If you operate a grounds-maintenance firm for facilities located in a snowy area, you have a number of attachments available to use with your existing equipment. Plows, blowers, blades and spreaders help keep walkways, livestock areas, and parking lots accessible and less hazardous.
As you outline your winter grounds-management plan, use a best practices approach to purchasing and using snow-removal attachments. Before choosing which equipment to dedicate to fighting snow accumulation, consider these specific product specifications.
Ease of attachment to vehicle
If your area only experiences snow a few times a year, you may not mind attaching heavy-duty snow-removal equipment now and then. If you live in a snowier area, it's a different story. When you must use a truck or tractor for other purposes during snowy months, it makes sense to use your mower, tractor or ATV for tasks like plowing, scraping, and spreading de-icing-solution. The mower isn't making money when there's nothing to mow, so free up your multi-use vehicles by using it to scrape a driveway or blow snow.
Transmission power of any plowing vehicle
Front plows may be too much for vehicle and mower drive trains to manage. Much is expected of the transmission of a plowing vehicle. The truck, tractor, all-terrain vehicle or zero turn mower is attempting to go forward and push away heavy snow at the same time. Use these vehicles in super snowy areas according to how much torque and transmission durability they possess. You don't want to wear out a valuable mower that you'll need come springtime.
Expected engine life of equipment
The engines of mowers, vehicles and tractors are also expected to perform with extra gusto in the winter. Colder temperatures and increased loads on a transmission make for added stress on the motor. Store vehicles under cover, check and replenish fluids, and use equipment with longer engine life for year-round reliability. Attach plug-in heaters to diesel engines for easier starts on frigid mornings. A higher-end zero turn mower or tractor is the best choice for consistent year-round use.
Sustainability of use
Consider the environment. A recent study found that private-property use accounts for 50 percent of road salt contamination of watersheds. Do the research to discover the most precise spreader attachments and the greenest de-icing solutions for your particular situation. Also consider your fuel usage. It may be wiser to use a snow-blower attachment on a zero turn mower than a plow on a pickup truck if you only have a small area to clear.
Your winter best practices should take into account the problem areas on individual properties you manage. Use past winter experiences in the area to guide you. If you have a new winter-grounds-maintenance account, ask the property owners about zones where snow buildup and ice hazards develop. Knowing the snow beast you face allows you to strategize an effective winter best-practices plan for your equipment and attachments.