Woods Brushbull Single Spindle Rotary Cutters

When you need to clear thick brush, a mower deck isn’t going to cut it. Woods Equipment’s single spindle brushbill rotary cutters deliver the power you need in a size that works with small and medium tractors. Their thick blades and heavy-duty decks are perfect for clearing land, slicing through brush and saplings with ease. A recent redesign brings easier maintenance and a longer lasting gearbox to the line.
 
 
What’s New for Woods’ Rotary Cutter Line?
 
Woods completely redesigned their line of single spindle cutters, making them more durable, easier to use, and easier to maintain.
 
The deck top now has a large blade access hole. The blades are mounted on greasable quick change pins that can be accessed from this hole. As a result, blades can be removed and installed without needing access to the underside of the deck.
 
An adjustable driveline hanger is now standard on all models. This keeps the driveline close to the level  of the PTO. When you’re ready to connect to the cutter, you only need to lift the driveline an inch or two to make the connection.
 
A new corner angle back provides extra space for tractor tires, so you can lift the cutter up high without worrying about rubbing. Replaceable full length bolt-on skid shoes protect the bottom edge of the deck. Heavy-duty models have shoes with builtin height adjustment.
 
The deck top is sloped, which helps debris slide off. Look underneath, and you’ll find baffles around the rear of the deck. This increases vacuum for better cut quality. All versions of the brushbill cutter use ½ x 4 inch blades. Woods offers optional chain shielding that wraps around the back of the deck to deflect debris.
 
The rear is protected by a steel bumper that is twice as thick as competitors. This bumper is supported by a Z-channel frame for extra strength and durability.
 
The gearbox is a new, stronger design with a longer service life. Woods has increased the gearbox warranty to 6 years. This covers everything including the seals.
 
 
Models
 
Depending on the model, these brush cutters can connect to CAT 1 or 2 three point hitches. All models are quick hitch compatible, and they’re designed for a PTO speed of 540 RPM.
 
BB48.30
 
Works with CAT 1 hitches
Cuts brush up to 2 inches in diameter
10.5 inch deep deck
Gearbox rated for 65 HP
48 inch cutting width, 55 inch transport width
 
BB60.30
 
Works with CAT 1 hitches
Cuts brush up to 2 inches in diameter
10.5 inch deep deck
Gearbox rated for 65 HP
60 inch cutting width, 67.3 inch transport width
 
BB60.50
 
Works with CAT 1 and CAT 2 hitches
Cuts brush up to 3 inches in diameter
12.7 inch deep deck
Gearbox rated for 150 HP
60 inch cutting width, 67.3 inch transport width
 
BB60.60
 
Works with CAT 1 and CAT 2 hitches
Cuts brush and saplings up to four inches in diameter
12.7 inch deep deck
Gearbox rated for 210 HP
60 inch cutting width, 67.3 inch transport width
 
 
Get the Professional Support You Need for Your Professional Equipment’s
 
Shank’s Lawn Equipment has been helping professional landscapers with their equipment since 1985. We can set you up with a brush cutter that fits your needs, and take care of the parts and repairs you need to keep it working. If you need something that can tackle the toughest landscaping jobs, stop by our shop at at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also visit us online at www.shankslawn.com. Here, you can see the equipment we have in stock, and you can order parts and accessories for anything we sell. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Cub Cadet Hydro Walk-Behind Mowers

When you mow lawns for a living, you often find yourself dealing with two extremes. Lawn tractors and ZTRs can make quick work of large spaces, but they can’t get into areas that are surrounded by landscape features and buildings. Walk behind mowers can get into these spaces, but they’re slow. Cub Cadet hydro walk-behind mowers are designed to strike a balance between these two extremes. Their delicate controls and compact size help them get to places other mowers can’t reach, yet they’re also fast enough for wide open spaces.
 
 
Performance
 
All models in the Hydro Walk-Behind series are powered by Kawasaki’s FS481V V-twin. This 603cc engine produces 14.5 HP. An hour meter on the control panel makes it easy to keep track of maintenance.
 
The Pro HW series uses a pair of Hydro-Gear ZT 2800 hydrostatic motors. These commercial quality units can propel the mower to a top speed of 7 MPH going forward, and 3 MPH in reverse. A speed control lever allows the operator to adjust the mower’s top speed. This way, it can be limited to walking speeds when using the mower as a walk-behind, or when trimming around obstacles. Connect a one or two-wheel sulky, and the mower’s full speed can be put to use. The HW has a large pad mounted to the control tower, so the operator can lean against it when using a sulky. The drive system also has cruise control for wide open areas.
 
Normally, making tracking adjustments is a lengthy process. You have to stop and start the hydraulic motors repeatedly, while using a screwdriver to make tiny adjustments to the hydrostatic motor valves.  These mowers have a single adjustment knob under the dash. If the mower starts to pull in one direction, just turn the knob to compensate.
 
 
A Solution for Fine Control
 
Stiction is a major obstacle when it comes to fine control of hydraulic systems. It takes considerably more effort to get a control lever to start moving than it does to keep it moving. If you’re using a front loader on the tractor, this movement can make the bucket jump around. If you’re using the drive controls on a mower, that sudden motion can push the deck into landscaping instead of around it.
 
Cub Cadet addresses this issue by using ball bearing linkages for the hydrostatic drive levers. This all but eliminates friction between the levers and the drive motors for smooth engagement. The result is a fine level of control that matches that of a push mower.
 
 
Deck
 
The fabricated deck shell is made from 10 gauge steel with 7 gauge reinforcements along the bottom edges and deck top. The spindles are completely sealed, making them maintenance free. These decks are fitted with Marbain blades. This proprietary alloy resists wear longer than other blade materials.
 
The decks on these mowers have 7 cutting height positions ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.
 
 
Models
 
All versions of the Pro HW are identical, aside from the deck size.
 
Pro HW 336: 36 inch deck
Pro HW 348: 48 inch deck
Pro HW 354: 54 inch deck
 
 
We Can Help You Find the Perfect Mower
 
Shank’s Lawn Equipment has helped professionals with their outdoor equipment for over 35 years. We carry most commercial lawn mower brands, including Honda, Cub Cadet, Exmark and Scag. If you need a new mower, or you need help with your current mowers, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
 
We also ship OEM parts and accessories for every brand we carry. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can order from us by visiting our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Tips for Trimming and Pruning Trees

Do you want to shape your trees to better fit your lawn’s layout? Are you worried about broken limbs and low-hanging branches? These tips will help you prune and trim your trees to get the results you want while maintaining the health of your plants.
 
 
Cutting Off Branches
 
Cutting in stages helps the tree develop a callous over the bare wood. Shortening the branch first takes the weight off of the tree, so you can make a clean final cut.
 
Start by making a cut half way through the underside of the branch about 18 inches above where the branch meets the trunk. Next, make a cut on the top side of the branch one inch farther from the trunk than your previous cut. The resulting L-shaped cut will remove most of the branch without splitting the wood. Finally, make a 45 degree angle cut against the branch collar. This area has thicker bark than the rest of the branch. The finished cut should sit flush against the collar without a stub sticking out.
 
 
Pruning
 
Pruning can begin as soon as the tree is planted. During the plant’s first season, pruning should be limited to removing broken or diseased branches. After the first winter, you can start pruning the plant to give it shape. Pruning can be divided into four categories.
 
Crown thinning: This reduces branch density, which improves air and sunlight penetration. It also takes weight off of long branches. Never remove more than 20% of the branches from the canopy.
 
Crown reduction: This is like crown thinning, but only lateral branches are removed. This pruning method encourages new growth.
 
Crown raising: Removing low-hanging limbs makes it easier to walk under the tree. It’s easy to trim too much. The total thickness of low branches should be at least 60% of the trunk width.
 
Crown cleaning: This is the removal of dead and damaged branches.
 
When should you prune? It depends on the situation and the type of tree.
 
– Always remove damaged and diseased branches as soon as possible.
 
– The best time to trim and shape most trees is in mid to late winter. Once the tree comes out of dormancy, it will recover quickly from the cuts. Don’t worry if the tree leaks sap. This is natural, and won’t harm the tree. The flow of sap will usually stop once the tree starts budding.
 
– Trimming in late summer after peak growth can be useful for managing branch growth. Removing leaves reduces the amount of sugars the plant is able to generate for growth.
 
– Tree varieties that bloom early, like apricot and magnolia, are fueled by growth from the previous season. If you trim these plants in the winter, they won’t bloom. Instead, trim these plants right after they bloom in the spring.
 
– Late blooming trees like dogwood and hawthorn bloom better if they’re trimmed early in the season. This takes some of the nutrient load off of the tree, so it can focus its energies on making flowers for the remaining branches.
 
 
Get the Tools You Need for Better Landscaping
 
Shank’s Lawn Equipment is the best place to get any type of landscaping tool, from groundbreaking implements to mowers. We carry multi-tools, hedge trimmers and chainsaws from most major brands, including Echo, Shindaiwa, Bear Cat and Honda. If you’re looking for tools to help you take care of your trees and shrubs, or you need service for your current equipment, come see us. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
 
Need parts or accessories for your lawn care equipment? We can ship what you need to any address in the United States or Canada. To order, visit us at www.shankslawn.com.

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Woods Augers and Post Hole Diggers

Even if a one or two man auger can dig the holes you need, they take a lot of time and effort to use. Augers and post hole diggers from Woods Equipment don’t just let you drill bigger holes, they let you drill faster. These augers are made to fit a wide range of vehicles, including tractors, skid steers, backhoes and excavators. Using these tools, you can prepare land for fencing, create holes for foundation piles and more.
 
 
Post Hole Diggers
 
These augers are designed to be mounted to a three point hitch and driven by a tractor PTO. Twin supports mounted to the gearbox create three points of contact, while a long handle at the top of the swivel joint helps line up the auger. If you have an open tractor, this handle will usually be within reach of the operator’s position. This makes it easy to drill at an offset, whether you need to drill a hole at an angle, or make up for tool movement when drilling a straight hole.
 
The booms on these diggers can be set to four positions, so they’ll work with most tractors. The gearbox is designed to work with a 540 RPM PTO. If the auger bit gets hung up, a shear bolt stops torque transfer, protecting drive components. All models can be fitted with an optional 12 inch auger extension for digging deeper holes.
 
PD25.20
 
Supports 6, 9 and 12 inch augers up to 36 inches long
Compatible with CAT 1 and Limited CAT 1 hitches
Works with 14-25 HP tractors
 
PE35.50
 
Supports 6, 9 and 12 inch augers up to 48 inches long
Compatible with CAT 1 three point hitches
Works with 20-35 HP tractors
 
PD95.50
 
Supports 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 inch diameter augers, up to 48 inches long
Compatible with CAT 1 hitches
35-95 HP tractors
 
 
Hydraulic Augers
 
These augers are designed to use hydraulic power from a backhoe, excavator or skid steer. Once mounted to the front arms of the machine, they can operate at a 40 or 50 degree attack angle.
 
The gearbox uses a planetary drive system, spreading out the load over multiple teeth. This makes these augers ideal for cutting through hard soil. Woods offers these augers with a choice of standard, hardface and carbide teeth, letting you balance cutting strength with durability. All models support auger diameters ranging from 6 to 36 inches. Woods recommends using the HA15E and HA20E for general construction use, while the HA30E and HA35E are built for heavy duty digging tasks.
 
 
HA15E
 
Maximum depth: 10 feet
Hydraulic fluid pressure range: 1,500-3,750 PSI
Auger speed
20 GPM: 104 RPM
25 GPM: 129 RPM
 
HA20E
 
Maximum depth: 10 feet
Hydraulic fluid pressure range: 1,500-3,750 PSI
Auger speed
20 GPM: 66 RPM
25 GPM: 82 RPM
30 GPM: 99 RPM
 
HA30E
 
Maximum depth: 20 feet
Hydraulic fluid pressure range 1,500-5,000 PSI
Auger speed
30 GPM: 92 RPM
35 GPM: 107 RPM
40 GPM: 123 RPM
 
HA35E
 
Maximum depth: 20 feet
Hydraulic fluid pressure range: 1,500-5,000 PSI
Auger speed
35 GPM: 87 RPM
40 GPM: 99 RPM
45 GPM: 111 RPM
 
 
We Have More than Just Mowers
 
Shank’s Lawn Equipment carries a wide range of outdoor power equipment for both residential and commercial use, including attachments from Woods. As a certified dealer, we service everything we sell, so we can help you keep your equipment running. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
 
Do you need parts or accessories for your Woods attachments? We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Choosing a Snowblower

Choosing a snowblower can be confusing with all the options available. Here’s everything you need to know to get the right model, from the size to the starter.
 
 
How Big Does the Snowblower Need to Be?
 
Generally speaking, you should buy something with a little more capacity than you think you’ll need. This lets you use less than the full capacity of your blower to compensate for heavy snow.  Expect to overlap at least 20% with each pass, and up to 50% if the snow is particularly dense, or it’s near the maximum height capacity of the snowblower.
 
 
How Many Stages Do I Need?
 
A single stage snowblower has a single auger that picks up, chops and throws snow. That’s a lot of work for one set of blades, so you’ll only see the smallest residential models use this design.
 
A dual stage auger adds an impeller that helps chop up snow and push it through the chute. This design is used by most large residential and commercial blowers.
 
Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet make three stage snowblowers. They have a second auger between the main auger and the chute impeller. This added stage helps break up heavy snow and ice. These machines are a great choice if you frequently deal with heavy snowfall.
 
 
Wheels or Tracks?
 
A track drive is better at climbing slopes and has better grip on packed snow. This makes it a great choice for clearing snowbanks and picking up snow that has been driven on. Wheeled snowblowers are easier to turn, reducing the effort needed to clear driveways and parking lots.
 
 
What Drive System Works Best?
 
Small single stage blowers are pushed like a walk-behind mower. The action of the auger helps pull the machine forward. Since these machines are light, it doesn’t take much effort to move or turn them.
 
A gear drive is simple and inexpensive, but it can be hard to deal with. Most of the time, you’ll have to use a gear that is a little too fast or slow for the snow you’re clearing. The drive system does not assist with turning.
 
A hydrostatic drive lets you vary the speed infinitely, so you can go as fast as your snowblower can handle. Some models have dual hydraulic motors. This lets you engage the wheels separately, turning the snowblower like it’s a ZTR mower.
 
Honda’s HS1336iAS snowblower has a hybrid drive system. The engine only powers the augers, while the tracks use electric motors. This gives you extra torque for climbing hills, and it lets you transport the blower with the engine off.
 
 
Do I Need Drift Cutters?
 
These blades mount on the sides of the snowblower, slicing through snow that extends above the auger housing. They’re useful for knocking piles of snow from snow drifts into the auger for removal.
 
 
Do I want AC or Battery Electric Start?
 
An AC starter plugs into a household outlet. You never need to worry about having enough power to turn the engine over. However, you also need ready access to an outlet. This makes it a great choice for home snow clearing, but not for commercial use.
 
A battery starter can be used anywhere, but this adds the trouble and expense of battery maintenance.
 
 
Get the Equipment You Need This Winter
 
Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services snowblowers from several major brands, including Honda, Cub Cadet, Troy Bilt and MultiOne. If you’re looking for a new snowblower, or need help fixing your current snowblower, visit our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile off of I-81 from Exit 10. We also ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Shindaiwa Chainsaws: A Great Choice for Hobbyists and Professionals

While Echo may be more famous for chainsaws, their parent company, Shindaiwa, also makes some great saws of their own. Which one is right for you?
 
 
What Do You Get with a Shindaiwa Chainsaw?
 
Every Shindaiwa is designed for commercial duty. They aren’t just durable, they’re also easy to maintain. The air filter can be accessed without tools, and the chain adjuster is mounted on the side for quick tension changes. Their “Youcan” maintenance kits have all the parts you need for scheduled maintenance and common repairs, including tune-ups and fuel line replacements.
 
All engines used in these chainsaws are traditional two-strokes. Shindaiwa uses upgraded professional engines in their larger saws. These use better air filtration systems for a longer service life.
 
All chainsaws are backed by a one year warranty for commercial users, while residential users are protected for 5 years.
 
 
Models
 
305S
 
This compact saw tips the scales at 8.8 lbs. without the bar and chain. The 30.5cc engine comes with Shindaiwa’s i-30 starting system, which has a secondary spring built into the recoil starter. This helps kick the engine over, even on slow pulls. The 305 is compatible with 14-inch bars.
 
340S
 
Want more power without adding weight? The 340S has a 34cc engine and can use a 16-inch bar. Otherwise, it’s identical to the 305S, down to the weight.
 
358TS
 
This model is targeted at arborists, balancing weight and power to minimize strain over the work day. The top handle has a palm rest, and both handles are positioned to keep the hands in a natural position. This reduces hand and wrist fatigue.
 
The 358TS has a 35.8 cc professional grade engine and can be used with a 14 or 16-inch bar. It weighs 8 lbs.
 
 
402S
 
This is Shindaiwa’s value professional chainsaw. It has a 40.2cc professional grade engine with an i-30 starter. The G-Force pre-cleaner uses centrifugal force to push large dirt particles out of the air box before they reach the filter, extending service intervals
 
The 402S can use a 16 or 18-inch bar. It weighs 10.1 lbs.
 
491S
 
At first glance, the 491S seems like it’s just a beefed-up 402S. It comes with a 50.2cc engine, and it supports a 16, 18 or 20 inch bar. It also comes with a G-force pre-cleaner. However, you also get a dual post chain brake and a chrome-plated cylinder to extend the saw’s service life. A magnesium crankcase that helps keep weight down to 10.6 lbs.
 
591
 
This big saw is made specifically for cutting firewood The massive 59.8 cc engine give the 591 the power to run an 18 or 20-inch bar. A decompression valve makes the engine easier to turn over, while a G-force pre-filter and two-piece air filter protects the motor from excessive wear. The 591 has a translucent fuel tank, letting you check the level at a glance. It weighs 13.2 lbs.
 
600SX
 
Like the 591, but want more power? Tuning and gearing changes give the 600SX the power to run 20, 24 and 27-inch bars, while dual bumper spikes make it easier to control. It weighs 13.7 lbs.
 
 
Whether You’re a Pro or Hobbyist, Shank’s Has the Equipment and Support You Need
 
Are you looking for a new chainsaw? Come see the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’ve been helping residential and commercial customers with their outdoor equipment for 35 years. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
 
Do you need some parts or a tuneup kit for your Shindaiwa chainsaw? We can ship the OEM parts you need to any address in the USA or Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Choosing a Pressure Washer

With so many factors at play from multiple power measurements to nozzle designs, picking out a pressure washer can be confusing. This breakdown will help you understand what all these numbers and choices mean, so you can find a machine that fits your needs.
 
 
Power: GPM, PSI and CU
 
There are three measurements for pressure washer power:
 
– Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) is the amount of water pressure
– Gallons per minute (GPM) is the amount of water coming out of the nozzle
– Cleaning Units (CU) is GPM multiplied by PSI
 
Cleaning power depends on both pressure and volume, so CU gives you the best picture of the washer’s performance. This is easy to overlook, since most residential pressure washers emphasize PSI. For example, let’s say you’re comparing Vortexx’s light duty pressure washers. If you look at PSI, they seem to be about the same. However, there’s a big difference when you factor in volume.
 
2700LD: 2,700 PSI x 2.5 GPM = 6,750 CU
2750LD: 2,750 PSI x 3 GPM = 8,250 CU
 
The 2750LD makes only 50 more PSI than the 2700LD, but thanks to a flow rate increase of 0.5 GPM, it provides 22% more cleaning power.
 
 
Power Washer Nozzles: A Size for Every Job
 
Most pressure washers come with 5 nozzles.  The black nozzle can pick up detergent from the soap system and spray it on the surface you’re cleaning. The other four nozzles have different spray patterns from a 40 degree white nozzle to a 0 degree red nozzle. Each nozzle has a specific cleaning use, from washing cars to removing rust and dirt from bare metal.
 
Concentrating the spray increases force, but it doesn’t increase cleaning power. If you use a nozzle with too small of an angle, you can damage the surface you’re cleaning. If you need more cleaning power, you need a pressure washer with a higher output.
 
 
Pump Design: Triplex or Axial
 
While there are several pump designs on the market, most pressure washers use either an axial or a triplex pump.
 
An axial pump uses an impeller to move water. This pump connects directly to the engine shaft. These pumps are cheap, but their output is limited. They also wear out quickly, so they’re mostly used in residential pressure washers.
 
A triplex pump has three pistons that move up and down to pump water. This pump design connects to the engine using a gearbox. By changing the gear ratios, the manufacturer can increase the pump speed to deliver more pressure. These pumps last a long time, so they’re great for commercial use.
 
 
Hot Water or Cold Water?
 
Hot water is more effective at cleaning than cold water, but it also makes buying and fueling the pressure washer more expensive. With the heater turned off, the machine works like any other pressure washer. Turn it on, and the hot water coming out of the nozzle cuts through grease, oil, glue and tar with ease. Hot water systems are a great choice for cleaning vehicles and heavy equipment. They’re also the only effective way to remove old chewing gum from pavement.
 
 
We’re More than Just Mowers
 
Shank’s Lawn sells and services all types of small engine equipment, including pressure washers. We’re a certified dealer for Cub Cadet and Vortexx pressure washers, and we service pumps from popular brands, including AR and Cat Pumps. If you’re looking for a new pressure washer, or you need help with your current unit, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
 
We also ship factory parts and accessories across the United States and Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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The 5 Most Common Lawn Care Mistakes

Not all of us work on landscaping for a living, but we still need to take care of our lawns. Even if you don’t know the difference between an N-P-K and a perennial, you can make some small changes to your lawn care routine to get better results. These tips will help you address the most common lawn care mistakes, so you can get a better looking yard with minimal effort.

Mistake #1: Not Testing the Soil Before Adding Fertilizers

Is your soil low in nutrients, like nitrogen or phosphorus? Is it too acidic or basic for your grass to thrive? Could your weed problems be caused by soil conditions that make your lawn easy for weeds to grow? The only way to find out is with a soil test. Attempt to fertilize your lawn without this information, and you’ll either get poor results from lack of nutrients, or damage your plants by adding too much.

To get the best results, get several soil samples across your lawn. Dig several holes 6-8 inches deep, and mix the soil from these holes together in a bucket. Spread out the soil and let it dry before sending it to your local extension office. Do this long before you plan on fertilizing your lawn: it will take at least two weeks to get the results. The report will tell you what’s missing from your lawn, including nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and trace minerals. It will also warn you about anything that may be hazardous to plants and people, including aluminum and lead. From there, you can choose the right combination of fertilizer and adjuncts to bring your soil’s nutrients and pH into balance.

Mistake #2: Cutting the Grass Too Short

The shorter you cut the grass, the less often you have to mow it, right? While technically true, you’ll probably end up mowing less often because you damaged the grass. Do a little research into the grass varieties you have on your lawn. Each type of grass has its preferred minimum height, which can range from ½ inch to two inches.

When mowing, never cut more than 1/3 of the total height of the leaves at one time. Cutting any more is too much of a shock to the plant, stunting its growth. If you’re dealing with tall grass, mow in stages, giving the grass a couple days between cuts to recover.

Mistake #3: Mowing with Dull Blades

A dull blade tears instead of cuts. These jagged edges are effectively wounds that offer a pathway for diseases to enter. Your mower’s blades should be as sharp as a butter knife and have a consistent edge from center to tip.

How often do you need to sharpen your mower’s blades? That depends on where and how you mow. A typical homeowner may only need to sharpen once per season, while landscapers may need to sharpen their blades every week. Running over rocks and scalping the ground wears the edge down prematurely. It’s a good idea to inspect your blades after either of these happens. Likewise, you should always sharpen your blades after using your mower to cut up soil plugs left over from aerating. No matter how carefully you mow, blade wear will always be faster in areas with sandy soil.

Mistake #4: Always Bagging Lawn Clippings

Bagging leaves the best finish, but it’s rarely the best method for keeping your grass healthy. For most mowing, you should mulch. By slicing grass up into small pieces, it can be broken down quickly, returning nutrients to the soil.

Bagging should only be used if you need to eliminate weed seeds, or you’re getting ready to cut away the turf to replace it with sod. It’s also useful for removing excess leaves in the fall.

Side discharge mowing is a good option if the grass is too thick to mulch properly. However, it doesn’t mean you have to leave lines of clippings on your lawn. Make a second pass to chop up the clippings, so you can return them to the soil.

Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Equipment

Buying the cheapest thing on the shelf at your local home improvement store is a surefire strategy for frustration. The next time you need outdoor equipment, visit Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’ve been in the power equipment business since the 1980s, helping homeowners and professionals with their lawn care tools. We carry most major brands, including Honda, Cub Cadet, Echo, Billy Goat, and Troy Bilt, so we have exactly what you need to get the job done. We also have a full service department and a massive parts warehouse to help you keep your equipment running. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada.

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Keeping Your Lawn Green During Peak Summer Temperatures

Watering Your Lawn in the SummerIs it possible to have a great looking lawn through the summer? Yes, but it takes some planning. Using the right mowing and watering techniques, you can help your grass survive the hottest, driest parts of the summer, and still stay green. These tips will help you address common summer lawn issues, and let you know when it’s time to step back and let your lawn turn brown.

Why is Summer Stressful to Grass?

In most areas, there’s less rain in the summer, which means more irrigation is needed to make up the difference. Heat stresses grass directly, but it also increases evaporation, drying the soil out further. To keep grass healthy, lawn care should focus on keeping the soil moist, while removing factors that can strain grass growth.

Use Your Grass to Shade the Soil

Let your grass grow longer in the summer. The blades shade the ground, protecting the root system, and reducing evaporation. Most warm-season grasses remain healthy at heights up to three inches. Bermuda thrives at a maximum height of 2 ½ inches, while Bahia and buffalo varieties can grow up to four inches high.

Water to Keep Soil Moist

The deeper you can get water to penetrate the soil, the better your grass will be at handling the heat. For most grass varieties, you want to add 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Dividing this up into one or two applications each week will help saturate the soil across the entire root system.

Timing irrigation is a balancing act. On one hand, you don’t want the water to evaporate. On the other hand, putting down so much water at one time encourages fungal infections. Ideally, you should water early in the morning, just before the sun comes up. This gives the time for the soil to absorb the water while letting any standing water evaporate once the sun is up. If you have an irrigation system with a timer, set it to activate around 5-6 am.

Protecting the Grass from Other Sources of Stress

A dull mower blade breaks off the ends of your grass instead of slicing them. This opens up your lawn to infections. If you see jagged tips on your grass after you mow, you need to sharpen your blades.

If you have a pet in your yard, their urine can take a toll on your grass. Urine has a high nitrogen content. Between a lack of water in the summer and your dog or cat’s habit of using the same spot for potty breaks, there’s a high chance of having burns. Spray down the area with water to dilute the nitrogen as soon as possible, and keep the area watered to help plants bounce back.

Now is not a good time to fertilize your lawn, or treat it with herbicides and insecticides. If you have a weed problem, stick to contact herbicides. Since they’re only applied directly to the weed, they’re less likely to affect the surrounding grass.

My Lawn Turned Brown. Now What?

Your lawn probably isn’t dead, it’s just dormant. In times of drought and heat stress, your grass will shut down its leaves to focus nutrients and water on the roots to keep the plant alive. How do you tell the difference between dormant and dead grass? Dormant grass turns brown across your lawn, while grass will die in patches. However, if your irrigation system doesn’t have good coverage, you may have dormant spots outside of the water’s reach.

Usually, grass can stay dormant for up to a month before it starts to die. Trying to revive grass immediately after it goes dormant adds more stress, which may end up killing it. Instead, wait until the weather is more favorable, either because of increased precipitation or lower temperatures. If you see some green reappearing, it’s safe to resume watering and mowing your lawn.

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has Everything You Need for Lawn Care

From mowers to towable spray tanks, we carry every type of outdoor equipment you may need to take care of your lawn. Need help with your equipment? Shank’s is an authorized service center for most major brands of residential and professional equipment. We also have a massive parts warehouse, and we ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.  Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Yanmar SA Series Tractors: When Lawn and Garden Tractors Just Won’t Cut It

Yanmar SA Series TractorsIs your garden tractor not cutting it? Do you wish you had a tractor, but can’t justify their high price? Maybe what you need is a Yanmar SA series. These compact tractors bridge the gap between tractors and lawn equipment, offering a mix of features that make them flexible, powerful, and easy to use.

Attachments: What Makes a Tractor a Tractor

No matter how big a garden tractor may be, attachment use is limited. At most, you may be able to add a snow blade or pull a grass seeding trailer. With the SA Series, you get three places to attach implements, either built for these tractors by Yanmar, or by third parties using industry-standard fittings.

At the rear of these tractors, you’ll find a standard three-point hitch. The PTO has a 35mm (1 3/8 inch) outside diameter with  6 splines, and it can spin at 554 or 3,200 RPM. This makes it compatible with a wide range of aftermarket equipment, including everything from brush mowers to snow blowers.  Yanmar makes a backhoe that fits this hitch.

There’s a second mid-mounted PTO designed for under-frame attachments. It has an SAE 16/32 inch PTO with 15 splines, and it can spin at 2,057 or 3,200 RPM. Yanmar offers a 60-inch mowing deck for this attachment point, making the SA Series a great replacement for a lawn tractor.

The SA series also supports front-mounted attachments with connections to the tractor’s hydraulic system. The hydraulic pump moves up to 4.3 gallons of fluid per minute, giving it the power to operate attachments including front loader buckets, forks, and hay spears. Yanmar even offers their own boom loader for this hitch, as well as a grading blade, snow blade, and rotary broom.

Lawn Tractor Usability with Tractor Capability

These tractors use a hydrostatic drive that’s just as easy to use as the units on lawn tractors. It uses two pedals to control forward and rearward motion, with no need to use a gear shift or hand throttle to set the speed. Top speed is 8.6 MPH going forward, and 6.3 MPH in reverse. Selectable four-wheel drive gives these tractors added grip on soft surfaces. Yanmar designed every part of the drivetrain in-house, so these components are built to work together for maximum efficiency.

Since there are no shifters, the operator position has a large, flat footboard. Coupled with the high backed seat and armrests, this makes the SA more comfortable to use than most full-size tractors.  Like a full-size tractor, these models have hydraulic steering. Instead of spinning a steering shaft, turning the wheel controls valves that move the steering rack left and right. This eliminates bump steer and reduces vibration. A full-frame quells vibrations before they can reach the seat and controls.

The ROPS protects the operator from rollovers, and it folds down, reducing the tractor’s total height by 20 inches for storage. The SA Series comes with front and ROPS-mounted work lights, as well as side marker lights for visibility.

The SA Series is powered by Yanmar’s famously reliable liquid-cooled diesels. They’re guaranteed with a 5-year powertrain warranty. The built-in 6.1-gallon fuel tank will keep this tractor running all day.

Models

Yanmar makes three versions of the SA Series: the 221, the 324, and the 424.

The 221 is built to be a low-cost upgrade from lawn and garden tractors. It comes with an engine that makes 19.4 HP.

The 324 is targeted at 3-5 acre properties. It has an engine that produces 21.7 HP, so it can handle larger implements than the 221.

The 424 is a 324 outfitted for earth moving. Bigger tires give it 9.9 inches of ground clearance, 1.4 inches more than the 324. It comes with a YL210 front loader attachment from the factory.

Looking for Better Lawn Care Tools? We Can Help.

Looking for something with more flexibility than a standard garden tractor? Shank’s Lawn equipment carries Yanmar tractors, BCS America two-wheel tractors, and MultiOne mini loaders. Looking for implements? We also carry OEM attachments from these brands, as well as products from Woods Equipment. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also see our current inventory and order OEM parts and accessories at www.shankslawn.com. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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