The Tools of Summer

As the sunny summer days arrive the country will experience a burst of vegetation growth; here's a few machines that will help keep roadsides neat and trim

Article December 28, 2000
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As the saying goes
April showers bring May flowers but the rains also bring grass,
trees and weeds. And as spring gives way to summer, grass mowing
season swings into full gear.

Just about everyone is
affected by this explosion of vegetation growth, which
accompanies each summer, even people without front lawns or back
yards. Because while the lawns grow shaggy, so too does the
vegetation along the highways and roads. Not much thought is
given by the public to the maintenance of roadsides, but this
vegetation has the potential to cause safety hazards. Tree limbs
can obstruct traffic signs and signals preventing the motorist
from following proper driving etiquette; and tall grasses can
block intersections, hiding cars and pedestrians from the view
of motorists.

It is important for roadside maintenance crews
to use the proper equipment to control the vegetation. The
following is a round up of mowers and tree trimmers available on
the market today.

Alamo

For tree trimming operations
Alamo Industries, Seguin, Texas, offers a boom-mounted sickle
bar tree trimmer called the Timber Cat, which can be mounted on
the company's A-Boom, Machete Boom, Versa Boom, Slopemower, or
the Boom Axe. According to the company, the sickle bar leaves a
clean, finished cut similar to that of a chain saw. Cut limbs
fall to the ground thus preventing them from being thrown about,
presenting a danger to pedestrians and property.

The product
is available in 5-ft and 7-ft wide models. The 5-ft model
weights 440 lb and has an operating pressure of 1,300 psi, and
the 7-ft model weighs 520 lb and has an operating pressure of
1,500 psi. It is recommended that a tractor in the 5,000 lb
range should be used in order to accommodate the boom and sickle
bar weight.

The company also offers the Gorilla tree cutter
designed for land-clearing tasks. The product can cut trees up
to an 8-in. diam with a brush-cutting swath 72-in. wide. To use,
the operator opens the two hydraulically powered doors, cuts
down trees and brush, closes the doors, to keep the material
inside, and continues to chop reducing the material to mulch.

Excel

Excel Industries, Inc., Hesston, Kan., has
re-engineered two compact model rider mowers, the 251K and the
260K. The two machines now feature a hydraulic deck lift system
as standard equipment. This simplifies operation because the
deck can be raised and lowered from the driver's seat.

Model
251K has a 51-in. rear-discharge cut, and a 22-hp Kohler Command
engine. The 260K is powered by the same engine but has a 60-in.
rear-discharge cut. Attachments include a catcher, edger and a
snow blade. A steering wheel option allows the operator to
remove the T-handle joystick and replace it with a steering
wheel.

John Deere

John Deere, Raleigh, N.C., has a new
front mower called the F1145. The machine is powered by a
3-cylinder, 28-hp diesel engine with 58 lb of torque. It
features wet-disk brakes, dual-pedal foot controls, power
steering, cruise control, differential lock and a two-function
"on demand" or "full time" four-wheel drive.

The company
also offers a line of compact utility tractors suited for
roadside maintenance work. In their 55 Series are three models,
the 755, 855 and 955, which offer a power range from 20 hp to 33
hp.

With over 50 attachments to choose from these tractors
can cut grass in the summer and remove snow in the winter. Some
of the other attachments available include a backhoe, auger,
forklift and loader. Mowing attachments include a rear-mounted
rotary cutter, available in 4-ft to 10-ft cutting widths; flail
mowers from 58.5-in. to 90.5-in.; and a sickle-bar mower, in
7-ft and 9-ft lengths with a cutting arc of 30 deg below to 90
deg above horizontal.

For smaller jobs the company offers a
line of commercial walk-behind mowers. The newest addition to
this line is the GS-30, equipped with a 5-speed gear
transmission and powered by a Kohler Command, 13-hp, Pro Series
engine. It can be used with a 48-in. or a 36-in. mower deck.

Tiger

Tiger Corp., Sioux Falls, S.D., has a series of
rear-boom flail mowersÑthe RBF-2C, the RBF-12C, the RBF-14C, the
RBF-19C and the RBF-26CÑwhich range in power from 45 hp to
70-plus hp. The out reach extends from 10 ft 3 in. for the
RBF-2C to 26 ft for the RBF-26C. Reach up starts at 11 ft 3 in.
with the RBF-12C to the 29 ft 8 in. reach of the RBF-26C.

Other mowing and trimming products include a boom rotary, a boom
flail, and a triple flail mower set-up, with two hydraulically
driven side units and a rear-mounted unit. The company also
produces a rotary ditcher, sweeper, loader and snow blowers.

Toro

The Toro Co., Bloomington, Minn., offers the
Groundmaster 580-D a large scale rotary mower. It is powered by
a Mitsubishi Model S4F-T, 4 cylinder in-line, 4 cycle, liquid
cooled, turbo-charged diesel engine, which produces 80 hp.

The front cutting unit has a 92-in. width of cut, while the side
cutting units provide a 57-in. cut. The front unit consists of
five spindles and the sides have three.

The machine comes
with a hand-held diagnostic tool that aids in troubleshooting
mechanical problems. A data log system also is available to
record machine information, which can help in the repair and
maintenance of the unit.

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