Recommendations for a tiller?

ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
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central ct
After getting some quotes on redoing my lawn it looks like I'm going to bite the bullet and do it myself. From what everyone has told me the right tool for the job is a tiller. I was told to also pick up a chain harrow to smooth things out.
Is a reverse direction tiller the best choice? My lawn is pretty packed down.
Is a chain drive preferable?
Does the width matter other than there will be more passes or should it cover my wheel width?
This is another issue where I don't know the questions to ask :(
 

Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
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Just to make it all more complex, you might want to consider a Power Harrow. It is supposed to do it all in one pass for a price not much higher than a tiller plus chain harrow.
 
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johnjk

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B3200 w/loader, Woods RC5 brush hog, 4' box blade, tooth bar, B1700 MMM,
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From what I’ve seen, rotational direction is personal preference. I would also go as wide or wider than your rear wheels so you do not tracking the fresh till. I can’t answer the chain drive question for you. As far as the chain harrow goes, I’ve used a section of chain link fence with a couple RR ties attached to smooth the surface out when we did my brother in law’s lawn. Also used a disc harrow to break up the soil because that is what he had. More passes than a tiller but you are moving a lot faster each pass
 
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forky

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L2501 HST 4X4 8N
Feb 23, 2021
86
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Wisconsin
I have the Land Pride RTA1258 tiller that I purchased new with my tractor. I love this piece of equipment. It covers my tracks with R1's set at the widest setting. I tilled a new 1/2 acre garden in heavy soil and by the 3'rd time over it was ready for planting....pricey, but worth every penny....easily goes on and off with the QH. Just go slow for best results.
 
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Fordtech86

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I have a CountyLine (tarter) 5 ft for my 3200. You can flip the gear box and the tines for forward or reverse rotation (comes set up for forward, I swapped mine to reverse. Down side is it does throw a bunch of dirt up on the back of the tractor. Its also a gear drive unit, I don’t know much about them but I would think chain drive would require more maintenance. Been pleased with it for my limited uses.
 
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B737

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I will second the RTA1258 (for B2601), L could prob turn even larger one... It does a great finish. I wanted gear drive, reverse rotation and I researched and talked to other operators and it changed my mind to buy forward rotation chain drive.

Chain drive may not be as robust, but it's still very strong, and supposedly easier to repair than gear drive. Reverse rotation may give you a better till but is less forgiving on objects found, and I always seem to find stuff. I did a friends garden that was compacted like concrete and full of potato+ sized rocks, the tiller just kept on tilling. It will jump/hop over large roots instead of digging into them (usually). It does an awesome job.
 
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forky

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L2501 HST 4X4 8N
Feb 23, 2021
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I've used reverse rotation in the past and garden more than most folks do. I didn't like it's results as well as forward rotation.... to each their own, I guess that's why they sell both.
Warranty? It is super important....Land Pride is 3 year gear box, and 10 year sprockets and roller chain.
I went through the agri-supply user manual and didn't see any?
Mine was $300 more, but repairs would be costly.
 
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BigG

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l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
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If it is a one and done I would look at renting a tiller for the weekend. It is a lot of money for a one time project.

Forward rotating will "climb" over a rock or root. A reverse rotation will get stuck. The size does not matter as long as you can offset it to one side and cover the one wheel's track. This will allow you to till and not leave tracks. Chain or gear will not matter for most people.

If you buy one store it indoors so you can get your money back when you sell it. It seams a lot of them look trashed from neglect.
 
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DaveFromMi

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L3901, 5' Bush Hog
Apr 14, 2021
48
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Indiana
Prior to me buying the Kubota, we had about 120 tons of topsoil spread to finish up against the new house foundation. The contractor used a Harley Rake across the entire yard and seeded/strawed. The topsoil was in short supply (COVID); the only thing they could get was a lot of clay soil. Not much grass after that, the soil was hard, difficult for grass to grow.
I bought some Solfcal Pellets (gypsum) and spread that out last winter. It worked at softening the soil and the grass is much improved this year.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
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hmm.... redoing my lawn
details like how big is 'my lawn' ? , how old (compacted ) is 'my lawn'
If I assume your're using the L3800HSt, it's about 38 HP and hydro ??
Similar HP to my D-14 and I can run a 5' wide tiller. HST is great so you can 'dial in' a slow ground speed, yet till the soil finely. If you've got 'hardpan' you'll have to so real slow ! Wife's veggie patch...2nd, high,easy. neighbour's field, 1st, low,painful (notilled field)
Chewing up any lawn with a tiller is HARD on the tiller,especially of old( well compacted...)
Ideally you'd kill off the grass, then subsoil,plow,disc,harrow,TILL,roll then reseed...
Yes a lot of steps and operations, usually 2-3 days apart, but that way you get a 'golfgreen' lawn.
When you get to the disc operation, you'll see whether you need to add compost or top soil.
 
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Nicfin36

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L2501 HST, BH77 Backhoe, QA Loader
Jun 19, 2019
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A 5 foot tiller will cover your tracks and will not be too much for it. I bought a 5 foot King Kutter brand from Rural King, forward rotation model. I can run it fine, but I have to go slow on hard new ground. Your L3800 has quite a bit more PTO hp than the L2501, like 10 hp more.
 
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ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
487
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central ct
Thanks to all for the advice. To expand a little on my original post. The ground is very hard, hasn't been touched in 30 years.
I do have a rough plan in mind after doing a lot of reading here and on the web in general. I'm first going to kill everything with roundup. A couple of days later the box blade will rip everything & loosen the soil quite a bit. Since I'm in no particular hurry (and old) I'll probably bring in topsoil and spread it the following day. The tilling will be done after that. I don't want to beat the crap out of my equipment unnecessarily.

I appreciate you all sharing your experiences with me and your excellent suggestions. In the end it was a combination of reading reviews of recommended tillers, coming up with a set of features I finally decided on (reverse direction, gear drive and min 66" width as I have 3" wheel spacers on the rears) and finally what I could find actually available soon.

In 3 weeks or so I should be getting a Simca Phoenix T10-GE (reverse) 66" unit.

For my simple use I'm sure a lesser unit would be adequate but one of my sons is in MD with 15+ acres and it's likely he will find good use for it.

Again a big thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply!
 
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DaveFromMi

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L3901, 5' Bush Hog
Apr 14, 2021
48
29
18
Indiana
Thanks to all for the advice. To expand a little on my original post. The ground is very hard, hasn't been touched in 30 years.
I do have a rough plan in mind after doing a lot of reading here and on the web in general. I'm first going to kill everything with roundup. A couple of days later the box blade will rip everything & loosen the soil quite a bit. Since I'm in no particular hurry (and old) I'll probably bring in topsoil and spread it the following day. The tilling will be done after that. I don't want to beat the crap out of my equipment unnecessarily.

I appreciate you all sharing your experiences with me and your excellent suggestions. In the end it was a combination of reading reviews of recommended tillers, coming up with a set of features I finally decided on (reverse direction, gear drive and min 66" width as I have 3" wheel spacers on the rears) and finally what I could find actually available soon.

In 3 weeks or so I should be getting a Simca Phoenix T10-GE (reverse) 66" unit.

For my simple use I'm sure a lesser unit would be adequate but one of my sons is in MD with 15+ acres and it's likely he will find good use for it.

Again a big thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply!
You might want to wait until late summer/early fall to plant the new grass. About a month or so before the first frost would be ideal. Strong sunload and summer heat is not the best for new grass and it will require more water. In the meantime, consider the Softcal pellets or similar.
 
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Motion

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Kubota MX5100HST/FEL
Aug 17, 2020
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Mandeville Louisiana
Pending the area to be worked, I'd consider adding select fill where needed then use a subsoiler to break it up (insure there are no underground utilities) Then search for a contractor that does house pads and has a skid steer mounted hydraulic power rake, multiple passes will level it out, then seed/fertilize accordingly. Just my .02
 

ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
487
441
63
central ct
You might want to wait until late summer/early fall to plant the new grass. About a month or so before the first frost would be ideal. Strong sunload and summer heat is not the best for new grass and it will require more water. In the meantime, consider the Softcal pellets or similar.
Thanks DavefromMi
Yes, I have been told to wait until the 3rd week in August by several people in the area just to avoid the summer heat/sun. I have a lot of 'research' to do on the steps after I till everything (also besides topsoil I need to find out if I should mix anything else in like you mentioned). We have no clay here. Its a base of sand/stone plus a goodly layer of topsoil that's been washed down the hill over the eons. It is just compacted a lot. There are some areas that have very little topsoil plus areas that need to be leveled out.

Since I'm in no hurry I can 'practice' on a small area while waiting. Realistically I don't expect the tiller in until mid July.

I really shouldn't have been surprised, having ordered implements this year, on the scarcity of everything tillers.


It will be a fun project. I should learn a lot more than what I know now :)

Thanks for the input!
 
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Creature Meadow

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2012 L4600, Disk, Brush Hog, GB60 Garden Bedder, GSS72 Grading Scraper
Sep 19, 2016
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Central North Carolina
Seems you got the implement picked out so I'll forgo that.

I use a piece of chain link with a 6x6 at the front with V's cut in the bottom so dirt can pass through. Cost for it is cheap and easy to build. I use it leveling, covering small seeds, dragging down my roads after working them with my land plane, has many uses.

I would suggest conducting a soil analysis on the area. The best seed and application of fertilizer does not do much if the PH is off. Grass will not be able to use the available nutrients. We have a local fertilizer store that has a truck that will come and broadcast the lime at the needed rate and is not bad on the wallet. Maybe you have such in your area. Just a suggestion.

Also if you have access to cow manure or composted chicken poop be a good start for building back some soil structure. I use this and all the leaves I can get in my acre garden each year.

best of luck.

Jay
 
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random

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L3301, bucket, backhoe, grader, plow, harrow, cultivator
Nov 2, 2020
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@ctfjr Not sure how in-depth you want to go or how "golf course" you want your lawn, but I got a lot of really good info from this book many years (about 20) ago: https://www.amazon.com/Scotts-Lawns-Your-Guide-Beautiful/dp/B0002H7GEE

Ever since then, everywhere I've lived I've had the best lawn in the neighborhood.

Given what you're spending, $15 isn't too much for a little good reading IMO.
 

ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
487
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63
central ct
@ctfjr Not sure how in-depth you want to go or how "golf course" you want your lawn, but I got a lot of really good info from this book many years (about 20) ago: https://www.amazon.com/Scotts-Lawns-Your-Guide-Beautiful/dp/B0002H7GEE

Ever since then, everywhere I've lived I've had the best lawn in the neighborhood.

Given what you're spending, $15 isn't too much for a little good reading IMO.
Thank you! I have to call our local CT ag station - only a few miles from here to get their input. With plenty of time before 'tillday' I'll get the book and read it.
:)

just ordered the book and went to the Ag Station website. Ahh almost makes me happy to pay state taxes. They have a complete description of what they do and how to submit soil samples.
Connecticut Ag Station
 
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