Snow Plowing

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FLD350

LawnSite Member
Location
CT
I have a few questions about snowplowing. I have been using an Ariens snowblower for the past 4 or 5 years, but after last winter I decided that having a plow was pretty crucial especially if I want to take on more Winter customers.

My question is being that I have never really plowed before, are there any tips on how to properly and efficeintly plow driveways?

My uncle who used to plow for his town has told me that it is important to get some momentum before actually dropping the blade to help save the tranny on the truck, anyone agree or disagree with this.

(F350 w/ Fisher plow.)
 

Turf Management

LawnSite Member
Location
Kansas
I think that it is something you kind of have to teach yourself. It's hard to tell you how to properly plow.. I suppose it's like riding a bike.

I personally don't get momentum going prior to plowing a path. My average snowfalls are only 3-9 inches though. Additionally, I'm operating an 04 F-250 Diesel with a 7.5" Western plow.

My advice is to be aware of your surroundings. I've been lucky in not having any accidents however there have been a couple close calls. When doing commercial properties, cars come whipping behind you and when your truck is caked with snow and sits so high you can't see a car beside you, things can get tricky. I plow with my windows down.

Also, watch out for man hole covers. I plow for a gas station and have been warned about their gas man hole covers. They aren't cheap and plows are notorious for damaging these. I skip plowing this area completely and hit it with the snowblower.

That brings me to another point. I'm not sure how much you like your snowblower but if you ever get another one, check out the single stage Toro's. Those machines are worth their weight in gold.


Lastly-- don't ever try to plow a residential drive (unless it is commercial sized). Plows do a horrible job at getting a drive clean (packing snow in as you drive) and can do damage fast. Anyone who knows what they're talking about will tell you to only do rezis with a snowblower.

Hope some of that helps you.
 

ny scaper

LawnSite Member
Location
Albany, NY
After 36 hours straight in the truck, you will care less about getting momentum.
Tranny's go and so does much more during snow season. . . charge accordingly is my best advice
 

nepatsfan

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Franklin MA
I think that it is something you kind of have to teach yourself. It's hard to tell you how to properly plow.. I suppose it's like riding a bike.

I personally don't get momentum going prior to plowing a path. My average snowfalls are only 3-9 inches though. Additionally, I'm operating an 04 F-250 Diesel with a 7.5" Western plow.

My advice is to be aware of your surroundings. I've been lucky in not having any accidents however there have been a couple close calls. When doing commercial properties, cars come whipping behind you and when your truck is caked with snow and sits so high you can't see a car beside you, things can get tricky. I plow with my windows down.

Also, watch out for man hole covers. I plow for a gas station and have been warned about their gas man hole covers. They aren't cheap and plows are notorious for damaging these. I skip plowing this area completely and hit it with the snowblower.

That brings me to another point. I'm not sure how much you like your snowblower but if you ever get another one, check out the single stage Toro's. Those machines are worth their weight in gold.


Lastly-- don't ever try to plow a residential drive (unless it is commercial sized). Plows do a horrible job at getting a drive clean (packing snow in as you drive) and can do damage fast. Anyone who knows what they're talking about will tell you to only do rezis with a snowblower.Hope some of that helps you.
You need a bigger plow for your truck. Running a 7'6" plow will make you run over snow that hasn't been plowed which is probably why you get pack.

A good cutting edge and the proper sized plow is fine for residential driveways. We do about 75 driveways and have been doing driveways for years(as well as parking lots).

Plowing is all about practice. Efficiency is key.
 
OP
F

FLD350

LawnSite Member
Location
CT
Yea that helps a little, I figured it was a matter of "trial by fire."

I have heard good things about the Toro single stage snowblowers. Perhaps next season I will consider picking one up, but for right now I just need it to snow!
 

DA Quality Lawn & YS

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rochester, MN
Yeah I agree, do not plow small residential driveways. Makes a mess of them and the piles you create aren't appreciated and can cause damage (i.e pushed up into trees/bushes and think spring snow mold under those piles). A good blower distributes the snow much nicer.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
Well...I plow mostly residentials and I do just fine with a truck.

My best advice is to check out and stake them out BEFORE it snows...find the hazards, the driveway edges, locate your push-off zones, the stupid rocks that people put at the corners of their apron and come up with a general plan of how you would plow it. One of the main things is to plan ahead...don't leave a wall of snow where you'll need to push the snow from the next storm. Also, push away from the building the best you can...you not only don't want it melting near the building, but large berms of snow can be a problem for emergency responders...fire/ambulance and that type of thing. One of the most dangerous/vulnerable times is when you're out at the apron with your truck half in the road trying to push back the corners just to get into the driveway...now that I have a V plow it's not much of a problem...but with a straight blade it can be. Another thing is, get a routine down as far as when you shift and when you adjust your plow...nothing worse than thinking you're in reverse and hitting the gas and finding out that you're in drive and just bought a garage door....do it the same way every time. And one more thing...watch the mailbox for the neighbor across the street...they tend to get a little upset when you back over it, hehe.
 

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Erie, PA
Well...I plow mostly residentials and I do just fine with a truck.

My best advice is to check out and stake them out BEFORE it snows...find the hazards, the driveway edges, locate your push-off zones, the stupid rocks that people put at the corners of their apron and come up with a general plan of how you would plow it. One of the main things is to plan ahead...don't leave a wall of snow where you'll need to push the snow from the next storm. Also, push away from the building the best you can...you not only don't want it melting near the building, but large berms of snow can be a problem for emergency responders...fire/ambulance and that type of thing. One of the most dangerous/vulnerable times is when you're out at the apron with your truck half in the road trying to push back the corners just to get into the driveway...now that I have a V plow it's not much of a problem...but with a straight blade it can be. Another thing is, get a routine down as far as when you shift and when you adjust your plow...nothing worse than thinking you're in reverse and hitting the gas and finding out that you're in drive and just bought a garage door....do it the same way every time. And one more thing...watch the mailbox for the neighbor across the street...they tend to get a little upset when you back over it, hehe.
Good response. I do 99% residential. IMO, the best thing to have when doing residentials is a back drag blade. Get a nice cut when going in reverse. My drives are perfect when I leave, no packed snow.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
I don't have a backdrag edge. My Boss V does pretty well backdragging (it's heavy and steep attack angle) but there are some snows that I just can't backdrag at all...I'm down on the shore and we get some heavy wet snows that compact to ice if you so much as look at it. I've found that for places like in front of the garage door, I can sometimes push the snow forward first, then pick up the plow, go over it, drop it in front of the pile and then backdrag it. But sometimes I just leave it and break out the snowblower....depends on the storm.
 

yardguy28

LawnSite Platinum Member
i just got a plow for my truck last season. a boss 8' super duty.

here are my thoughts.

i plow all my driveways with it. even the small one's. if they are small i usually back drag the whole drive way. the longer one's i can back into and push the snow out then back drag whats around the garage.

in my experience so far i have never had a problem plowing a small driveway. they always come clean.

the only time the snow blower is unloaded is for the walkways.

i do think it is something you have to teach yourself. i know i did. no one even told me how to operate my plow once it was hooked up the truck and until the first snow i used it, i had NEVER used one before. my buddy did "show" me how he does neighborhood additions by putting an employee of his in my truck. first him behind the wheel then me. but that was after i had already done half a dozen snow removals for all my clients.

they do recommend to get some momentum going before you drop the blade but i don't see that being possbile on residential driveways.

i think the way you harm your tranny is by all the forward/reverse, not by not building up speed before you drop the blade. thats why i think i am primarely going to stick with residential driveways. not nearly as much forward/reverse. and i disagree with the statement made anyone who knows what they are talking will not do a residential driveway unless its commercial size with a snow plow. in my neck of the woods thats about all people use for residential driveways of any kind is a snow plow.

before i got my snow plow i was one of the few who did them with snow blowers.
 
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