Turf Magazine - September, 2012

FEATURES

The Landscaper's Fall Equipment Checklist

By Linda Beattie

Fall can be one of the most profitable for the landscaper who provides leaf and debris management services to their customers. Just about any size landscaper can cash in on offering these services to their customers effectively by having the right equipment.

Just like you outfit your truck for spring and summer mowing and turf care, there are staple products you need to have on your truck to effectively provide profitable clean-up services to your customers.

Below is a checklist of common equipment you should have on your truck.

Blowers - Make sure your team is prepared with wheeled blowers. The backpack or hand-held blower you used all mowing season long did a great job cleaning up grass clippings and light debris, but it isn't going to cut it when dealing with fall debris, which is heavy and vast. Leaves alone pile up quickly and are often weighted with moisture and other debris that make the backpack or hand-held ineffective. Wheeled blowers not only have the power, but also a ground level design to effectively move large areas of leaves and heavy debris quickly and effectively. Tip: There are many other added revenue streams a wheeled blower can allow you to explore this fall. Wheeled blowers easily clear debris from cracks and surface areas for asphalt and paving repair, and they make quick work of moving (and drying) standing water from properties, roofs, sports fields, tennis courts, etc., reducing property damage and the spread of West Nile Virus.

Leaf and Debris Vacuums - The leaf and debris vacuum is the ideal tool for collection and removal of mixed debris like stones, gravel, bottles, cans, sticks, twigs and other miscellaneous items that would otherwise have to be swept up by hand. It also allows one person to make quick work of small property jobs. Tip: Be sure to have the vac on the truck for turf care jobs as well. It is a great time-saving tool in removing lifted thatch and aeration cores from atop the lawn.

Truck Loaders - For larger properties or when you have several customers within the same area, getting leaf and debris piles to the curb is only half the battle. You need a high-performance solution to finish the job and get that debris off-site. Loaders aren't made just for the big jobs and big trucks anymore. There's a loader to fit just about every truck, budget and circumstance.

Outside of leaf removal, there are a lot of other services to provide customers in the fall.

Brush Cutters - Fall is the time to prepare the property for winter. Taming overgrowth and clearing tree lines on a client's property requires dedicated powerful equipment. A brush cutter will help you tackle tough jobs quickly, and since they are designed similar to walk-behind mowers, the learning curve is minimal for seasonal help.

Edgers - Now is the time to put a good, deep edge on your client lawns. A wheeled stick edger will provide an edge that will hold up through any remaining growth of the season and help you get a head start on your spring maintenance routine by keeping grass from creeping into beds and walkways. Tip: Similar to the wheeled blower, the right edger can also aid you with other jobs. Some commercial wheeled edgers offer an optional crack cleaner attachment that can help remove stubborn thick growth and debris in cracks and joints in prepping asphalt and paving jobs.

Bed Shapers - Like edging, a little bed shaping now could save you a lot of time come spring. Also, many bed shapers are extremely efficient in cutting or re-establishing tree rings for winter mulching.

Hedge Trimmers - Now's the time to cut back trees, shrubs and hedges, allowing them to save up the energy they need to get through winter. With the cooler fall temperatures, stems thicken, becoming more difficult to cut. Choosing a commercial hedge trimmer capable of cutting up to 1-inch-thick growth will allow you to plan hedge trimming jobs right up until winter's first frost.

If there blanks on your Fall Equipment Checklist, talk to your local equipment dealer about filling in the gaps with the latest commercial landscaping equipment solutions.

The author is a PR specialist for Schiller Grounds Care. You can contact her at lbeattie@schillergc.com.