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Skid Steers & Ruts

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by SCAPEASAURUSREX, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352


    Flotation tires are mainly used in light tractors, I have never seen anything like them for skidsteers. They are larger and much wider than standard tractor tires, they are also much more expensive.

    If you want to see what I am talking about just go to your local golf course, most have at least one tractor with flotation tires.

    My experience has also been, as stonehenge said, that one damage path is the way to go.

    Good Luck,
    Jim L
  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    They make floatation tires for skid steers we have a couple of sets, they help some but $$ cost for a set with rims is around $1500 to $2500, we use them only when placing stone along lakes where the sand is too loose for steel tracks or where there is too many rocks for the rubber tracks.
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    Plywood is very helpful to stop ruts, however, it is a big pain to bring to a job/set up/remove/bring back/store, plus it is not necessarily cheap to buy sheets of plywood for 1 job. Also, it is a pain as you have to set it up/remove it every day, which on long jobs, becomes another pain....plus, you have to be sure to store it off of the lawn or you will have a 4x8 dead spot in the lawn.

    As for the the machine, not matter what you have, tracked or wheeled, the skid steer will leave damage. I have a 864 on jobs a lot, and the operator does as said above, turns in 'easy movements' by going forward, then back, forward back, etc. etc. etc. The same goe for mini-excavators also (surprise no one brought those up yet)

    Thought the tracks have less pressure, they still make ruts. Also, the thing with rubber tracks is you get a 'washboard effect' on lawns. The rubber nubs will leave indentions in the grass, and make the lawn feel like the 'rumble strips' on the side of interstates.

    No real solution to not rutting up a lawn with a skidsteer.

    my best answer, as others have said, is to stay in the SAME rut all the time, and plan 'turning' points out so that the entire lawn doesn't get ripped apart. Along with this, be sure to absoluteley, positively inform a possible client before the contract is signed, and in fact include it IN the contract, that you will mess up there lawn but that you will repair it. I wouldn't gurantee the repairs to be as 'good or better' than their existing lawn (who wants to be accountable for someone who may never water/care for it), but just say you will repair the lawn according to 'standard practices'.

    Also, I think it should be said that if you get a job where the people are completely anal about there lawn and do not want any damage, then charge them accordingly. If they don't want you to reck there lawn but expect you to do a 2000 sq ft patio, in the middle of there rear lawn, then they are just plain idiots to believe you could do so without messing up the grass. Charge, charge, and charge them for the extra work that will be required. Maybe it the number is high enough, they will reconsider, or maybe if they decide to go with it you will make a real nice hunk of change to make up for the extra aggravation.

    Also, in most cases, I find that my repair work in 99% of the jobs I have done, has come in fuller, and greener than the rest of their lawns. Again, if the people don't want to take your professional advice and believe that you can grow grass better than they can (which I believe most of us can) then charge, charge, charge it on to there bill. If they are really anal about it, maybe even consider not taking the job because in all likely hood, it is the beginning of a thousand other things that they will nick-pick the life out of you with.

  4. CHC

    CHC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    We use 3/4" CDX plywood whenever we're going to run over nice white concrete, old concrete that looks weak, good 'ol grass. true it adds to the cost, but it will last for quite a few jobs. Be careful how ypu place it, as the pieces may spin as you turn, taking out whatever might be in the way. We use forks to get it to & from the job site, but it is still a pain to stack it each day. Put on top of some extra pavers, it doesn't seem to kill much grass.
  5. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    Im planning on purchasing a toro dingo in the spring. My big concern is this machine tearin up turf as my primary uise of this machine will be on residential propertys. I demoed the dingo for about an hour at the kentucky expo but it was on mud so I couldnt quite tell if it would tear up turf. The reps assure me that if i can use a ztr without tearing up turf that i should have no problem with a dingo after a bit of practice. Any of you dingo owners care to comment?
  6. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    The toro salesmans will tell you anything to sell you one. Yes, it is 'more gentle' than a skid steer, but it will tare up a lawn very nicely.

    I am on a job right now where I had to run the dingo up a hill about 20 times........nothing but two dead ruts.........it weights close to 2k with the bucket loaded and operator on it......it will mess up the turf.

    Also, because all 4 wheels turn, it does do damage. On a z turn mower, only the rear wheels turn, and then 2 casters in the front will pivot.

    Plus, whenever you try to dig or scoop into something, the wheels will spin as they try to get traction. Even in low, and being careful, you end up leaving tear marks.

    When the grass is wet, forget it. Definite damage.

    Believe me, the dingo can cause some damage just as a skidsteer would.

    Also, I have the turf tires (standard on the 222). The 4 hydro drive model comes with the titan all terrain tires. I can only imagine what they would do.

  7. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    Steveair, I will be using the dingo if i get it mostly for mulching and landscape installs. Tell me straight out....... should I part with 13 grand and buy one or put that money towards payroll for labor? thanks alot for your help! This is a big purchase for me and i dont want to be stuck with a machine that will detry lawns!
  8. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    I really don't have a solid answer for you Evan.

    If you plan on running mulch with it, I would say first get the larger 'light material bucket'. Second, I will say that there is a good chance you will rut the lawn up more than you would with a wheel barrel, thats for sure.

    I do only construction, no maintenance, so my attitude is do whatever it takes to get the job done in the least amount of time and least amount of labor/effort. If a few ruts happen, I'm not offended.

    dingos are big investments, so you really have to know exactly what you plan to do with it to cover the price, which I will admit, is outrageous.

    It works for me, but I know a lot of guys that it wouldn't for. Most of my jobs consist of 'mass destruction' of a large portion of the lawn, so I'm not that concerned with anything.

    If you do a lot of mulch, it may be nice to have sitting next to the pile loading double wheeled barrels up all day while having 6 guys running them. But, if you have cheap enough labor, it may be cheaper to just have the guys load the barrels the old fashion away instead of having a machine.

    For installs, I find the machine to be better than 2 laborers. You can move two bands of pavers with it, you can move larger trees with it instead of using a tree cart, you unload wall block with it, you can rip stumps up to about 4 inch diameter out with it easily, etc. etc. etc.

    For me it works, but I am not you, so its hard for me to say go buy one. all I know is I am glad I have it know (saves a lot of back pain!) and will say that so far it has been a solid machine, though some wear and tear is starting to show up.

  9. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    I have rented a ramrod (with turf tires) on several occasions, and never have had a problem with rutting. In fact, in one area we ran the machine over the grass a good 20-30 times, and all that happened was that the grass got really matted down. And this was going up and down a hill. Although I should say that the ground was fairly dry. It wasn't muddy or anything like that.

  10. Cheese burger

    Cheese burger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    what type of mulch are you spreading? guess i'm showing showing my redneck ignorance, but I've seen several posts about spreading mulch with tractors (skid steer, dingo)from landscapers in the northeast. In georgia we use baled pine straw in 90% of landscapes

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