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Throwback Thursday: October 1988

February 27, 2014 -  By
Oct. 1988

Cover: Landscape Management

I drove a tractor for the first time on Monday.

It was a John Deere 4052M compact utility tractor (CUT) at John Deere’s 2014 Ride & Drive event in Orlando, Fla. To say I was a natural behind the wheel would be a stretch—despite the fact I lived on a farm for the later part of my youth.

This personal milestone is the reason the cover story from the October 1988 issue of Landscape Management caught my attention this week.

Titled “Compact tractors enhance flexibility “ by Ken Moehle, product manager with Tractors Case IH in Racine, Wis., the story centers on the versatility of 18 to 35 horsepower CUTs and the copious attachments available for them.

“For peak seasonal tasks, some single-purpose machines play an important role—especially in larger fleets,” Moehle said. “But to add versatility and extend year-round equipment use, utility tractors with selected attachments are a prime choice.”

Moehle said the handiest CUT attachments for landscape professionals include:

  1. three-point hitch;
  2. remote hydraulic circuits; and
  3. power takeoff units (PTO).

He goes on to line up which attachments are appropriate for what jobs.

For the tree care, Moehle pointed to hitch-mounted tree planters for reforestation, windbreak and hedgerow plantings. He suggested using PTO-powered wood chippers and sprayers for disposing or recycling tree trimmings and to reach tall trees, respectively.

In terms of construction jobs, Moehle said three-point-hitch mounted blades, box scrapers, scarifiers, rock rakes and seedbed preparation implements are tops for cleanup and finish grading.

Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer operates John Deere's 485A backhoe at the company's 2014 Ride & Drive event in Orlando, Fla.

Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer operates John Deere’s 485A backhoe at the company’s 2014 Ride & Drive event in Orlando, Fla.

As for lawn care and maintenance, he said hitch-mounted, PTO-powered roto-tillers are reliable for reseeding lawns or planting floral displays, and sickle-bar mowers are useful for clipping weedy plots with debris and rough terrain.

PTO-powered air blowers, he said, are unsurprisingly dependable for sweeping light snow, trash or leaves.

Moehle also gave a nod to hitch-mounted, PTO- or hydraulic-powered backhoes, which he said are best for servicing utilities, installing footings and other excavation work—I operated a backhoe for the first Monday as well.

And as shown by the picture at right, I was more delighted with my performance on that than my test drive with the CUT.

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