“The operator interface on the Zahn series, as well as all Ditch Witch trenchers, uses a standard color-coded system for operator controls,” explains Adkins. “With this system an operator moving from one machine to another can feel more comfortable and become more efficient in a shorter amount of time.” Vermeer trenchers also feature color-coded controls conveniently placed to the right of the operator’s seat. Ground Hog’s walk-behind trenchers also feature color-coded operator controls.
Maneuverability on the jobsite is also pertinent. The wheels on a Brown Mfg. walk-behind trencher were constructed after putting maneuverability into consideration. “Our trenchers have pneumatic tires,” says Campbell. “You can just roll them out there and do your job, and you’re in and out pretty quick.”
Similarly, the articulated steering on a Ditch Witch trencher affords users flexibility to meet the requirements of the jobsite.
A recent trend that has answered contractor requests is the weight of the trenching equipment. It adds to maneuverability both in operation and when transporting equipment to the jobsite. “Contractors are looking for a lighter machine so that one man can grab it and load it into a truck real easily,” explains Campbell. “It doesn’t take a crew or necessarily a trailer to get it on the jobsite.” Campbell adds that the lighter machines operate quicker, causing less wear on the operator.
CHOOSING EQUIPMENT AND ATTACHMENTS
While the lighter equipment may be very operator-friendly, users need to keep in mind the task at hand when choosing which trencher is right for the job. In deciding which trencher is the best option, users need to be sure of exactly what it will be used for. As an example, a lighter, more operator-friendly piece of equipment may not offer the same power as a heavier option. “If you get equipment that is too light, you can’t do the job a heavier machine can,” explains Campbell. “When digging in the hard ground, you need a machine with some weight.”
In addition to choosing the right size of equipment, there are many attachment options for contractors to pick from. “Users can find versatility with the multiple attachments available and reduce the need for separate independent machines to do specific work,” says Adkins. “The Zahn’s front end is arranged in a way that performance for different attachments is not compromised.”
In the past few years alone, Vermeer has developed attachments for the specific use and installation of drip irrigation pipe. “The MB40 plow attachment, which is now available on some of our walk-beside and ride-on tractors, allows contractors to install multiple rows of drip irrigation pipe simultaneously at the specified width and depths according to the soil type,” explains Kuyers. “This development has dramatically reduced installation time while increasing overall productivity.”
Ground Hog listed many other opportunities for landscapers to productively use trenching equipment and attachments to grow their service offerings. With a Ground Hog trencher and attachments, users can install residential lawn sprinkler systems, electronic dog fencing, low-voltage wiring (TV, cable, satellite dish), plumbing and drainage lines, landscape edging, silt fencing and also perform root pruning.
The service landscapers offer and the equipment they use also relates to the region in which they are performing their services. The type of grass, consistency of soil and the demand for certain services varies by region. Operation requirements as they relate to the region should also be considered when purchasing a trencher and attachments.
As the dry climate continues to fuel water restrictions, quality trenching equipment is essential to irrigation installation. As manufacturers carry on with improvements in equipment construction and capabilities, landscapers are choosing wisely, and purchasing trenchers and attachments that can add the most value to their service offering.