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Part 1: Grounds Equipment: Versatility Through Attachments
By Thomas A. Westerkamp
March 2014 -
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Managers looking to make the most of big-ticket equipment purchases by incorporating attachments — including mowing decks, aerators, plows, brooms and spreaders — into their operations need to approach the process with a solid understanding of the attachments that will help achieve this goal.
Managers looking to expand their department's mowing capabilities have a range of mowing-deck options to consider.
Gang mowers that cover a width of up to 17 feet and beyond can attach to a four-wheel-drive riding tractor and enhance productivity for crews mowing large open areas. By contrast, a standup, self-propelled, riding 42-inch rotary mower would be more productive in areas where crews have to maneuver around trees and plant beds. Narrower spaces might require a self-propelled or manual walk-behind unit with a 20-inch mowing deck. If a department's task list requires a large number of attachments, managers should consider interchangeable mower decks, which allow for replacing the deck with rotary brushes, blowers, aerators, snow blades, and snow plows.
Tilt-up mowing decks allow easier access for inspection, cleaning and servicing. A hydraulic tilt-up deck makes it still easier to tilt up heavier decks. These decks are only available for front-mount, not center mount, mowers. Some decks have a threaded hose connection that enables operators to wash underneath and remove clippings.
Two mowing attachments can help operators achieve a clean, decorative appearance — a vacuum and a striping roller.
A vacuum hose attaches to the mower deck and directs clippings into a towed trailer, which can hold a large amount of grass without needing to be emptied. This vacuum keeps clippings from thatching heavily during rainy periods.
Operators can achieve striping in turf by mowing east and west, then north and south. The cuts are the same height both ways. The pattern occurs because the grass looks darker or lighter, depending on whether it is bent toward or away from the viewer. Bending the grass more heightens the effect. A spring-loaded striper roller attachment accomplishes this effect by bending the grass down more that it would bend naturally.
Product Focus: Grounds Equipment
Part 2: Product Focus: Matching Aerator Attachments to Turf Areas
Part 3: Product Focus: Specifying Spreader Attachments
Part 4: Product Focus: Grounds Management