Getting Your Truck Loader Ready for the Fall

Billy Goat Debris LoaderYour Billy Goat debris loader may have seen some occasional use picking up grass clippings, but most owners don’t really put their equipment to work until the start of fall. Here’s what you need to know to get your loader up and running for the leaf season.

Mounting and Safety

Billy Goat’s debris loaders are not balanced in a way that lets them operate while free standing. The loader needs to be mounted onto a skid plate, hung from a tailgate or attached to a trailer or hitch mount before the engine is started.

Fuel

Fuel should be used within one month of purchase, or within three months of purchase after being treated with a stabilizer. If there is still old fuel inside the tank or carburetor, it should be drained according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Oil

The oil should be changed before putting the engine in storage. If you don’t know if it was changed, it’s a good idea to do so now to protect the engine from oil degradation. If you know the oil is fresh, the level should be checked to ensure there haven’t been any leaks. Honda engines come equipped with the company’s Oil Alert system, which will cut power to the ignition if the oil level is too low.

Some manufacturers recommend adding a small amount of oil to the inside of the combustion chamber before storage. It’s normal for the engine to smoke a little while after it’s first started as this oil is burnt off.

Battery

Electric start models come equipped with a small battery. Any corrosion on the battery terminals should be cleaned off with a wire brush, and the strap securing the battery to the tray should be checked for tightness. When measured with a multimeter, the terminals of the battery should read between 12 and 13.2 volts.

Billy Goat recommends using a trickle charger if the loader will be used for less than 45 minutes between starts; a dead or low charge battery can’t be recharged by the engine after starting it with the recoil starter. If the battery is low and needs a full recharge, the charge output should be limited to a maximum of two amps.

If the battery needs to be replaced, mount it in the tray so that the positive terminal is on the side closest to the impeller housing.

Intake Hose and Impeller

The hose should be stored by disconnecting it from the loader and laying it out flat. If it wasn’t, kinks may have developed that will keep the hose from moving smoothly or from sealing around the impeller opening. If this has happened or you find holes in the hose, it should be replaced.

Before attaching the hose, disconnect the wires from the spark plugs to prevent an accidental start and inspect the impeller and remove any debris still left inside. Even if the housing was cleaned before being stored, there’s always a chance that squirrels and other small animals have left behind nut shells and other debris that could clog the housing.

The hose should be stretched out before clamping it onto the impeller opening with the hose band. When clamping, make sure the coupler goes over the lever that controls the interlock switch, located at the top of the intake opening. Once attached, line up the boom with the hose and attach the hose band over the hose at its natural resting point.

During the season, the hose should be occasionally remounted in a new position. This helps spread wear across the entire hose, increasing its life span.

Exhaust Chute

The direction and distance debris is ejected from the loader is controlled by the position of the exhaust elbow. When mounting the loader onto a truck or trailer, this elbow should be positioned so that it deposits debris toward the back of the cargo area. Never stand below the exhaust elbow when adjusting the angle: it may be a hollow tube, but it’s very heavy. If you plan on moving the loader between vehicles or trailers through the season, it’s a good idea to install a swiveling chute or an exhaust hose so that the direction of the debris can be changed to work with the loader’s current location.

Sourcing Replacement Parts and Accessories

Need a new hose or want to add an extension to your loader’s chute? Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as Briggs & Stratton, Honda and Subaru, so we carry everything you need to get your equipment ready for the season. Finding the right parts is easy thanks to an advanced search engine with built-in factory diagrams, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

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How to Clean Concrete with a Pressure Washer

A Billy Goat pressure washer can get the toughest dirt and stains off of sidewalks and driveways to make them look brand new, and it can also get the surface clean enough to ensure sealants can bond properly to protect your pavement through the winter. These tips will take you through the entire process to help you get the best results when cleaning concrete while minimizing damage to your home, your pressure washer, and the environment.

Preparing to Pressure Wash: Detergent, Waste Collection, and Sealant

Only use detergents designed specifically for pressure washers: muriatic acid may be popular for manually cleaning concrete, but this corrosive substance will eat through the seals and metals used to construct your equipment. Detergents designed for degreasing work best since they can remove oil stains that can’t be lifted by the water spray, but these can damage asphalt since it’s made from oil. Check the label to make sure it’s compatible with the surface you need to clean.

Depending on your local laws, you may need to take some extra steps to ensure you’re disposing of liquid waste properly. In most areas, it’s fine to use a biodegradable detergent and let it run off into storm drains, while other areas require that all waste be collected or diverted from storm drains to keep them from entering waterways. For small scale cleaning, you may only need to use a cover or berm on the closest storm drain.

There’s no better time to seal the surface of cement than after everything has been cleaned. The surface needs to be dry before application, so if you plan on doing everything in one day, make sure the pavement is pressure washed early morning and any standing water is wiped off with a squeegee to allow maximum evaporation.

Protecting Walls, Windows, and Doors

Plastic sheeting such as a drop cloth or moisture barrier should be hung over windows, doors and adjacent walls using painter’s tape to protect them from debris and accidental contact with the pressure washer’s spray.

Sweep off the Area to Be Cleaned

Leaves, grass clippings, and other loose debris should be swept off first to reduce the waste removed and the time required for pressure washing.

Spraying for Mechanical Removal of Dirt

If the surface is heavily soiled, start by removing the dirt physically through the use of the washer’s high-pressure spray. For the best results, use a 25-degree tip and keep the end of the wand 6-8 inches away from the pavement surface. For stubborn areas such as dried paint, the tip can be used 3-4 inches from the surface. Spraying directly at cracks may cause them to expand: start spraying away from the crack before moving the want over the area. Wait until the detergent has been applied before tackling stains from grease and oil.

Applying the Detergent

Switch to the soap nozzle and use the detergent hose to draw from a container filled with the concrete detergent. With the tip 6-8 inches from the surface, give the area an even coating of soap. Most detergents have a recommended dwell time to let the detergent work on the surface, typically around 5 minutes. Once this time has passed, the pavement can be rinsed.

Rinsing

Now that the oil has bonded to the detergent, it should lift off easily with a spray from the pressure washer. Like the initial cleaning, it’s best to use a 25-degree nozzle 6-8 inches from the surface.

Sealing

Now that the surface is clean, it’s simply a matter of waiting for the surface to dry before applying a sealant. Trying to seal the pavement while it’s still damp will keep the sealant from bonding, resulting in light colored streaking.

Getting Parts for Your Billy Goat Pressure Washer

Billygoatparts.com isn’t just a certified Billy Goat dealer, we’re also a dealer for the pump and engine manufacturers Billy Goat partners with to build their pressure washers. We stock OEM parts for your equipment, and we even have factory parts diagrams and descriptions built into our site to make it easy to find the parts you need. We can even ship your order to any location in the U.S. or Canada.

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How the Right Equipment Can Cut Fall Job Times

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Is your equipment helping you get maximum profits? By choosing the right fall lawn care equipment, you can get jobs done faster, letting you do more work and keep your customers happy by ensuring leaf coverage won’t hurt their lawns.

Moving Leaves

Backpack leaf blowers have been around since the early 1950s, and over the course of the following 30 years were adopted by professionals who needed a method for moving debris that didn’t require water. When walk-behind blowers were introduced, they offered a massive increase in power, but their weight coupled with their inefficient housings and fans made them difficult and inefficient to use.

Today, modern composite construction allows shapes that produce efficient air flow, reducing power demands and noise while also significantly reducing the blower’s overall weight. With models that have drive systems and electric start, Billy Goat’s Force blowers are as simple to use as a small walk-behind mower. The benefits go well past operator comfort since this equipment can use large displacement four stroke engines, letting them do as much work as 7 backpack blowers. While the initial cost may be higher than a backpack blower, the cost savings in personnel and the ability to get more jobs in during the season’s peak can greatly increase profits. For groundskeepers at large facilities, it can shave significant time off of clearing courtyards, parking lots, and other large spaces.

Picking Up Leaves in Confined Spaces

What if your business mostly centers around residential yards? A wheeled blower is impractical in small, fenced-in areas, but it’s the perfect area to use a wheeled vacuum. This device can pick up leaves and other debris and bag them in a single pass. Since the impeller chops up leaves into small pieces as they pass through, they’re compacted to allow more debris to be stored on board for less frequent bag emptying and lower disposal costs. The TKV vacuum also has an integrated chipper for slicing up small branches, cutting one more step out of the cleaning process. These professional quality models are also great for rental businesses and homeowners with large lawns.

Waste Disposal with Less Mess

A truck loader turns a messy two person job into a quick one person job, picking up and breaking up leaves in much the same way as a lawn vacuum, albeit at a much larger scale. Since debris loaders are stationary, Billy Goat is able to fit their models with larger motors and impellers, letting them reduce material at a 12:1 ratio. Granted, it won’t be able to get the same reduction ratio on already broken leaves processed by a lawn vacuum, but it still makes it much easier to get bags of leaves into a truck or trailer for disposal.

Need a way to drop off yard waste without the expense of a dump truck? Dump inserts add a dump bed to the inside of a standard truck bed, keeping overall operating costs low. Using Billy Goat’s Customfit system, the loader can be mounted on a swing away hitch. This lets it operate directly in front of the bed gate when loading, then can be moved away from the tailgate to let the bed tilt and dump its cargo. For an even simpler setup, the loader can be mounted on the tailgate of an unmodified truck and fitted with a swiveling chute. Once it’s time to drop off the debris, the loader can be used to vacuum from the bed out to the disposal area. Larger operators can use the debris loader with their dump trucks by mounting the loader on a trailer or even fit it directly to a cargo trailer using a skid mount.

Need to Service Your Billy Goat Equipment? There’s an Easier Way to Do That, Too.

Are you ready to put your fall equipment to work? Visit Billygoatparts.com for the parts you need to maintain and repair your blowers, vacuums, and loaders so you can be ready for the autumn rush. Our site has built-in factory diagrams and descriptions to help you find exactly what you need, and we can ship your parts to any location in the US. and Canada.

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Managing Lawn Waste to Reduce Water Pollution

lawn care clean upLate summer and early fall lawn care involves a lot of debris: there’s thatch to lift off the soil, leaves that need to be removed as they fall from the trees, and even increased grass clippings in areas where water restrictions are lifted as temperatures fall. Properly disposing of all that material doesn’t just keep HOA’s happy and avoids breaking city ordinances, it also helps protect the environment by stopping algae blooms that can harm wildlife.

Yard Waste, Fertilizer and Algae Blooms

If leaves and grass clippings end up on the pavement, they’ll eventually be drawn into the drainage system. Most of these systems empty directly into waterways. Once there, the same organic material that could be feeding the lawn feeds algae instead, causing blooms.

Regular algae blooms can remove oxygen from the water, block light and even clog fish gills, killing aquatic life. Although much rarer than green algae, cyanobacteria (blue green algae) blooms release toxic chemicals that kill aquatic life and cause organ and nerve damage in humans, forcing the shutdown of recreational areas.

The problems aren’t just with grass and leaves. Like grass, algae thrives on phosphorus and nitrogen, which can be supplied by runoff from excess fertilizer.

Reducing the impact of lawn waste and fertilizer is a matter of both managing the lawn to reduce the need for soil correction while making sure the right amount of fertilizer is applied to bring everything back in balance.

Turning a Lawn into a Waste Eating Machine

The more mulch that is handled on site, the less waste there is to dispose of. A mulching mower can turn grass clippings and leaves into small pieces that can be easily digested by the microorganisms on the lawn’s surface, returning nutrients to the soil. If it’s necessary to remove material for weed control or other issues, it should be bagged by the mower or collected using lawn vacuums and blowers. Side discharge mowing should be avoided wherever possible since it lets debris roll off the lawn and onto the pavement where it can make its way into storm drains.

Bald spots can’t digest mulch, but those areas can be recovered through overseeding. In transitional areas across the central U.S, seeding cold grasses can keep the lawn active as warm grasses go into hibernation, letting the lawn can digest more material.

Dethatching increases the access the soil has to air and water, but it shouldn’t be necessary unless there’s something wrong with how the lawn is being taken care of. In most cases, excessive thatch is caused by mowing the lawn too short or applying too much fertilizer. Mulching can actually reduce thatch since it helps build an environment where microorganisms can thrive and break down woodier plant material. Aerating also improves nutrient access and is helpful on almost any lawn.

Using Fertilizer Correctly

There are plenty of fall fertilizers on the market, but the only way to know which one to use and what amount to use requires soil testing. Send out samples at least two weeks before you plan on fertilizing to give the lab time to process the results. For the most accurate information, send two samples: one from an area in the best condition, and one in an area with problems like bald spots or weeds. If you’re keeping the grass healthy with good lawn care practices, the amount of fertilizer needed will be minimal.

Dealing with Lawn Debris for Minimal Impact

If it can’t be mulched into the soil and there isn’t a way to set up a mulch or compost pile on site, leaves and grass clippings need to be taken to an off-site compost pile. Dethatching will remove so much woody material that removal will almost always be required, while the acidity of leaves can cause issues with sandy soils, requiring disposal no matter the circumstances.

Thorough collection can reduce the environmental impact: picking up leaves that have been pushed out of the yard will keep them from getting into waterways. Using a four stroke walk-behind blower or lawn vacuum can reduce air pollution relative to two stroke blowers while getting the job done faster. A truck loader also helps get as much of the leaves as possible off of the lawn when loading them for transport.

Keep Your Billy Goat Equipment Ready to Work

Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their engine suppliers, so we have everything you need for their blowers, aerators, overseeders, dethatchers and more. Our site has built-in factory parts diagrams so you can see the parts you’re searching for and how they fit on your equipment. We can ship your order anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

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Fall Leaf Collection

fall leaf collection

It may be the middle of summer, but with fall on its way, it pays to plan ahead. There’s no precise way to know when trees will start shedding their leaves, but once they start, it takes a lot of effort to keep them from turning your lawn into a soggy, grass-choking mess.

Can Leaves Be Mulched?

Leaves are acidic, but that acidity usually won’t affect the soil as long as the leaves are dealt with properly. Mulch sits on top of the soil, and in most cases, the soil surface acts as a buffer, preventing acidification. The exception is sandy soil, which can easily absorb mulch, affecting its pH. As for other factors including nitrogen loss, thatch and weed infestation are not altered when mulching leaves. This means in most areas, well-mulched leaves can be left on the lawn, unless they come from a black walnut tree.

Black walnut trees contain a chemical called “juglone.” It’s used in the roots to fend off other plants, but it’s present throughout the entire plant, including the leaves. Tomatoes, blackberries, blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons and many other plants are susceptible to this poison. If the leaves are added to a much or compost pile, the juglone will decompose after about four weeks, making it safe to use on soil. If they’re mulched directly into the soil, it can take two months or more for the chemical to break down, which could affect planting in the spring.

Mowing

For most lawns, leaves can be managed through frequent mowing using your Cub Cadet’s mulching mode. Have a mower like the CC 30 that has a side discharge deck? Mow the lawn when it’s slightly damp so that the leaves clump together as they exit the chute. After your first pass, go back and mow over these leaf trails to chop them into small pieces, then rake them into the grass.

Ideally, the leaves should be slightly damp to suppress dust. Wet leaves will be hard for the mower to lift and chop, while dry leaves will create massive amounts of dust, necessitating the use of a dust mask and safety glasses when mowing. Leaves should be chopped up before they get to more than three or four inches in height, which may require more frequent mowing while the leaves are falling. Wet, matted leaves should be removed within four days to reduce negative effects to the grass.

A sharp blade is critical for getting small, easily digested pieces of leaves. If you haven’t sharpened the blades on your mower since the start of the season, now is a good time to inspect them.

Vacuuming

If you have a lot of leaves or you have black oak leaves that need to be picked up, the easiest way to handle them is with a lawn vacuum. The action of the impeller creates suction to lift the leaves and breaks them up, compacting them for easy disposal.

When using the vacuum, the nozzle of the vacuum should be adjusted so that it’s close to the ground without touching it.

As with mowing, the leaves should be moist, but not wet. However, there are ways to work around different conditions: wet leaves can be picked up if the bag is emptied when it’s just half full, and dry leaves will require more frequent bag cleaning to remove the resulting dust from the bag’s pores.

When using the hose, let the vacuum do the work for you. Keep the end of the nozzle slightly above the ground will let the impeller’s strong suction pull out any leaves crammed between walls and landscape features.

How Do I Dispose of Leaves?

The most environmentally friendly way to deal with yard waste is through composting. If you don’t want to do it yourself, most areas have a composting area set up for fall waste, letting you drop off your leaves to be turned into mulch. Some municipalities also have trash pickup days that will accept yard waste so you don’t need to deliver your leaves to the waste site.

Where to Buy Cub Cadet Parts

Need some new high lift blades or an extra bag to keep your vacuum working? Visit www.cubparts.com for all of your Cub Cadet needs. We have a wide selection of OEM parts in stock, and we can ship them anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

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Cleaning Up After Storms

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Even a minor severe thunderstorm can bring straight line winds and hail that can take out leaves and small branches, turning yards and parks into a big mess. Fortunately, the same Billy Goat equipment used for handling fall leaves can help you with every step of clean-up.

The Initial Inspection

Before you begin work, you need to take stock of the damage and address any safety issues:

Have downed power lines? Inform the electric company and stay out of the area.

Are there broken limbs still caught in the trees? These present a serious safety hazard and need to be removed before work can begin on the ground.

Are there any potentially hazardous object on the ground, buried beneath debris? An open door to a shed or a garage can mean tools and other materials may have been swept out. These items need to be recovered lest they become projectiles when moved by power equipment.

Moving the Bulk of Debris with a Blower

A walk-behind blower is a safe way to move most of the debris since the equipment won’t make direct contact with any hidden obstacles. Ideally, the leaves and debris should be slightly moist to reduce dust, but they can still be moved when wet; it will just take more time. The wind should also be calm or blowing in the direction you want to move the debris.

Start by blowing out areas near buildings. Aiming the nozzle upwards to help deflect debris away from the wall. Once the debris is out in the open, it can be pushed onto a tarp or to the curb for loading. Work one direction, rolling the blower backward and forward and getting the leaves and debris lined up with the tarp or loading area. If there is excess dust being pushed by the blower, aim the nozzle up slightly. To push this strip into a smaller area for collecting, keep the nozzle at its lowest setting to keep from disturbing the pile that you’re building.

Raking and the Second Inspection

A litter vacuum will be able to handle a rock or a can now and then, but it shouldn’t be used to pick up gravel. Once the majority of the debris has been removed, rake in any escaped gravel and do another check for hidden obstacles that could pose a hazard.

Vacuuming Remaining Debris

If you need to move material while it’s still wet, empty the bag when it’s only ½ full instead of ¾ full. Since this moisture reduces dust, the bag can be filled several more times than usual before the bag needs to be cleaned to restore air flow. Keep the vacuum nozzle as low as possible without scraping the ground for maximum performance.

Using a TKV outdoor vacuum? Don’t forget that it has an on-board wood chipper to help you dispose of small limbs.

Truck Loading

Using a truck loader saves a lot of shoveling, but it also has another benefit: the impeller breaks up the debris, making it more compact. This decreases the total mass of the yard waste, which can cut disposal costs significantly.

The nozzle is designed to withstand abrasion, but there should be enough suction that it can be kept a couple inches above the material being removed. Always shut down the engine before fixing jams; there are safety mechanisms in place to do this automatically, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious.

If your loader has a swiveling chute, it can be turned to blow outside the trailer or truck bed. This lets you use the loader to get the last bit of debris out when unloading.

Keep Your Equipment Ready When Storms Strike

When you need parts for your Billy Goat equipment, visit www.billygoatparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as every manufacturer that they partner with including Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Subaru, and even AR, so we carry everything you need for maintenance and repairs. Finding parts is simple thanks to a search system that has built-in factory diagrams and descriptions, and we can ship those parts anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

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Drum Vs. Reciprocating Vs. Tine Wheel Aerators

Drum Vs. Reciprocating Vs. Tine Wheel Aerators

Which aerator design is best? Drum aerators remain popular, but newer designs provide superior performance and are a lot easier to use. What are the differences, and which one is right for you?

Drum Aerators

The oldest type of aerator, this piece of equipment looks like a carpet roller covered in tines. This design limits the amount of holes that can be made to between 4-6 per square foot. The tines are mounted on a system that can retract into the drum, separating the aerator for the soil. While it’s possible to lift push aerators out of the ground, in most cases the tines need to be retracted to make turns.

A lot of weight is needed to get tines to penetrate the soil, but by the nature of their design, the amount of weight that can be put on the drum is limited. This makes it much harder to penetrate any soil that isn’t damp, reducing the effectiveness of the aeration. Towable drum aerators can be heavier, but they still run into the same problems when turning, making them a pain to use.

Reciprocating Aerators

These are sometimes called “cam” aerators because they use a cam mechanism to move the tines back and forth. This cam looks a lot like an engine crankshaft with shafts and tines replacing the rods and pistons. The engine spins the cam, forcing the tines into the soil instead of depending only on the weight of the aerator. That makes these machines a lot lighter than a drum aerator and it helps the machine get consistent penetration with a variety of soils.

The number of tines is also significantly lower, which simplifies maintenance. Billy Goat’s AE and PLUGR models use 4 or 8 tines instead of the dozens needed for a similarly sized drum aerator. It also means there’s less chance of damage, eliminating the wear and vibration of a drum. Add in a powerful engine and drive system, and a reciprocating aerator cut job times by up to 50%. This design is limited in size to walk-behind units, limiting their use to small lawns.

Towable Tine Wheel Aerators

Tine wheel-based aerators like Billy Goat’s towable AET models share some features with drum aerators, but since they’re backed by the power of a tractor, it’s easy to work around the drum’s problems to create a trailer that can cover large spaces quickly with minimal effort.

With this design, weight is only an issue for transport, so Billy Goat’s AET series aerators are designed to use removable blocks, sandbags or water-filled jugs to push down the tines when the trailer is in use. Once the work is done, these weights can be removed so it’s easier to load the attachment onto a trailer. This eliminates the need for a heavy drum that surrounds the tines.

Billy Goat’s AET can lift the tine wheels together as a unit using a built-in manual lift. This eliminates the need for a retracting tine system, significantly improving serviceability. The 36/60” model has swiveling tine bodies that can move with the tractor if a three point hitch is being used, so there’s no need to raise the tines through turns.

The 48/72” uses a chain drive system driven by the wheels as the unit is towed, increasing the speed of the tine stars. This results in a denser hole pattern than what can be achieved with a drum aerator.

Get the Parts You Need to Keep Your Billy Goat Working

Need some tines or other parts for your Billy Goat aerator? www.billygoatpart.com is a certified Billy Goat dealer, so we can supply you with everything you need to keep your equipment moving. Our site has built in parts diagrams and descriptions to make it easy to find what you need, and we can ship your order to any location in the U.S. or Canada.

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Dethatching

dethatcherThatch is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood parts of a lawn. This layer of soil covering vegetation can be helpful in small amounts, but it can cause serious problems for grass if it gets too thick. Here’s what you need to know to identify thatch problems, get the best results using your Billy Goat power rake and keep thatch from building up again.

What is Thatch, and Why is it Bad?

Dead plant matter gathers on the surface of the soil creating a layer of organic material called thatch. A thin layer of thatch can be beneficial, particularly during the summer as it creates a barrier that holds in moisture. However, if it’s more than a half inch thick, it can keep moisture, fertilizer, and air from reaching the soil. If that thick layer of thatch gets wet, it can promote the growth of molds and become a home to pests. If it’s left on the ground for too long, the grass roots will grow into the thatch, leading to a shallow root system that won’t be able to weather droughts and freezes.

What Causes Thatch Buildup?

There are four main reasons thatch can gather in thick layers on your lawn:

– Overfertilizing, particularly if it adds excess nitrogen
– Consistently mowing too high
– Oversaturated soil caused by heavy rains or overwatering
– Compacted or heavy clay soil that makes it difficult for decomposing plant matter to be absorbed

Stem-heavy grasses including warm season varieties like St. Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia and cool season grasses like bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass varieties with form thatch faster than other grasses. Mulched grass clippings decompose quickly and won’t lead to thatch buildup; in most cases, it will reduce thatch by making the root system and soil surface healthier so that harder materials can be digested more quickly.

What’s the Difference Between Aerating and Dethatching?

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re completely different processes. Dethatching lifts thatch away from the surface of the soil while aerating punches holes in the soil to relieve compaction. Aerating will remove thatch with the soil plug, but it’s not a replacement for dethatching.

Preparing the Lawn for Dethatching

Before dethatching, mow the grass to half of its normal height to let the blades of the dethatcher reach through the thatch more easily. The lawn should be dethatched when the soil is slightly moist to help with blade penetration, either after a light rain or with some watering.

Flag hidden obstacles like irrigation heads to keep from running over them with the power rake. If you have a PR550 power rake, it can be fitted with a spring tine reel that will lift thatch without damaging objects you may run over.

Have a plan for removing the thatch once it has been lifted from the soil: depending on the size of the lawn and the thickness of the thatch, there could be several truckloads of material that will need to be dealt with. It can be decomposed into mulch or compost on site or at a green waste treatment facility.

Dethatching warm weather grasses works best in the spring, while cold weather grasses should be dethatched in the fall.

Dethatching

The blades of your dethatcher need to be set to the right width for your grass: one to two inches of space between the blades is ideal for warm weather grasses, while three inches work best with less dense cold season grasses. Blade depth should be set so that the thatch is pulled up while digging no more than ½ inch into the soil.

For the best results, make two passes across the lawn, running the second pass at a 90-degree angle from the first. This criss-cross pattern will lift as much thatch as possible while limiting root damage.

Once the thatch has been lifted, it can be gathered for disposal with the same methods used for removing fall leaves, whether that means pulling it onto a tarp with a leaf rake or using a lawn vacuum.

After Dethatching

All that pulling and movement from the blades will make the turf look awful at first, but after two or three weeks of recovery, it will grow back to create a much thicker lawn. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help it bounce back:

– Overseed over any bare patches.

– Apply fertilizer. If it’s almost time for seasonal fertilizing, wait until after dethatching to fertilize.

– A dethatched lawn isn’t just good for grass, it’s also good for weeds. If you dethatched in the spring, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to halt the spread of crabgrass.

Get Parts for Your Billy Goat Dethatcher

www.billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and the engines that power their equipment so we can ship any parts or accessory you need for your dethatcher to any address in the U.S. and Canada. Not sure exactly what you need? Our site has built in factory parts diagrams and descriptions to help you identify the right replacement.

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Which Engine Should I Get with My Billy Goat?

675 SeriesNo matter what kind of Billy Goat equipment you’re looking at buying, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get the model you want with some choice in engines. Which one should you get? Here’s what you can expect from each manufacturer and how their different advantages can best fit your individual use case.

Briggs & Stratton

B&S makes a lot of engines, letting manufacturers pick exactly the right design for their equipment. For Billy Goat, that means using a range of motors from their consumer and professional lines to get the best balance between power and weight. Consumer engines like the 675 Series put ease of use first, which means easy starts with low starter handle resistance and the elimination of priming bulbs and manual chokes.

For maximum power on their equipment, Billy Goat uses Briggs & Stratton’s Vanguard series of commercial V-twin engines. Their compact design allows them to fit in spaces designed for single cylinder engines while keeping weight down to a manageable level. A high-performance dust management system including a dual element filter and fine mesh flywheel cover make these a great choice for blowers and other dirty applications. These motors have an automatic compression release so they’re easy to turn over when starting. E-Smart models come with electric start and a pull start backup if the battery fails.

Most of these engines are warrantied for three years for residential use and two years of commercial use. Vanguard engines come with a three-year warranty for both residential and commercial owners.

Honda

Look at almost any piece of mid-size commercial grade power equipment and you’ll find one of Honda’s horizontal shaft GX or vertical shaft GXV engines, and for good reason: the design has proven to be one of the most reliable on the market. This starts with a digitally-controlled ignition system and a dual stage air filter ensure clean, effective fuel combustion for low emissions and a cleaner combustion chamber. This is backed with a ball bearing-supported forged steel crankshaft and cast iron cylinder sleeve can withstand years of heavy use. Larger displacement motors come with a balancer shaft to reduce vibration, while the Oil Alert system keeps the motor from running if there isn’t enough oil to protect internal components. Automatic compression release and optional electric start make them easy to get running.

The CR550HC power rake uses a Honda GC Series engine. Like Briggs & Stratton, Honda designs their residential grade motors for ease of use. Its overhead cam design, aluminum block, resin camshaft and internal timing belt make this motor exceptionally quiet and lightweight.

Subaru

Look inside one of Subaru’s EX series engines and you’ll find a lot of similarities to the engines used in modern cars. It has an overhead cam design, which allows cooling fins to surround the valve stems for better head temperature control. This design allows the use of an efficient pentroof head, while a steel timing chain and cast iron cylinder sleeve ensure long term reliability. This design also reduces vibration up to 35% compared to competitors’ models for increased operator comfort. The end result is a motor that bridges the gap between commercial reliability and consumer ease of use.

The key advantage of these engines is the warranty: Subaru Industrial Power Products guarantees these motors for 5 years, longer than any small engine manufacturer.

No Matter What You Choose, You Can Get Parts from BillyGoatParts.com

www.billygoatparts.com isn’t just a certified Billy Goat dealer, we’re also a dealer for every engine brand used in Billy Goat equipment, making us your one-stop shop for everything on your equipment. Our site has integrated factory parts diagrams to make it easy to find what you’re looking for, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

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Cleaning Your Billy Goat Equipment

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Mechanical maintenance may get the most attention, but if you want to get the most from your Billy Goat equipment, you also need to keep it clean. Dirt buildup can hide damage, reduce performance and lead to overheating. These tips will help you safely clean the engine, body, and tools that make up these machines.

Engine

Most engines should be cleaned after 25 hours of operation, while motors exposed to high levels of dust such as those on debris vacuums will need to be cleaned more frequently.

Before you start cleaning, the engine needs to be cold: the head and exhaust may retain heat for up to a half hour after the engine has been shut off. The spark plug wires should be disconnected to prevent accidental starts, and the engine shroud needs to be removed for full access to the motor.

Wipe off any debris that has gathered on the cooling fins and flywheel screen using a thin bristled brush. Engine and parts brushes work best: they’re strong enough to lift dirt, and since these surfaces are bare metal, there’s no danger of leaving scratches.

If there is still material left on the surface, use a non-flammable solvent to loosen it; water should never be used as it can seep into the engine and contaminate the oil while using compressed air can force debris into inaccessible areas on the motor.

Check around exposed moving parts including the throttle cable and governor, making sure they move freely. These can be cleaned using the same brush and solvent method.

If there is grease or oil buildup on the outside of the motor, use a paint-safe degreaser to remove it. Household degreasers, cleaning formulations designed for removing stickers and light penetrating oils like WD-40 work well for this. After wiping off the treated area, use a damp towel to remove any remaining residue.

Body

The deck and handle can be cleaned the same way you would wash a car. If you’re using a pressure washer, never aim the nozzle directly at anything filled with grease including wheel bearings and joints. As with the motor, the water contamination can cause premature failure.

Tips for Specific Equipment

If you spray water into the intake of a wheeled blower, make sure the impeller and housing have had time to dry completely before use. If the impeller blades hit water that has pooled in the base of the housing, the impact could damage the blade surface.

Weeds and other materials that have wrapped themselves around brushcutter spindles and impeller shafts should be cut away to prevent binding. Thick buildup inside brushcutter decks can be scraped off using a putty knife.

Aerator tines are self-cleaning: if there’s dirt or mud on them, this will be pushed out once they cut through soil again. If the tines want to clog, the cutting surface may be dull and due for replacement. Leftover dirt should be washed off before putting the machine in storage for the season.

Pressure washers have filters on the detergent hose and water inlet that need to be cleaned before each use. Usually, a simple rinse will be enough to remove debris, while stubborn buildup can be safely removed using a toothbrush. To clear clogged nozzles, use a small pin to push through the hole from the outlet side, being careful not to widen the hole. Always draw clean water through the detergent hose to flush chemicals from the soap system after use.

Keep Your Billy Goat Working

Find something broken while you were cleaning? Need parts to maintain your Billy Goat? You can get everything you need at www.billygoatparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, Honda Engines and Subaru Industrial Power Products, so we stock parts to replace everything on your equipment. Our site makes it easy to find parts by integrating factory parts diagrams and descriptions into our search system, and we can ship your order to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

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