Beyond blades

Features - Maintenance

Mowers can be used in many different ways with the right attachments.

July 10, 2014
Hilary Daninhirsch

BJ Brownlee gets the most out of his fleet of 12-15 commercial walk-behinds and zero-turn mowers thanks to attachments. During the fall, Brownlee, owner of the 15-employee Archway Lawncare and Landscaping in St. Louis, uses a bagger attachment with a vacuum on the side of the company’s zero-turn mowers.

“It cuts our manpower by about 40 percent as opposed to raking and blowing,” Brownlee says. Also in the fall, the company, which projects revenue of $850,000 this year, employs a leaf blade attachment on walk-behind mowers, which Brownlee says functions like a snow blower.

“A lot of customers have curbside leaf pick up. We just have to push it to the curb and the city picks it up. It saves a ton of time from raking it, tarping it and putting it to the curb,” he says.

In the fall and spring, Archway uses mulching blades when serving its customer bas – 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial. In the fall, the company uses them to mulch up leaves, and in the winter the blades mulch up dead winter debris putting nutrients back into the ground. He says it helps the environment rather than taking the clippings back to the landfill.

Green on green.

Steve Daehnert is the fleet manager of the Texas-based Native Land Design, which posted $10 million in revenue last year. The company, with 130 regular employees and 200 seasonal employees, serves Austin and Houston.

The lawn mower fleet number is more than 100, including about 40 percent zero-turn mowers.

“On our zero-turn mowers, we use mulching kits to recycle clippings, and provide a margin of safety for our customers, employees and bystanders from discharging debris, rocks, etc.,” Daehnert says.

The company uses the GHS (Grass Handling System) to cut, vacuum and bag in one pass. “This is a more time efficient approach to bagging that saves our customers money and us time,” he says.

Four seasons.

The 22 employees of the Derry, N.H.-based North Point Outdoors make regular use of lawn mower attachments in its 12-mower fleet.

David Fairburn, president of the company, whose customer base is 60 percent commercial and 40 percent residential, estimates revenue this year of $2.4 million.

The mower attachments Fairburn utilizes revolve around the seasons. In the spring, North Point breaks out its dethatching attachments, which Fairburn says, “exposes the soil to nutrients, air and water and it removes dead and not yet decaying grass to open the lawn for new growth.”

In the midst of the high season, the company switches over to an edging attachment, used for cutting new edges into existing planting beds to prepare for mulch installation. “That reduces the hand labor required to shovel out the edges,” Fairburn says.

The favorite attachment for North Point, though, is the leaf plow, as it is a huge time saver. “During the fall leaf clean up, the crews will collect the grass into large piles or rows and utilize the leaf plow to move mass amounts of leaves across the properties to a wood line or to a dump truck for removal,” he says.

Fairburn added that this task, which would take five guys an hour using backpack blowers, would take one guy only 10 minutes with a leaf plow.

“Attachments give you the ability to get the value out of the lawn mower in more ways than cutting grass,” Fairburn says.


The author is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.