BCS Front Mount Tractors

BCS Front Mount TractorsDo you have several landscaping jobs throughout the year, but don’t want to buy a piece of equipment for each one? Are you not into gardening? BCS’s front mount tractors may be exactly what you need.

These walk-behind tractors are compatible with the company’s front mount attachments, making them perfect for mowing, clearing snow and many other common tasks. By excluding the rear mount system, these two-wheel tractors can’t use graders or tillers. However, this also makes them simpler, lighter and cheaper than the company’s standard tractors.

Model 620 Max

This small tractor is perfect for light field mowing and landscaping work. It’s powered by a Honda GX240 that produces 8 HP. That puts it in line with the Model 722 tractor. The transmission has three working speeds: 0.8, 1.8 and 2.7 mph. It also has a transport gear that gives the 620 a top speed of 8.3 mph.

The 620 Max is compatible with these attachments:

– 30″, 40″ and 45″ sickle bar mowers
– 22″ lawnmower
– 30″ and 40″ power sweepers
– 24″ and 28″ snow thrower
– Log splitter
– Chipper/shredder
– Mowing Sulky

Most attachments will work with the 660 Max without modification. However, the log splitter requires the power cradle kit to increase PTO speed. The snow throwers require either a PTO extension or quick hitch to connect to the tractor.

Model 660 HS

The 660 HS delivers maximum power to handle BCS’s largest front mount attachments. Its Vanguard V-Twin produces 16 HP, three more horsepower than the next most powerful tractor, the Model 750. This engine drives both a PTO for attachments and a hydraulic pump that drives other tractor functions. Hydraulic steering allows precise inputs and low operator effort, while the hydrostatic transmission allows infinitely variable speed control without slowing down attachments. BCS’s exclusive PowerSafe hydraulic clutches are installed on each drive hub. These automatically stop the tractor from rolling backward on hills.

To best match your local terrain, the 660 HS is compatible with a range of wheel options:

– Standard tractor wheels and tires
– Wheels with high flotation tires to drive over sand, mud and soft soil
– Steel wheels for better grip on soft soil
– Cage wheels paired with standard wheels and pneumatic tires for better grip on hills
– Spiked steel wheels for maximum grip on steep slopes and sandy soil
– Tracks for maximum traction on all surfaces including ice and snow

The 660 HS is compatible with the following attachments:

– 40, 45 and 53 inch sickle bar mowers
– All dual action sickle bar mowers
– 30 and 35 inch flail mowers
– 32 inch brush mower
– 30 inch combo mower
– 38 inch lawn mower
– Hay rake
– 40 and 48 inch power sweepers
– 33 inch two stage snow blower
– 40 inch snow blade
– Chipper/shredder
– 36 inch dozer blade
– 26 inch dethatcher
– Buddy cart
– 3.6 and 4.0 pressure washers
– 50 and 85 PSI water pump
– Mowing Sulky

All attachments require a two bolt 750 bushing. The pressure washers and 50 PSI water pump also require a power cradle kit. The snow throwers require either a PTO extension or quick hitch.

For Big Jobs or Small, Shank’s Has the Equipment and Support You Need

If you’re looking to buy a BCS tractor, add some attachments, or have your tractor serviced, come see the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We have helped local residential and commercial customers with their outdoor equipment for 35 years. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here, take Exit 10 from I-81 and drive one mile East.

Need parts for your BCS America tractor? We can ship what you need to any address in the USA or Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Mantis Electric Tillers: Are They Right for You?

Mantis Electric Tillers: Are They Right for You?Mantis doesn’t just dominate the mini tiller market, they invented it. Over the years, they’ve updated their line with more powerful two-strokes, lightweight four-strokes, a plug-in model and a new cordless tiller. Are the electric models able to stand up to their gas-powered counterparts?

How do Electric Tillers Compare to Gas Models?

Mantis electric mini tillers don’t seem that different gas tiller, but there are major differences in how they perform.

Electric tillers aren’t as powerful as gas tillers on paper, but it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison. While the peak output of the electric tillers is lower than gas tillers, electric motors make maximum torque as soon as they start spinning. This helps the tines cut through roots and compacted soil far better than the spec sheet suggests. In real-world conditions, most users won’t see much difference in performance.

Both the corded and rechargeable models are only compatible with standard tines. If you want something that can cut extra wide rows or do other jobs like dethatching, you’re better off with a gas tiller. However, if you’re only looking to till and cultivate, there are a lot of reasons to consider electric.

Electric tillers are easy to use. They have zero starting issues: just close the throttle, and the tines will start spinning. An electric motor also doesn’t have a piston moving up and down, so it doesn’t vibrate like a gas engine. You’ll still need to lubricate parts of the machine, and the tines are still susceptible to wear and damage. However, there’s no need to add gas, change the oil, replace spark plugs or clean air filters.

Weight is in line with Mantis’ other mini tillers, which means these models are easy to transport and lift over low fences and into raised beds. They use the same metal worm gear drive found in the company’s gas-powered tillers, while the tines are optimized for electric power.

The 3350 and 3558 are both good choices for landscaping narrow spaces or as a compliment for a larger tiller. For most home gardeners, it makes sense to rent a large tiller to create new garden plots, then maintain the soil with a small electric tiller.

3550 Corded

The 9 amp motor provides maximum power without needing an expensive extension cord rated for mower or generator use. It also won’t flip the breakers when you’re using outdoor outlets around your home. A built-in extension cord holder lets you wind and unwind the cord as needed, just like using a vacuum.

The 3550’s motor operates at two speeds: 360 or 310 RPM. The motor drives 16 tines, giving the 3550 a total tilling width of 12 inches.

The wheels have three positions, lifting the tines high for transport, skimming the surface for cultivation, or digging soil up to 8 inches deep. The handle has three positions to suit operators of any height. It also folds down for storage. Foam grips make the tiller comfortable to use and help absorb bumps from impacts with rocks and other obstacles.

The 3550 weighs 24 lbs. Expect to add two pounds for every 25 feet of extension cord wrapped around the cord holder.

3558 Cordless

Want the flexibility of an electric tiller without having to deal with cords? This new battery-powered tiller uses the same 58-volt system as Mantis’ new rechargeable string trimmer and leaf blower.
Power comes from a 2.5 amp, 60-watt motor with 200 and 300 RPM drive modes. One battery can power the 3558 for up to 30 minutes per charge. It takes just 90 minutes to recharge the battery with the optional 2.5 amp charger.

Many of the features found on the 3550 carry over to this model. It has the same 16 tines, 12-inch tilling width, and maximum 8-inch tilling depth. The foldable, adjustable handle carries over, too. The 3558 weighs 26 lbs. with the battery installed.

Get the Tools You Need for the Garden You Want

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for landscape equipment manufacturers ranging from Mantis to Woods. That means we offer everything from these lightweight electric tillers to industrial grade farm equipment. To find a tiller that’s a good fit for your garden, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 from Exit 10/Marion.

Need to fix something on your Mantis tiller? Want to get more use out of your gas model? We ship OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us at www.shankslawn.com.

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Fixing Common Issues on Wright Stander Intensity Mowers

Fixing Common Issues on Wright Stander Intensity MowersAre you having trouble getting your Wright Stander Intensity mower to track straight? Is it not leaving the finish you want when you cut grass? Here’s what you need to know to adjust the hydraulic motors and deck to get your ZTR mowing like it should.

Neutral Adjustment

When parked on a flat surface, the mower should not move when the parking brake is off, the engine is at full throttle and the levers are untouched. If it does, do the following:

1. Lift the rear of the mower onto jack stands so that the drive wheels are off of the ground.
2. Look at the side that is moving when in neutral. Follow the handle down to the hydraulic pump. Loosen the ¼ inch Allen bolt directly below the spring.
3. Start the engine. Rotate the “RTN” knob behind the Allen bolt until the wheel stops spinning.
4. Shut off the engine. Tighten down the Allen bolt.

Tracking

Checking Tracking
1. Check the tire pressure for both rear tires. They need to be equal.
2. Drive the mower across a level surface at full throttle with both control levers pushed forward all the way. The mower should stay straight.

Adjusting Tracking
1. Park the mower and shut off the engine.
2. Loosen the jam nuts on the rods that connect to the hydraulic pumps.
3. Turning the rod adjusts how far it opens the valve on the hydraulic pump. If the mower turns to the side you’re working on with the levers fully engaged, spin the rod counter-clockwise to lengthen it and open the valve more. If the mower turns in the opposite direction, turn the rod clockwise to close the valve.
4. Tighten the jam nuts. Check the tracking again and repeat the previous steps if the mower is still not tracking straight.

Getting Maximum Ground Speed

The valves on the hydraulic pumps need to open fully to reach the mower’s maximum speed.

1. Park the mower and shut off the engine.
2. Loosen the jam nut on the rods that connect to the hydraulic pumps.
3. Rotate each rod counter-clockwise one turn and push the control lever forward. Repeat until pushing the control lever forces the rod into the internal pump stop.
4. Rotate each rod clockwise one turn. Tighten the jam nut.

After making this adjustment, check the mower tracking.

Moving the Stander Intensity When it Won’t Start

Open the hydraulic bypass valves by turning the levers next to the pump inlet hoses counter-clockwise two turns. This disengages the drive system, making the mower easy to push.

Addressing PTO Problems

1. Shut off the engine, remove the key and let the mower cool off. Check the belt and the wiring to the PTO clutch.
2. Disconnect the clutch wire and turn on the blade switch. Check for power from the harness. The blue wire that goes to the red clutch wire sends power from the PTO switch, while the black and orange wire is the ground. If there is no voltage, check the relay, operator presence switch, and PTO switch.
3. If there is power going through the wires, check the clutch. Replace the clutch if there’s a large gap between the plates. Sometimes, a worn clutch will work when cold, but as it heats up, resistance increases, preventing the magnetic coil from engaging the mechanism.
4. If the clutch looks OK, check the resistance on the clutch wiring. It should be around 1.84 ohms. Lower resistance indicates a shorted coil, while a high or infinite reading is caused by an open or burnt out coil. Either way, the coil needs to be replaced.

Deck Pitch and Side-to-Side Adjustment

For the best performance, the front of the deck should be ¼ inch lower than the rear, and the deck should be level from side to side.

1. Park the mower on a flat surface. Check the tire pressure, making sure both tires are equal.
2. Set the deck pin and lower the deck to a cutting height of inches.
3. Measure the front and rear of the blade tips. The front should be three inches from the ground, and the rear 3 1/8 to 3 1/4” inches from the ground.
4. To adjust the height, loosen the deck lift bracket nuts, then use a ½ inch ratchet and extension to raise or lower the lift arm. Tighten the nuts to 45 ft-lbs.
5. Remeasure the blade tips and readjust the height as needed.

Need Help with Your Wright Mower?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized dealer for Wright Manufacturing, which means we don’t just sell these mowers, we also able to offer the parts and service you need to keep your stander running. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA.

We also ship OEM parts for Wright and many other brands of lawn care equipment across the U.S. and Canada. If you need something for your mower, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Wright LG Stander Maintenance

Wright LG Stander MaintenanceDoes the steering on your large frame Wright Stander not feel right? Do you want to make sure the hydrostatic drive will last as long as the rest of the mower? These tips will help you keep your LG Series mower operating reliably and consistently.

Maintenance Schedule

Daily: Check the engine oil, air filter, blades, deck and tire pressure.
Every 100 hours: Clean the engine cooling fins.
Every 500 hours or annually: Replace the hydraulic oil and filter. Check the idler arms, spindles, caster pivots, wheel bearings, and belts for wear. Inspect the fuel hose, tank and tank grommets for signs of cracking. Make sure all electrical connections are solid and free from corrosion.

Check the included engine manual for powerplant maintenance.

Adjusting Neutral

If the mower moves forward or backward when the control levers are in the center position and the parking brake is off, adjust the Return-to-Neutral (RTN) setting on the pump linkage:

1. Lift the rear drive wheels off of the ground using a jack and jack stands.
2. Loosen the ¼ inch Allen bolt just above the base of the lever on the pump.
3. Rotate the linkage labeled “RTN” on the side with the wheel that turns when in neutral.
4. Tighten the Allen bolt.

Speed and Sensitivity Adjustment

The pump levers have two holes for connecting to the levers. Using the inner hole makes the controls faster while using the hole at the edge of the linkage decreases ground speed by 25-30% and allows finer movements.

1. Stop the engine.
2. Remove the bolts connecting the control rods to the pump levers.
3. Reconnect the levers using the alternate holes.
4. Check the tracking adjustment. (See below.)

Tracking Adjustment

To check the tracking:
1. Make sure both rear tires have the same air pressure.
2. Operate the mower on a level, paved surface at maximum speed. If the mower doesn’t stay straight, adjust the tracking.

To adjust the tracking:
1. Park the mower and shut off the engine.
2. Loosen the jam nuts on the steering rods where they connect to the hydraulic pumps.
3. Adjust the rod length. If the mower veers to the right, turn the right rod counter-clockwise or the left rod clockwise. If the mower veers to the left, turn the right rod clockwise or the left rod counter-clockwise.
4. Tighten the jam nuts.

Belt Adjustment and Replacement

1. Shut off the engine, remove the key and wait for the mower to come to a complete stop.
2. Remove the deck cover.
3. Insert a ½ inch ratchet and extension into the square hole in the idler arm. Turn the arm to relieve pressure on the belt. Slide the belt off of the pulleys.

If you are installing a new deck belt, follow the previous directions in reverse order. Continue if you’re replacing the drive belt.

4. Lift the mower onto jack stands.
5. Insert a ½ inch ratchet and extension into the square hole in the idler arm. Turn the arm to relieve pressure on the drive belt. Slide the belt off of the pulleys.
6. Follow the previous directions in reverse order to fit the new drive belt.

Bleeding Air from the Hydraulic System

If there is air in the system, your mower may lose power, and the pumps can overheat. Air may enter the hydraulic system if a hose is leaking, or a major component of the drive system was replaced.

1. Fill the reservoir with hydraulic fluid.
2. Lift the rear drive wheels off of the ground using a jack and jack stands.
3. Start the engine. Open the bypass valves, and slowly move the levers forward and back 5-6 times.
4. Close the bypass valves. Move the levers back and forth 5-6 times.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all air has been purged from the system.
6. Top up the fluid reservoir.

Lubrication

Use No. 2 lithium grease on the front casters. All other bearings are sealed.

Blades

The blades can be accessed by shutting off the engine, lifting the front of the mower and supporting it with jack stands. When installing the blades, torque the bolts to 70-80 ft-lbs.

Spring Platform Adjustment

The position of the platform changes the stiffness of the supporting suspension. Moving the platform rearward increases stiffness.

1. Loosen the three bolts on the center of the platform.
2. Slide the platform to the desired position.
3. Tighten the bolts with an impact wrench. These bolts will spin if you attempt to tighten them with hand tools.

When You Need Help with Your Stander, Go to Shank’s

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is more than a Wright dealer: we’ve been selling and servicing outdoor equipment since 1984, so we know these machines inside and out. If you need help with your machine, or you’re looking for a new mower, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We also ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Getting Great Results from Spring Fertilizing

spring fertilizingThere’s more to applying fertilizer than just grabbing a bag from your local home improvement store and sprinkling it on your lawn. These tips will help you pick the right fertilizer mix and apply it correctly to get the best results.

Fertilizer Nutrients

There are plenty of fertilizer blends aimed at different needs from spring planting to winter hibernation, but nothing will get you better results than basing your choices on a soil test. The sooner you submit one to your local extension office, the sooner you’ll be able to lay down fertilizer and amendments to get the right balance of soil nutrients to support your lawn.

Plant nutrients can be broken down into three main groups: N-P-K, secondary nutrients, and trace nutrients. “N-P-K” stands for nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The amounts of these nutrients are written as three percentages separated by dashes. If the label on a 100 lb. bag has “20-5-10” printed on it, that bag contains 20 lbs. of nitrogen, 5 lbs. of phosphorus and 10 lbs. of potassium.

Secondary nutrients include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These nutrients help build cell membranes, chlorophyll, and proteins. While not needed in high amounts, they’re important to plant growth.

Plants also need trace amounts of zinc, boron, copper and other micronutrients. Having too much of these nutrients won’t hurt plants, so they’re sold together as a micronutrient amendment or fertilizer blend. Micronutrients are readily available in most soil types outside of coastal areas.

Soil pH

Even the richest soil won’t be able to feed plants if it’s too acidic or alkaline. For most plants, the soil pH needs to be between 6.0 and 7.0. Lime and wood ash raises pH, while sulfur or aluminum sulfate will lower it. These amendments can be applied separately from fertilizer, or you can buy fertilizers that have them built in so you can balance the pH and feed plants with one application. Either way, they should be applied to freshly aerated lawns to help them reach deep into the soil.

Aluminum sulfate is high in nitrogen, so it’s used in fertilizer blends to both feed plants and reduce soil alkalinity. If you only need to add a small amount of nitrogen, look for a blend or amendment based on sulfur. Lime is available in three forms: regular lime only adjusts pH, calcitic lime also adds calcium to the soil, and dolomitic lime adds magnesium to the soil.

Like fertilizer, these amendments can harm your lawn if too much is used. Wood ash can leave behind lye and salt, while excessive aluminum sulfate will bleach grass.

Weed and Feed, or just Feed?

“Weed and feed” fertilizers contain herbicides to feed your lawn and stop common weeds with a single application. However, these chemicals can also inhibit the growth of new grass. If you plan on overseeding your lawn, use a standard fertilizer or wait a few weeks before planting new grass.

Fertilizer Application Types

Fertilizers are available in organic and synthetic formulas and may be granular or liquid. Each version has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Organic fertilizers release slower than synthetic fertilizers. As a result, synthetic formulas produce results faster, but organic formulas are less likely to cause fertilizer burn.

Granular fertilizer can be spread by a broadcast seed spreader, while liquid fertilizer must be spread with a sprayer. Moss requires its own specialized spreader that chops up clumps and distributes them on the lawn. High-speed equipment including mower attachments and stand-alone motorized units are almost always designed for liquid application. Liquid fertilizers allow foliar absorption. By drawing the liquid nutrients through the leaves, the fertilizer can act up to 20 times faster than ground applications.

Tips for Laying Down Fertilizer

Whether you use a drop or broadcast spreader, it should be calibrated to ensure even application. Each opening on a drop spreader or nozzle on a liquid broadcast spreader should have a spray pattern that reaches the center of the adjoining opening or sprayer.

When applying, use half the recommended drop rate and make two passes perpendicular to each other. This provides even coverage that reduces fertilizer burn and untreated spots that can lead to a discolored lawn.

When You Need Equipment and Parts, Talk to the Experts at Shank’s

Shank’s Lawn Equipment carries a wide range of lawn care equipment including Exmark ZTR broadcast spreaders and JRCO sprayer attachments for professional landscapers as well as Shindaiwa and Echo backpack sprayers for pros and homeowners. If you’re looking for new equipment or need service and parts for your current lawn care tools, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I81 from Exit 10/Marion.

We also ship OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Effective Strategies for Managing Weeds on Your Lawn and in Your Garden

Effective Strategies for Managing Weeds on Your Lawn and in Your GardenBindweed, crabgrass, chickweed, dandelions, and other weeds require individual strategies to eliminate, but there are ways that you can make it harder for all of these plants to take root. These tips will help you stop the spread of weeds and make them easier to remove from your lawn or garden.

Don’t Dig

Usually, only the seeds in the top two inches of the ground will sprout weeds, but if you cultivate, deeper seeds will be brought to the surface where they can grow. Try not to break ground unless it’s absolutely necessary, and expect to fight off weeds if you create a new garden plot or dig holes for fences and landscape features.

Use Ground Cover

Mulch makes it hard for new weeds to reach the surface, organic mulch supports crickets and beetles that will eat weeds, and nutrient-rich ground cover stops the growth of weeds that thrive in poor soil conditions. When applying mulch, keep the layer less than two inches thick to let oxygen reach the root systems of established plants.

Likewise, a thin layer of thatch can make it hard for new seeds to sprout, while boosting the activity of worms and insects that will feast on problem plants. However, too much can cause growth and nutrient problems. If the layer is over ½ inch thick, or you need to overseed, the thatch layer should be removed. Excessive thatch is caused by soil compaction and alkaline soil. Once these issues are corrected, your lawn should form a thin, protective thatch layer requiring minimal care.

Make Physical Weed Removal Easier

If the ground is soft from rain or watering, it will make physically removing weeds a lot easier. An old fork is perfect for pulling out tough roots. Keep a plastic sheet nearby to collect the weeds and dispose of them before they can reconnect with the soil.

Can’t pull out weeds by hand, or find the task too time-consuming? Keep them trimmed. This forces the plant to expend resources on growth instead of making seeds.

Squeeze Them Out

If your lawn is looking thin, consider overseeding to fill in the spaces. Temperate zone lawns can benefit from overseeding both warm and cool season grasses to extend the growing season, while new grass will fill in the spaces left by mature plants.

Spacing recommendations for bushes and other plants are based on keeping them from touching when mature. If you’re adding plants that don’t suffer from foliar (leaf) diseases, you can plant them up to 25% closer than recommended to increase ground cover.

Apply Herbicides According to Schedule

Pre-emergent herbicides kill plants before they have a chance to sprout, so they need to be applied before the plant shows up. These should be used if you know you have an ongoing problem with a particular weed. These chemicals also halt the growth of new grass, so they need to be applied a few weeks before overseeding.

Contact herbicides only kill the parts of the plant they touch, while systemic herbicides are absorbed so they can kill the entire plant. Contact herbicides work quickly, but the remaining root system may be able to grow back its leaves. Systemic herbicides may take weeks to kill weeds, but they’re more thorough. Give systemic herbicides time to work before you switch to a different weed control strategy.

Know When to Choose Granular or Liquid Herbicides

Liquid herbicides can coat everything, which means they’re more effective at killing weeds. However, wind can move the herbicides to areas you don’t want, killing off sensitive, desirable plants. Granular herbicides don’t get full weed contact, but they stay put, and they can be applied with an overseeder or broadcast spreader.

If you’re a professional landscaper, opting for liquid application is the obvious choice: with a spray attachment or stand-alone sprayer, you can recoup equipment costs quickly through decreased labor. However, for gardeners and homeowners, it may be cheaper and easier to stick with granular herbicides, using spray bottles of liquid herbicide to kill individual weeds.

Whatever You Need, Shank’s Lawn Has It

If you need equipment to halt the spread of leaves, keep your lawn green, or do anything else landscape-related, visit Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re an authorized dealer for most major equipment brands including Troy-Bilt, Scag, Shindaiwa, Exmark, and Jrco. We also have a massive parts warehouse and repair everything we sell so we can keep your equipment working. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, one mile East of I-81 Exit 10.

Need parts or accessories for your equipment? We ship OEM replacements across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Spring Overseeding

Exmark Slicer SeederIs your lawn not looking as lush as you’d like, even though you’re doing everything to keep it healthy? Maybe it’s time to consider overseeding. By laying down seed in the spring, you can increase the density of your turf and fill in spaces open to weeds. Here’s how.

Why Overseed in the Spring?

Most overseeding is done in the fall to add cool weather grasses, giving the lawn a second growing season as warm season varieties go into hibernation. However, overseeding in the spring also gives your lawn a boost by increasing grass coverage in the spring and summer.

On average, a blade of grass only lives for around 45 days. During its life, the blade extends roots that in turn grow new blades. As grass matures, this root growth slows until the blades are dying out faster than they’re replaced. After three or four years, this can thin out ground coverage. By planting new seed, the cycle starts over again with fresh growth. This fills in open spaces, increasing grass density for a lush looking lawn. The new growth also competes with weeds for soil, reducing the need for herbicides.

When Should I Overseed?

Temperatures aren’t much of a problem for spring overseeding, but you may run into problems with herbicides. Chemicals aimed at crabgrass prevention can hinder new grass growth up to 16 weeks after application, and broadleaf herbicides can stunt growth up to four weeks after application. If you have trouble with either weed, you may want to put off overseeding until the fall.

Preparing Your Lawn

To give your new grass a good start, any soil issues should be corrected before overseeding. Get a soil test, and add amendments to bring the soil nutrients in line with what the grass will need. Avoid using “weed and feed” fertilizers: the herbicides they contain can inhibit new grass growth.

Cut your lawn as short as possible without cutting into crowns, and bag the clippings. The remaining grass should have a height under two inches. This exposes the maximum amount of soil for good seed contact.

Dethatch the lawn. By pulling back the thatch layer, there will be one less barrier between the seed and the ground.

Blade seeders only relieve surface compaction. By aerating your lawn ahead of time, deeper soil compaction is eliminated, making it easier for new roots to penetrate the soil.

Spreading Seed

The seed manufacturer will recommend a range for application density. Go for the maximum amount recommended if the lawn has never been overseeded, and aim for the lower half of the recommended range if the lawn was overseeded in the past couple years. Keep in mind that most equipment manufacturers recommend making two opposing passes when seeding: you’ll need to lay down half the recommended amount with each pass.

Getting Seed to Take Root

Lightly water the lawn two to three times per day. This will keep the soil moist without washing away the seeds or promoting mold. Once the seeds start sprouting, switch to watering the same total amount of water once per day. This water will go deeper into the soil, promoting root growth.

A high-phosphorus fertilizer may need to be applied with the seed or shortly afterward. Unlike other nutrients, phosphorus, marked “P” on the fertilizer bag, isn’t water soluble, so the new plants can’t access it until their root systems develop. Fertilizers designed for overseeding will include extra phosphorus.

Avoid foot and vehicle traffic on the lawn, and hold off on mowing until the new grass is at least two inches tall. Once that happens, you can return to your usual lawn care routine.

From Aerators to Slicer Seeders, Shank’s Has You Covered

If you have a seeder from Exmark or JRCO, an Echo yard sprayer or anything other piece of outdoor equipment, chances are, you can get the parts and service you need at Shank’s Lawn. We’re an authorized dealer for a wide range of manufacturers from BCS to Yanmar, which means we sell and support everything you need for lawn care. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

Need parts and accessories for your equipment? You can order what you need from your browser and have it shipped anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Just visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Getting Your Equipment Working after Winter Storage

BedEdger-NewSpring is here, and that means the lawn care season will soon be in full swing. These tips will help you get your equipment ready for the spring and avoid common issues that can keep you from getting a good start on the season.

Before You Begin

Look at the ground underneath your equipment for puddles of oil and other fluids. Finding these now will make it easier to track leaks.

Pneumatic Tires

Adding air before moving your equipment will make it easier to roll and keep the tires from separating from the bead. Most lawn and tractor tires have the recommended pressure printed on the sidewall.

If you have a flat tire that has come off the wheel, you can tighten a tow strap on the tread to help push the sidewalls out. This makes it easier to get the beads to reseat.

Air Filter

Rodents love getting paper and foam for their nests, making air filters a primary target. Checking the filter before starting your engine can keep it from drawing in torn bits of material that can cause serious engine damage.

Oil and Lubrication

If you didn’t change the oil at the end of the season, do so now. Even if you only added a few hours to your equipment, oil doesn’t age well.

Add grease to Zerk fittings until it comes out of the seals. This pushes out old grease and dirt, cleaning out the bearing or joint.

Transmission

Most small hydrostatic transmissions found in walk-behind equipment and lawn tractors are sealed for life. Unless these are leaking, they don’t require any maintenance.

Large hydrostatic transmissions and motors used in Zero Turning Radius mowers and tractors are serviceable, but their fluid requirements vary widely. Fluid reservoirs and other components are selected by the equipment manufacturer and not the transmission manufacturer, so it’s best to refer to the manual included with the equipment.

Geared transmissions need to have plenty of clean oil in them, but too much oil can lead to high internal stresses as the fluid expands during operation. Usually, oil can be added until it reaches the edge of a side-mounted fill port, while a fill port on top of the case will need some other measuring method, whether it’s with a built-in dipstick or a stick inserted into the fill hole. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.

Fuel

Stale fuel is a problem for all gas engines, whether it has fuel injection or a carburetor, and whether the tank is full of an ethanol blend or pure gasoline. If you left fuel in the engine, by now it has probably lacquered or corroded part of the fuel system, which may require cleaning to get the engine running.

Single cylinder Honda engines and some Subaru engines have a drain port or removable sediment cup that can be removed to drain the old fuel. On other engines, you will need to disconnect the fuel hose and let the tank drain into a gas container. Once empty, add fresh gas to the fuel tank. Manufacturers generally recommend using fuel up to a month after purchase, but this can be extended up to three months if the fuel is treated with a stabilizer.

Expect the engine to be hard to start and run until the old fuel is burnt off. If the engine still won’t run, the carburetor may need to be cleaned to remove lacquer build-up, and the fuel filter may need to be replaced.

Cables and Belts

Check the belts for cracking, stretching and signs of oil contamination. If any of these are present, replace the belt.

If a control cable is frozen, spray penetrating oil into the space between the cable and cable housing until it starts to drip out of the other end. Slowly work the cable back and forth until it moves freely. Spray a light oil into the housing until it drips out of the other end: this will displace the penetrating oil and protect the cable.

If you find that you can’t adjust a cable out far enough to get it to work, check the belt it’s connected to. If the belt is broken or stretched, no amount of cable tension will get the idler pulley to take up the slack.

Whatever You Need to Fix, Shank’s Lawn Can Help

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for a wide range of small engine and outdoor equipment brands including Shindaiwa, Scag, Echo, Woods, Dixon, Exmark, Hydro-Gear, Honda Engines, and Briggs & Stratton. We offer the parts and accessories you need for your equipment, and we service all the brands we sell. When you need help with your lawn care equipment, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

We also ship OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. If you need something for your equipment, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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New Woods Ditch Bank Cutters

Woods Ditch Bank CuttersIf you need to mow large areas, there’s a good chance that Woods makes a mower deck that’s perfect for your needs: their Batwing cutters lead the market for flexible deck solutions, while their single and multi-spindle cutters make it easy to turn any tractor into a mower. There was just one thing missing: a ditch bank cutter. The new DBH5.31 and DBH6.31 finally fill this niche, offering the reach and flexibility to cut steep slopes. By introducing industry-first features and the largest cutting area to the segment, these attachments are a compelling option for anyone who needs to remove vegetation along roadsides, ditches, and waterways.

Maximum Coverage for Faster Cutting

The DBH6.31 is the only 6-foot wide bank cutter available today, cutting job times when trimming large ditches. If you need something a little more compact, the DBH5.31 is 5 feet wide, but still retains all the features of the 6.31.

Segment-Leading Power

The PTO drives a pump that operates at 19 GPM at 4,000 PSI. With 40 HP of force at the cutting head, the ditch cutters are the most powerful in their class. Blade tip speed is 14,860 feet per minute with a PTO speed of 540 RPM, and 14,441 FPM at 1,000 RPM. This gives the cutter enough power to slice through plants up to two inches in diameter. If you’ll be using the cutter near its maximum capacity, Woods offers an optional hydraulic cooling system. The only one of its kind on the market, it manages hydraulic temperatures to deliver consistent performance and reduce downtime for difficult jobs.

The ½ inch by 4-inch cutting blades are more than up to the task, but sharpening and replacing blades this big can be awkward. Fortunately, these ditch cutters come with Woods’ Quick-Change blade system. This allows the blades to be replaced from the top of the deck using a single ¾ inch wrench.

Deck

The deck has a 9.4 inch deep cutting chamber and uses a deck top made from 10 gauge (0.135 inches) steel supported by 3 x 4-inch tube frame. A two-inch tubular bumper around the perimeter of the deck protects the attachment in collisions. 5/16 inch chain guards surround the deck to deflect debris flying off of the blade.

Control

The built-in hydraulics allow the deck to be pivoted up to 90 degrees both up and down to hug the turf, no matter how steep. A fully hydraulic deck extension arm adds 30 inches of reach, letting the blades reach out up to 152 inches from the tractor. Cutting height can be set anywhere from 2-10 inches. Gauge wheels and a frame-mounted tail wheel can be added, letting you set the cutter against the ground and keep it mowing at a consistent height.

When going to and from work sites, the deck can be folded up for a 119-inch transport width with no frame overhang, keeping the tractor clear of nearby vehicles.

Tractor Compatibility

Both the DBH5.31 and DBH6.31 are designed to be used with tractors rated at 60-150 HP. These cutters attach using Cat 2 and 3 hitches, and they’re quick hitch compatible. They connect to the tractor’s PTO using an ASABE Cat 4 driveline. Counterweights are required for the left side of the tractor.

Warranty

Woods offers a 6-year limited warranty on the gearbox, a 3-year warranty on the spindle, and a one year warranty for the rest of the attachment.

Big or Small, Shank’s Can Help You With Your Outdoor Equipment

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has helped their customers with everything from walk-behind mowers to big commercial equipment like these ditch cutters for over 35 years. If you’re looking to add equipment to your fleet, or need parts and service for your Woods attachments, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA. To get here from I-81, take Exit 10 to Marion and drive East one mile.

We also ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada, making it easy to get what you need to keep your equipment in service. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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The New Woods FZ22-2 ZTR

Woods FZ22-2 ZTRThe new Woods FZ22-2 builds on their popular compact ZTR, improving everything from the mower’s stability to its maintenance access. Add in a line of accessories for jobs ranging from moving snow to cleaning pavement, and you have a machine that can do the job of a ZTR and a garden tractor.

Power

This mower uses a 22 HP Kawasaki FS Series engine mated to a Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 hydrostatic transmission. Together, they’re able to deliver a top speed of 9 mph. The engine comes with a paper air filter and a foam prefilter to keep the engine internals clean, while a rotating grass chopper keeps the outside clean and cool. The transmission uses a spin-on oil filter for easy fluid changes. An 8.5-gallon tank carries enough fuel to run the mower all day.

Comfort and Performance

Speaking of serviceability, this updated mower has a new flip-up seat with a built-in support, making it easy to reach the battery. This seat moves forward and back as well as up and down to get a good position for operators of any size, while the lap bar linkage was redesigned to deliver smoother, lighter action for better control. All of this comes in a package with better weight distribution than the outgoing model for better hill stability.

Decks

The FX22-2 is available with a choice of 54 and 61-inch wide MX decks. This constructed deck is 5 inches deep and uses Woods’ patented V-Baffle system uses a combination of baffles and welded supports to hug the blades. This gives the MX the same amount of vacuum as a stamped deck. A welded bumper protects the shell from bumps.

The deck’s TrueFloat mounting system lets it float front to back and side to side to hug the ground and avoid scalping. Cutting height can be set from 1-5 inches.

Each blade is supported by a greasable spindle with three bearings to spread out the load and reduce wear.

Accessories

Where the FZ22-2 really shines is its variety of accessories. ZTRs are usually limited to mowing, but this mower can handle tasks that would normally require a garden tractor.

The snow thrower attachment clears a 50-inch swath, has a manual discharge chute that rotates 180 degrees, and a deflector that can be adjusted from the operator’s position.

The dozer blade is 60 inches wide and tilts 25 degrees to the right and left.

For pavement cleanup, Woods offers two 60-inch power brooms. The FSW6000F rotates manually 30 degrees to the right, while the FSW6000T can rotate 25 degrees left or right and has a built-in electric lift.

There are also several add-ons that improve usability when moving. By adding the Powertilt lift, you can easily tilt the deck up to take up less space during transport or to get access to the underside for cleaning.

Since the mowing chamber already has baffles, the mulching kit just adds high lift blades and a chute plug to keep grass inside the deck while it’s being chopped up. There’s also a blower-driven grass collection system that actively pulls clippings out of the deck and deposits them into bags with a total of 15 cubic feet of storage.

The headlight kit adds illumination. If you need a little extra room, an extended footrest can be added when the deck, but it gets in the way of the blade and power broom attachments. sunshade

Turf tires standard, but chevron tires available for more grip on hills at the expense of scrubbing. Tire chains are also available for better traction on snow and ice.

Warranty

Kawasaki guarantees the engine for three years, and Hydro-Gear guarantees the ZT-3400 for 6 months. The rest of the FZ22-2 is covered by Woods for two years or 2,000 hours of operation.

When You’re Getting Serious About Lawn Care, Go to Shank’s

For over 35 years, Shank’s Lawn Care has helped homeowners and landscape professionals with their lawn care equipment. We’re an authorized Woods, Hydro-Gear and Kawasaki Power dealer, which means we have the parts and support you need to get the most out of their mowers and attachments. If you’re looking for a new ZTR, or you need help with your current equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s on the south end of town, one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10.

We also ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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