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What's Cool and Hot in Maintenance Gear
Knowing how important landscape maintenance work is to LC/DBM's readers - almost 65 percent of respondents to the latest survey said that their company performs these services - a maintenance equipment progress report was a timely fit for this issue (next month will feature an update on installation equipment).

Walker's Hi-Dump® system raises up 67 inches and dumps collected grass and debris into a truck or trailer. Powered by a 12-volt electric/hydraulic system, the lifting and dumping functions work independently and are controlled by two toggle switches near the operator's seat. It is available for the MD and MT models.

Airtow's new mini skid-steer trailer has a removable front platform and attachment mounts for various mini skid steer attachments such as two sizes of augers, forks, a trencher, power head, bucket, and the like.

The narrower widths of Land Pride's APS15 Series All Purpose Seeders make them effective in seeding applications on residential lots, grassy medians, or rights-of-way adjacent to sidewalks and such, and where undulations, moguls, and depressions are prevalent. Special features include crab-action spiked front rollers, spring mounted rear rollers, and options for a rear spiked roller and rear packer roller.

To that end, the entire editorial staff reached out to all the manufacturers we could find, big and small, and asked them to share any recent or upcoming improvements and innovations that gave them bragging rights.

After calling over a hundred companies, as opposed to waging an email campaign or a web site hunt, we received many interesting submissions. There were, of course, announcements of several new model releases, each with improvements, but following is what really caught my attention. Many were small, yet creative and seemingly significant.

Meg-Mo was one example. It is a patented blade system developed by Roy Megli of Sterling, Ill. Mounted, but not firmly affixed onto a circular disc, are four separate blades, each with a leading cutting surface. Centrifugal force sets the blades in place to, as the company states, virtually vaporize the clippings, yet because the blades have give, they just fold back when they hit an obstruction.

The John Deere Z997R Diesel ZTrak™ zero turn mower comes equipped with a new electrically powered, 14-bushel hard shell dump-from-seat Material Collection System. Other advancements include a shaft drive to minimize deck belt costs, flat-free front tires, and for operator comfort, a power deck lift to reduce strain, ergonomically angled padded hand grips and button-in-hand PTO cutoff.

EarthWay's F80 (patents' pending) adaptable broadcast spreader system with the EV-N-SPRED® FLEX-SELECT™ Interchangeable Tray system makes it a 3-in-1 spreader for all types of materials from fine grass seed to coarse rock salt. It also features and 80 pound hopper capacity, a new floating super-duty gearbox, 2-position height adjustable handle, and a gauge rate control with adjustable solid linkage.

A high output blower, the LandShark comes with adjustable and reversible handles, cast aluminum impellers, removable accessory wand with foot activated wand control, rubber vibration handle isolators and flat-free tires.

Outfitted with a composite housing that is 34 percent lighter than standard metal ones, Billy Goat's rolling blower also possesses a patented aim and shoot swiveling nozzle.

This 4-inch capacity portable chipper is belt driven and gravity fed. At just 32" wide, it comes with 15" turf tires and fold-down handles. The 13-21T-13H is powered by a Honda GX390 engine and features a reversible, double-edge cutting knife. Unique to this Dosko chipper is its mechanical belt clutching mechanism which allows for easy starts without the use of a centrifugal clutch. The 13-21T-13H also comes standard with a 52-inch chute and adjustable angle deflector.

Hover mowers have been around for some time but they are very intriguing to me. Because they have to be lightweight, a lot of them are electric but not the new F-15 from Seago, which bills it as the only one on the market with an EPA approved 2-stroke engine, and at 22 pounds, the lightest hover mower though it's 60cc engine is the largest in the small hover mower class.

I know the fear of robotic equipment eliminating livelihoods is great, and real, but Evatech's Hybrid Goat 22T, a commercial robotic mower, can help save lives by reducing the danger of operator injury while mowing sloped areas, especially ones with high grass. The company says it can mow slopes of 50 (+/- 10) degrees with grass up to four feet tall. Plus it has patented hybrid technology to generate electric power, allowing it to run for approximately 2.5 hours on .3 gallon of gas. And with radio-controlled operation, it still puts a person to work.

I'll have to try it to see how it works exactly but Honda's Select Drive™ System found on their HRXVKA and HRXVYA models looks worthy of note. It allows mowing speed to be adjusted on the fly with a dial, and uses what the company calls the Select Drive™ control handle to match the mowing stride. Something I'd like to have is a Briggs and Stratton EXi series engine that will reportedly never need an oil change. And their Mow 'n' Stow patented small engine design enables a lawn mower to be stored upright at a 110 degree angle.

In trailers, sort of, The JLG® Tow-Pro® is actually a boom lift attached to a trailer. What's especially handy is that after setting it in place as best you can with your vehicle, the trailer's optional drive and set package allows for precise motorized placement of the lift.

The John Deere Z997R Diesel ZTrak™ zero turn mower comes equipped with a new electrically powered, 14-bushel hard shell dump-from-seat Material Collection System. Other advancements include a shaft drive to minimize deck belt costs, flat-free front tires, and for operator comfort, a power deck lift to reduce strain, ergonomically angled padded hand grips and button-in-hand PTO cutoff.

The JLG® T350 and T500J Tow-Pro® boom lifts with trailers feature four hydraulically-controlled outriggers that are auto-leveling, and can level the machine on surfaces with up to an 11 degree grade. Both units can be powered purely by battery or by the optional gas engine, and can be equipped with an optional drive and set package for precise motorized placement of the lift.

Mowing speed can be adjusted on the fly with Honda's Select Drive™ System found on their HRXVKA and HRXVYA models. Operators rotate the speed-adjust dial to the desired speed range while also engaging the Select Drive™ control handle to match the mowing stride.

The Lawn Debbi debris and leaf loading/dumping system from IBBZ Inc. can now have its batteries maintained with a solar module, and offers an optional remote control.

Billed as the only self-propelled, "walking forward" bed opener on the market, the Turf Teq Power Edger offers nine blade profiles for trenching, bed opening and edging. With operating speeds of up to 170 feet per minute, it comes equipped with a variable speed, hydrostatic transmission with locking differential and is available as a complete dedicated-use machine, a complete multi-use machine, and as an edger attachment that will work with all other Turf Teq multi-use products.

Woods Equipment's Precision Super Seeder features different and interchangeable soil tillage tools, the ability to plant up to three different kinds of seeds at two different depths in one pass, and a precision seed rate calibration process - all of which are patent pending.

This new dual action, horizontal splitter splits logs on both the forward and reverse stroke with just a 7-second cycle time. Powered by a Honda GX160, it has a 20-ton splitting force. The BH2W2015GX splits logs up to 25" long with an 8" carbon steel wedge. The BH2W2015GX has single control operation and a large hydraulic system, and comes standard with engine guard and heavy-duty steel fenders.

The 50 and 100 gallon UTV sprayers with booms from R&K Pump and Equipment feature chemical resistant poly tanks, Udor diaphragm pumps, large fill wells with vented lids, a suction strainer with stainless mesh screen, adjustable pressure regulator with liquid filled gauge, and vortex jet agitation.

The self-charging, battery-operated break-away system on Towmaster's T-12DT tilt bed trailer will activate the electric brake should the trailer ever become unhitched during transit.

Earth & Turf's MultiSpread™ Model 220 topdresser takes advantage of the company's patented "widespread beater" system that is designed to spread a variety of wet or dry materials up to 60" wide. The model is available in two-wheel ground drive or a hydraulic drive version, and is only 45" wide for maneuverability through gates and around trees, shrubs, and narrow areas.

At 22 pounds, the manufacturer calls the just released Air Force F-15 hover mower the lightest of its kind on the market, and the only one with an EPA approved 2-stroke engine, which at 60cc, is said to be larger than any in the small hover mower class.

One of the latest introductions from Eby, their aluminum gooseneck equipment trailer weighs in at almost a ton lighter than steel trailers with comparable specifications.

Grasshopper's V Series of midmount mowers has two new additions, the 125 and 225, both with fully hydraulic, integrated pump-and-wheel-motor transmissions with in-line cooling fans and no gears, which the company says deliver more power to the cutting decks. The 126 (pictured) comes with a Briggs and Stratton 810 cc Commercial Series OHV V-Twin engine.

The Hybrid Goat 22T from Evatech is a commercial robotic mower capable of mowing half an acre per hour of sloped property (50 +/- 10 degrees). With patented hybrid technology, the mower generates its own electric power and can run for approximately 2.5 hours on .3 gallon of gas.

To provide for more comfortable operations, Exmark's 2015 Lazer Z E-Series and Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn mowers can be outfitted with a suspended operator platform, which uses coil-over hydraulic dampers to reduce vibration, and a new seat that includes patented Iso-Mount isolation and Elastomeric Vibration Control (EVC) stretch fabric. The platform can be adjusted for any size or weight of rider or ride quality preference, in the shop or on the job site, without tools.

The new Quickcat stand on mower from Bob-Cat reports mowing speeds of 8 mph and transport speeds of 10.5 mph, and features extra large drive tires, a true floating deck, and low placement of the fuel tank for better balance on uneven ground.

MyRIDE™ from Toro is a brand new suspension system available on select Toro® Z Master® zero-turn mowers. It features an isolated operator platform that delivers 3.6" of travel, and adjustable rear shocks that can be fine-tuned to a personalized comfort setting.

Dixie Chopper's Classic zero-turn mower now offers the choices of Kawasaki, Kohler EFI, and Vanguard engines. The mower's Elite X Deck comes with a new lift system designed for easier servicing and better ergonomics.

Compared to previous models, Stihl's new HS 82 and HS 87 hedge trimmers are lighter, have increased blade speed, produce lower emissions, and are powered by an engine that is 20 percent more fuel-efficient.

Turfco states that their patented T3100 stand-on spreader and sprayer has the industry's only hands-free speed control and is now piloted with a steering wheel.

The Lawn Debbi debris and leaf loading/dumping system from IBBZ Inc. is a proprietary piece of equipment that has caught my eye before and now can have its batteries maintained with a solar module.

In an example of the type of enthusiastic promoting we like to see, Woods Equipment's Angela Larson, Chad Bailey, and Cory Sarver took the time to conference call me to talk about their Precision Super Seeder, which has three different patents pending. I hope others will do the same when my editorial staff calls them for the October article.

And speaking of October, the unveiling of Altoz's XR series will be at this year's GIE show. The new zero-turn mowers feature three cutting deck widths and the option of a Honda GXV engine.

As a final plug for the Expo, Jessica Bedore, Ariens' marketing communications coordinator told us when we contacted her, "We don't announce any new products until GIE, but we do have lots of exciting things happening this year for Gravely."

Hope to see you at the show.

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February 17, 2020, 1:53 pm PDT

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