Turn your grass-cutting machine into a total landscape care system
The popularity of zero-turn mowers is undeniably strong. Take a look around your local dealer, and you’ll see them in all sizes and to fit all budgets. Chances are good you will also see attachments available for these mowers. These attachments help contractors expand the range of services they offer.
Not only does adding versatility boost your bottom line, it makes a great return on investment of your zero-turn rider. “Having a host of hand-held or walk-behind equipment means maintaining an engine for each tool,” says Patsy Penner, communications director for Grasshopper. “When you power your implements with a riding power unit, you have only one engine to fuel and maintain.”
This also means less equipment in your fleet, and on your trailer. Both mid-mount and front-mount zero-turn mowers can accept a wide variety of mounted attachments, but it seems that the front-mount units have a slight advantage. Tim Cromley of Walker Manufacturing says, “The front-cut design, with its PTO capability, allows a wider variety of implements and attachments to be used without affecting the overall size or performance of the tractor.”
Walker Mowers (www.walkermowers.com) offers a broad selection of attachments. Many of the front-mounted attachments require the use of the Quick Change Implement Hitch System. This hitch assembly slides on in place of the mower deck and has operator footrests and hitch with built-in electric lift. A toggle switch that controls the lifting action is attached to the forward speed control lever.
The coulter edger attachment allows you to edge along walkways. The edger is attached to the Walker tractor via a quick-mount bracket, and once the bracket is installed, the edger assembly can be easily removed if it is not needed, then reinstalled.
|Photos by Dexter Ewing.|
|Walker’s dethatcher attaches to the front of the deck carrier frame andcan be removed without the use of tools. Paired with Walker’s grasscollection system, the dethatcher is a powerful turf renovation tool.||The self-tracking coulter disk edger from Walker uses mechanicaldown pressure to cut a crisp, clean edge.|
|Walker’s Perfaerator has camshaft-driven tines to provide effectiveaeration results in any turf conditions.|
Another attachment is the Perfaerator. This 47-inch-wide aerator attachment can cover 60,000 square feet per hour, using a camshaft design to power drive the 12 plugger tines into the ground using the PTO of the Walker power unit. Up to 2.5-inch penetration is possible, depending on ground speed and turf conditions.
Another attachment is the dethatcher. “This is our most popular attachment,” Tim Cromley, sales and marketing manager for Walker Mowers, says. “The beauty of this attachment is its relationship with the Walker Grass Handling System.” In a single pass, the turf can be dethatched, mowed and vacuumed. A lift lever and lock raise and hold the dethatcher in the transport position. The dethatcher can be used in the fall to prepare the turf for aeration, fertilization and seeding; in the spring, for raking up matted leaves and other yard debris. There are other attachments that expand the versatility of a Walker, such as a snow thrower, dozer blade, chipper shredder, loader bucket, coulter disk edger and debris blower, to name a few.
JRCO, Inc. (www.jrcoinc.com) offers aftermarket attachments for zero-turn mowers. Bill Radintz, sales manager for JRCO, says, “All of these attachments use the same JRCO mount bar. The landscaper can quickly swap attachments in order to perform multiple services with one mower on the job site.”
JRCO’s most recognizable attachment is the Tine Rake Dethatcher. “The tine rake is our signature product,” says Radintz. “So many landscapers choose it as their ideal spring cleanup tool.” Available in 36, 46 or 60-inch widths, the Tine Rake Dethatcher combs up embedded leaves and matted turfgrass. Height adjustable caster wheels ensure even engagement of the spring tines into the turf and for easy turning and maneuvering without lifting the dethatcher.
|Photos Courtesy of JRCO.|
|The Tine Rake Dethatcher is JRCO’s signatureproduct. It helps promote healthyturf by removing matted leaves for springclean-ups and thatch to prepare for turfrenovation in the fall.||The Leaf Blade Plow from JRCO providesa solution to moving large piles of leaves.|
|The Hooker aerator has tines that hook into the soil, pull up and disperse loose plugs ofsoil to allow turf to intake nutrients and air for better root growth.|
Another attachment is the Hooker aerator. “The tines pierce deep into the soil, hooking and lifting loose plugs of dirt that disperse quickly, spreading nutrients over the surface,” says Radintz. Following aeration, there is no cleanup of cores required. One of the major advantages of the Hooker aerator is that each tine set is mounted on a head that swivels like a caster, allowing the operator to turn without lifting the tines off the ground.
Another popular JRCO attachment is the Leaf Blade Plow. “The Leaf Blade Plow uses the mower’s power to quickly move piles of leaves,” says Radintz. The 55-inch-wide blade is made of galvanized steel and has flexible stainless steel tines at the bottom to assist in moving leaves over uneven ground. The Leaf Blade Plow can be folded back onto the mower to save space on trailers and for storage.
The Snowplow blade assists in removing snow during the winter. “The Snowplow blade mounts in place of the mower deck and features a foot-actuated lift and five-position blade angle adjustment from the seat,” Radintz says. The blade is 60 inches wide and features a 5-inch-tall, plastic cutting edge to prevent damage to pavement and the blade itself.
For granular fertilizer application, JRCO offers the Electric Broadcast Spreader. “This heavy-duty spreader is ideal for spreading all types of granular and pelletized fertilizer, seed and ice melt,” says Radintz. The polyethylene hopper features a 2.2-cubic-foot, 120-pound capacity. An electronic speed control allows the operator to spread fertilizer in widths from 5 to 24 feet. Team the broadcast spreader up with JRCO’s rear-mounted Zero-Turn Sprayer, and you have a complete application vehicle.
Grasshopper (www.grasshoppermower.com) offers a broad range of implements for its MidMount and FrontMount zero-turn riding mowers. “Grasshopper offers implements for turf renovation, debris management and snow removal that interchange easily with a front-mounted mowing deck to provide four-season versatility from a single, fuel-efficient, riding power unit. Zero-turn maneuverability creates huge gains in productivity,” says Penner. She explains that the close coupling of the implement to the Grasshopper riding power unit affords the best maneuverability and handling of the entire unit.
One such close-coupled implement is the AERAvator. This attachment features PTO-driven, forged steel tines that vibrate as they penetrate the soil, fracturing the soil in both vertical and horizontal planes. This relieves soil compaction and allows nutrients, air and water to reach the root system to build healthier, more resilient turf. “The AERAvator can loosen hard, dry soils, and is highly effective at preparing ground for seeding, overseeding, or sodding,” Penner says.
“With the implement mounted in front, right in the operator’s line of sight, it is possible to reach into alcoves and other tight areas that could never be reached with a pull-behind aerator,” says Penner.
|Photos Courtesy of Grasshopper.|
|A rotary broom and enclosed cab makelight snow removal easy. The broom canbe used year-round for other cleaningchores.||The AERAvator from Grasshopper features PTO-driven tines that oscillate to fracture the turfhorizontally and vertically to relieve soil compaction and promote better nutrient absorption.|
Since the tines of the AERAvator do not pull core plugs due to the vibration-induced soil fracturing, the turf is ready for use immediately after treatment. Available in 40 and 60-inch widths, the AERAvator attaches to any Grasshopper FrontMount power unit.
Another implement that Grasshopper offers is the turbine blower. Producing an output of up to 9,500 CFM with a 150 mph air stream, the turbine blower, coupled with the zero-turning maneuverability of a front-mount unit, it offers a debris removal tool for cleaning parking lots, sidewalks and curbs while riding a Grasshopper 700 or 900 series FrontMount. “The airflow can be directed from the operator’s seat by remotely rotating the nozzle 360 degrees,” says Penner.
For edging long runs of curbing and sidewalks, there is the Edge-EZE edger attachment. The Edge-EZE attaches to the mower deck of either a Grasshopper FrontMount or MidMount unit, and features a self-tracking coulter disc that will help maintain established edges along sidewalks or curbs, without the danger of airborne debris. The unit is capable of edging up to 600 feet per minute. “Manual or electric height adjustment allows the blade to be raised slightly for crossing sidewalks and the electric lift also applies extra down pressure for tough conditions,” Penner says. The Edge-EZE coulter blade can be reversed, allowing the operator to edge either from the turf, or from the sidewalk/road.
Grasshopper also offers attachments for turf renovation, debris removal and snow removal.
Dexter Ewing is a freelance contributor and former LCO based in Winston-Salem, N.C.