it seems like it could get expensive pretty quickly. Besides, if you wanted to do that you'd need to go out and buy a spreader and who wants one of those sitting around idle all winter?
 

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I've seen quite a lot of "the wrong equipment" used successfully. But then again, I see nothing wrong with thinking outside the envelope a little. You don't know if it would work unless you try, and in the trying you will learn. Besides, the vee boxes we use for deicing are nothing more than scaled down versions of the fertilizer and lime spreaders used in agriculture.
 

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If you look at what golf courses use, they're called "topdressers", they are very similar to V box spreaders, but they are mounted on chassis that have floatation tires.

For fertilizing, I'd be concerned with inconsistancies in the spread pattern, I think some areas would go uncovered and others would get burned.

Give it a try and let us know how it works.
 

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I've often thought about spreading pelletized lime with either the vee box or the undertailgate spreader on the dump truck. The thing holding me back is the potential for turf damage. If I could get on the ground before the frost was out I could get around that, but then I'd be concerned with the lime beng washed away instead of going into the ground.

Around here we can get "pelletized lime", very finely ground limestone with a binder which has been formed into pellets which flow better than granular lime. This thread got me thinking about mixing seed and pelletized lime together and overseeding and liming in one operation. The lime would add bulk to the mix so you could get a more uniform application rate. No vee box I know of could be regulated fine enough for seeding, or probably fertilizing either. There is also a product available locally (it's nice when you have both a lime producer and a seed and fertilizer blending company in the area) which is a mix of fertilizer and lime. That is applied at 50 lbs per thousand. I think that could be applied in two passes and not create burn problems.
 

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I had also thought about the possibility of lime spreading, but wrote it off due to excessive weight. It's even heavier than fertilizer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thanks, guys. I'm not concerned about ruts although I don't want to get stuck. I know I can drive on my yard without getting stuck (did it last year). I have a yard that hasn't had anything planted on it in three years so that's what I was thinking about. Also an area that needs about 5 yds of fill to make my wife a garden patch. Then I got to expanding the idea thinking that if I can do it for myself, maybe there are others out there who would want that too. Yes, I tend to "think outside the box". Of course, sometimes that leads to learning why something "has always been" done a certain way. I was really thinking more about the mechanics of spreading the soil and grass seed. If I spread about 3" of soil then it shouldn't sink more than 3-4" and that would be enough to provide a base for the seed. It's about 120" x 30" on both sides of the house. With the spreader I have I can an just open the gate and set it to bypass the spinner. Or use the spinner for a wide dispersion.

I really need to think of some use for this stuff before the IRS calls it a hobby. :(
 

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We have sucsessfully used our spreader to spread pellitized limestone on a large park. It worked great and didnt cause as much damage as I thought it would, I would not suggest doing it with very wet conditions. I would suggest making sure that the ground is not that wet, but other than that I think spreading any loose material should be alright, as with the calibration , we know how many tons were in the spreader and the amount of square feet the areas were and we had no problem getting the correct amount, I would not try it with a fertilizer or weed killer though. Just my two cents
 
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