Blending in

Whether you work with golf courses or sports fields, or in landscaping or construction, somewhere along the way you have to deal with soil.

In many instances, you'll find that the soil does not meet your standards. It may be too rocky, have poor drainage characteristics or be loaded with organic debris. In these cases, you may want to process the soil by screening and blending. A soil screener or blender gives you that capability.

Some machines can remove rocks, debris and unwanted material from soil and combine the remaining product in a uniform soil mix. Other machines are able to mix materials, such as peat and sand, together in specific ratios for sites such as golf courses or racetracks, where precise proportions are crucial.

Some models also allow you to mix fertilizer or grass seed into the soil mix for spreading.

Blending soil yourself instead of purchasing pre-blended material can save you money and ensure that the mix meets your specifications.

With most blenders and screeners, you load material into a hopper, and a vibrating screen separates the soil mix from unwanted debris. For blending, the machine combines two or more materials into a uniform mixture.

"When it's blended together, the mix is very homogeneous," says Matt Neuhaus, sales manager for the Screen Machine line of screeners and blenders. "It's easier to spread."

Some models of soil screeners and blenders just separate the soil from debris, while others are able to spread the mix directly on a field or golf course.

The size of the machine you use depends on the volume of material you will be processing, says Jerry Mahon, a spokesman for Royer Industries. Larger units are used at construction or excavation sites, where large quantities of processed soil are needed.

Small landscaping firms or individuals could use the smaller machines, which are loaded using shovels or small-bucket loaders.

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