Deciding how to tackle the landscaping jobs ahead of you, no matter what time of year, can be tough. Several types of rake attachments are available and, depending on your job requirements, each offers specific benefits. Finding the right rake attachment for your needs can increase your productivity, allowing you to move on to your next job quicker—ultimately increasing your profit.
When starting a landscape project, you first need to create manageable soil if it isn’t already present. Grader rake attachments feature strong, evenly spaced tines designed to separate debris for site cleanup and scarify and level compacted soils.
Grader rakes are best for applications that require the clearing of coarse materials, such as sticks, bricks, rocks, and roots on a jobsite. It is not recommended for preparing soil for grass seeding because its tines create long striations that allow seed to fall too far into the ground, creating stripes in a lawn, a landscaping faux pas.
Grader rakes can typically be adjusted to better suit specific tasks. For instance, using the attachment for rough leveling or scarification may require a different rake angle or attachment to the wheel arm than if you are using it to push large quantities of loose material. Read your operator’s manual for the proper positioning for each task.
Once you’ve cleared away excess debris from your jobsite and have it leveled to the appropriate grade, you can begin preparing your soil for seeding. Auto rakes utilize a bucket with either a rake chain or a bar with teeth on it to remove smaller rocks and debris from loose soil and sift the surface layer of the soil to effectively groom and finish it for seed or sod. Unlike the grader rake, an auto rake can collect, transport, and dump debris quickly and easily, and must be operated in reverse.
Before using an auto rake attachment, be sure that the area is free of all boulders larger than roughly 6 inches in diameter, logs and large tree branches, wire, lumber, and any other item that is too large for the bucket or could get wrapped around the rake chain. It is also important to make sure that the soil is relatively loose and that any compacted areas have been tilled with another piece of equipment to a depth of 2 inches or deeper. Attempting to pick up large debris with an auto rake attachment or using it to till compacted soil is not recommended and could severely damage the attachment.
THE TRIPLE THREAT
A preparator rake attachment can be your best friend in soil preparation. This one attachment combines the cleanup, rock removal, and soil preparation capabilities of the grader rake and auto rake into one easy-to-maneuver rake attachment. Its rotating bi-directional drum carries rocks and debris into the perforated bucket, which efficiently sifts dirt to till and fluff the ground as it grooms the soil.
Use a preparator rake for the following tasks without switching between attachments:
- Rock Collection: Collect large rocks and debris resting on the soil surface.
- Foliage Removal: Uproot and collect foliage that is growing or has been growing on the soil surface.
- Soil Tillage: Till the soil to create a looser soil condition.
- Roughing: Rake rocks, debris and foliage, scarify and fill depressions in tilled or untilled soil.
Each time your soil conditions or the task you are performing changes, you may need to reposition your preparator rake’s skid shoes to achieve the best results. For foliage collection and work on very loose soil, rotor teeth should be positioned just above the skid shoes. When using the attachment to uproot foliage or till hard soil, rotor teeth should be positioned about 2 inches below the skid shoes. Consult your operator’s manual for exact placement of skid shoes.
VERSATILE RAKE ATTACHMENT
If you’re in charge of a landscaping project from start to finish, a power rake attachment can help you increase productivity and profitability. Power rakes combine four attachments into one, allowing you to grade, level, rake, remove debris, and prepare bare ground for seed or sod. Power rakes can also be used to dethatch and remove old lawns and weeds for lawn renovations.
Power rake attachments are equipped with rollers that have a specially shaped carbide tooth design and pattern that releases the optimal amount of moisture from the soil, creating the perfect seedbed. Its rugged barrier adjusts so the operator can choose the amount of material left in the seedbed depending on the soil moisture conditions—allowing for faster drying in wet and muddy conditions. The barrier’s flexibility makes it possible for material such as roots and large tree limbs to pass through the attachment without compromising or stressing the attachment. The combination of this barrier and the attachment’s box ends lets you control, deflect, and direct materials similar to how a plow moves snow. Dual, independently self-adjusting gauge wheels contour to the ground and provide added flexibility for an even cut on drainage grades and small slopes.
Choosing the right rake attachment can be the difference between a landscaping nightmare and a dream come true. Whether you’re solely responsible for the clearing of a site or have the task of seeing a landscaping project through to its completion, there is a rake attachment that can increase your productivity. Evaluate your job requirements and soil conditions to determine which is best for your needs. ■
For More Information:
Mike McSorley is a product support and training representative for Paladin Attachments based in Dexter, Michigan. For more information, visit www.paladinattachments.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, December 2013
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