No matter what size crew you have, you can save time by handling tasks with equipment towed behind a ride-on unit. Look at the tasks you are now doing by pulling equipment while walking, and determine if the same equipment could be towed—and what you could do to make that possible.
You can convert some drag mats by attaching them to a long, solid strip of metal, or a section of PVC pipe cut to size. Then, attach the chain or rope to both ends of the metal or pipe and attach them to the back of the vehicle, or behind another piece of equipment to complete two tasks with one pass.
You can tow larger equipment than you can comfortably pull. So, determine what size best fits your equipment and your program.
A series of broom heads can be linked together to make a broom drag. For the single row of broom heads, use a strip of metal or wood that matches the number of broom heads you want to use. Secure them to that section and connect the section to pulling bars or a tow rope. A double-row broom drag could be made with either a wooden or metal frame with reinforcement cross sections placed between the two rows of brooms for added stability.
A handmade, tow-behind nail drag could be designed with a rectangular wood frame and three sets of nails. Make your large nail drag to the width and depth that works best with your equipment and the materials you have on hand. Attach a chain, metal bars or rope to the front edges to attach it to the pulling unit.
Experiment with the length of the tow chain, rope or bars to make sure it is long enough to allow the drag to stay level with the surface of the ground. If the drag will be towed with two or three different types of ride-on equipment, make the tow piece long enough for the largest machine and use a connector that can be adjusted as needed for the smaller equipment.
You will probably want to take the tow-behind equipment you make to different fields at a central site, or from site to site. Think about that as you design the unit. You may want to roll up a chain drag to put into the bed of a cart or to be secured to the side of a cart with straps or ropes. Drags with solid frames can be equipped with wheels, like the wooden-frame, double-row broom drag. The drag is turned with the wheels down for transport and flipped over for use. Consider the materials you will be using to determine if two wheels or four wheels will be needed to support the weight of the drag. You could also make the frame for the drag with a solid top to use as additional space for transporting other drags or materials.
Are hand tools where you need them when you need them? If not, make a special rack to attach to an existing wheeled cart or make a cart specifically for moving the equipment you have.
To make a cart to keep long-handled rakes and brooms upright, use sections of PVC pipe with the opening slightly larger in diameter than the width of the handles. Make sure the sections you cut are long enough to provide the support to keep the tools upright when the cart is moved. Plot the spacing for these sections to fit the tools you have and include a few extra sections, if space allows, to add more tools. Put the PVC pipe sections around the outer edge of the cart or make a row or two along one side or one end of the cart.
If you don’t have PVC pipe on hand, use sections of wood to make two grids with openings sized for the tool handles. Plan the size of the grids to fit your cart and the number of tools you need to move. Space the two grids one above the other, with the distance between the two deep enough to keep the tools upright as they are moved. Connect the two grids together and anchor them to the cart.
Floyd Perry travels throughout the United States and abroad conducting Groundskeepers Management Workshops. He is the author of four books.