Pros and cons of snow removal options

Downeaster

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Kubota BX1880, loader, mower deck, and ballast
Oct 18, 2022
151
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Waterford, Maine
Great write up and thread!

Since moving to Maine, I've tried several different methods of removing snow. I started with a shovel, sure it works, but it takes FOREVER. Then I added a snow blade to my Ryobi riding mower, and that thing works great with wet slushy or just a few inches of normal snow, but it's a major pain to do either volume (the tractor only weighs ~600 lbs) or when things get frozen/heavy, where I have had to do small overlapping runs just to clear the driveway. I then bought an electric, walk behind, snowblower - 24" self propelled 2-stage blower (EGO brand), and it was a great added tool to help where the Ryobi fell short. But this year, we had a fairly large storm, and yes it was doable with the tools at hand, it took over 5.5 hours of clearing every couple of hours, and I realized my time is worth more... Fast forward to now, and I have just got the BX with a reverse snow blower, which I've yet to use... I"m hoping we still get some snow in Maine, as I'd like to see how it works, but for the small storms we've had the last couple of weeks, the snow blade on the riding mower is great. As stated by others, every tool has advantages and disadvantages, I'm looking forward to finding the limit on the Kubota :)
I also live in Maine, (Western foothills). I get a lot more snow than towns just 15 miles south of me. My driveway is all blacktop and wide, about 300 foot long. A top of the line Honda snowblower did the trick through the 2008 storm until 2013, when I put a snowplow on my tundra. That worked but stove up my lawn, as I had to plow large drifts onto it to keep the driveway clear. I bought a BX2816 for my BX tractor, and had a very easy time getting rid of the snow last winter in about 15 to 20 mins, then back in the house. I like the 50 in snowblower better than anything yet. Being retired I just wait until the storm is over and go out when I want to. Every storm was cleared in 20 minutes and I don't tear up my lawn anymore. Everyone's situation is different, and this snowblower on my BX is my best yet. No stopping and pushing like with a normal snowblower. The tractor in forward and no stopping until I get to the end of the driveway, then just turn around back to the garage. Two full passes, and it's over.
 
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DustyRusty

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2020 BX23S, BX2822 Snowblower, Curtis Deluxe Cab,
Nov 8, 2015
5,684
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North East CT
If you ever encounter a blizzard, then you will be better off if you get out and plow with the storm. I have been plowing for over 60 years, and that has always been my rule passed onto me by the fellow who taught me how to plow. It is difficult for some to believe that plowing snow is an art form, and think that you just push the snow where you want it. In the real world, it doesn't work like that. I plowed during the blizzard of 78, and it was a task to stay ahead of the storm, but with small cat naps, I was able to do it successfully. Now I use a snowblower mounted on the front of my BX23S, and it is a lot slower than plowing with the truck and an 8' blade. I also use a plow to clean up after I am done snowblowing, and the blade gets down to the pavement.
 
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dbertheau

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LX3310HSDC, FEL w/CB1060, PFL1242, LX2963, WM-8M Chipper
Mar 5, 2023
43
97
18
Nevada City, CA
I also live in Maine, (Western foothills). I get a lot more snow than towns just 15 miles south of me. My driveway is all blacktop and wide, about 300 foot long. A top of the line Honda snowblower did the trick through the 2008 storm until 2013, when I put a snowplow on my tundra. That worked but stove up my lawn, as I had to plow large drifts onto it to keep the driveway clear. I bought a BX2816 for my BX tractor, and had a very easy time getting rid of the snow last winter in about 15 to 20 mins, then back in the house. I like the 50 in snowblower better than anything yet. Being retired I just wait until the storm is over and go out when I want to. Every storm was cleared in 20 minutes and I don't tear up my lawn anymore. Everyone's situation is different, and this snowblower on my BX is my best yet. No stopping and pushing like with a normal snowblower. The tractor in forward and no stopping until I get to the end of the driveway, then just turn around back to the garage. Two full passes, and it's over.
I will be using our new tractor and front mount snowblower this winter. I have R14 tires and rears are loaded. Pretty flat concrete drive and parking area. Our snow comes in around a foot at a time and usually temps around freezing, so heavy snow is the norm.

I'm trying to determine if I need chains. Do you use chains? Also, do the steel skids do any damage to your asphalt drive?

Thanks
 

jimh406

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Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
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Western MT
I'm trying to determine if I need chains. Do you use chains? Also, do the steel skids do any damage to your asphalt drive?
I highly recommend chains. They make a big difference when the snow turns to ice. Otherwise, you will sit on top even with loaded tires and rear ballast. Any off camber parts of your drive are extremely dangerous. However, if your drive is completely flat, you might be ok.

One thing to consider is if the drive is ice, you probably won't be removing it, so maybe it doesn't matter if you have chains. However, if you plow/blow on top of ice, chains are a nice to have to get traction. In my case, it's common to have snow then melt then snow again. In between the weather, the snow that melted becomes ice.

You can buy rubber replacements for your skids. I use my rear blade and loader bucket on my asphalt, and it's caused zero damage so far. YMMV.
 
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ve9aa

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TG1860, BX2380 -backblade, bx2830 snowblower, fel, weight box,pallet forks,etc
Apr 11, 2021
1,202
980
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NB, Canada
I've been on pure ice after days of freeze/thaw/rain/flash freeze and so soooo thankful for chains.
I am 100% sure they've saved my bacon once or twice a year, every year.

Now, if I had a concrete driveway I don't know that I'd care to rip it up with chains, so you'd have to come to that decision yourself.

Good luck
 
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GreX

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BX2380
Jan 8, 2023
178
125
43
Maine
I only have last winter as a gauge and I have a rear mounted snowblower, but I didn't find the need at any point for chains. I do have a paved driveway, which is nearly flat (has a slope from the road to allow for drainage), but even in 1'-1.5' of the white stuff (and that's New England snow) and it just chewed it up. I did put the tractor in 4x4 mode for most of it, but with weighted tires and the rear blower the tractor felt extremely capable. I do also leave the loader on with a homemade poly edge, so the weight feels quite balanced as well.

I also have my Ryobi electric riding mower that I put a front snow blade on, and that thing had to have chains on it, but with the electric motors and the "lite weight" (~700lbs) of the machine, the rear tires would constantly break traction when I'd hit a bank and rip up the driveway, so I vowed to not use chains any longer. If it gets real bad, I'll use the walk behind snowblower, or even a shovel, there's always a way.
 
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RCW

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BX2360, FEL, MMM, BX2750D snowblower. 1953 Minneapolis Moline ZAU
Apr 28, 2013
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Chenango County, NY
I've used a front mount snowblower for over 20 years. However, my driveway is stone.

I wouldn't function without chains. You might be okay, but as others said if snow turns to ice things could change. I wouldn't want to find out I needed them with 2 feet of snow in my driveway.....

Chains really don't work well on bare concrete anyway. 6" of hardpack or ice, yes.

I actually think the shoes on the snowblower could mark up your driveway as well as the chains, but I doubt anything would be significant unless you spun . For what it's worth, I fashioned some UHMW liners for my shoes, more to help float over stone than dig in.
 

cthomas

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LX2610 HSDC
Jan 1, 2017
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La Farge Wi
I have a front mounted snowblower on my LX2610, and I always thought it would be cool to make a track system using the three point as the rear bogie wheels.
 

cthomas

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LX2610 HSDC
Jan 1, 2017
863
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La Farge Wi
No, as I also remove the snow for both of my neighbors and don't want to take the chance of damage to the cement. I do find the R14's tires are pretty decent in the snow. I was thinking I got a couple of old snowmobile tracks and what could I build with them. I am kinda surprised that nobody makes snow tires for tractors. Yes, I do install snow tires on my 4 wheel drive pickup.
 
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MapleLeafFarmer

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Lots incl. B and L kubotas
Dec 2, 2019
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E.
Nokian makes the Hakka which is pretty popular snow only tire for tractors
 

bird dogger

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Kubota B2650 and lots of other equipment
Feb 24, 2019
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I've always kept a pair of these Wells Lamont insulated PVC coated gloves handy when moving snow. When you have to clear a clogged chute or just clean the snow off of the blower and blades when putting the rig away, etc. ...... these will keep your hands warm and dry. Plus the snow doesn't stick to them like it will to your leather gloves. They can be had for under $10 most places.
Insulated PVC Gloves.JPG Insulation PVC Glove.JPG
 
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Downeaster

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Kubota BX1880, loader, mower deck, and ballast
Oct 18, 2022
151
69
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Waterford, Maine
I've always kept a pair of these Wells Lamont insulated PVC coated gloves handy when moving snow. When you have to clear a clogged chute or just clean the snow off of the blower and blades when putting the rig away, etc. ...... these will keep your hands warm and dry. Plus the snow doesn't stick to them like it will to your leather gloves. They can be had for under $10 most places.
View attachment 118480 View attachment 118481
That is great. i need a set like these. I use a BX2816 with handle turning. With a mitten or wool glove it is always catching. Hands are warm but still a problem.. Insulated rubber gloves is an answer. thanks.
 
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FrozenInTime

Member

Equipment
BX2370
Mar 25, 2015
53
12
8
ND
IMG_2919.jpg

Atleast it's orange! Paid less for this than the cost of a blower for my 'bota without a cab. One swath down the driveway and it's done. If, like the county is ever fast doing the county road, we need to get out to hiway, doesn't take long to blow 1.5 miles of snow, just a pain in the back. Driveway is appx 1/4 mile. Around the house, I have an Ariens walk behind and a loader on my BX2370. I would like a front mount blower as my back is toast but rear facing mirrors help alot.
 
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Downeaster

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Equipment
Kubota BX1880, loader, mower deck, and ballast
Oct 18, 2022
151
69
28
Waterford, Maine
A rear facing blower is a cheaper option, but in my case I am too old and cannot tolerate turning my head like an owl for long. So with me it was a front snowblower or stick with my trucks snowplow. I bought my snowblower for my 1880 off Facebooks Marketplace for 3k about half what the new cost is. Better yet it is like new condition. I can see serious health problems with owl affect if you do this for long. My opinion.
 

bird dogger

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Kubota B2650 and lots of other equipment
Feb 24, 2019
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It's been close to 30 years now with the same 3 pt. blower and have never experienced a sore neck. The blower is now on its second tractor, the B2650! This same, wide horizontal mirror (see picture) mounted up and in front of the driver all but eliminates any need to look over your shoulder while backing up. Only to check for traffic on the road crossing do I not depend on the mirror.

For me, it's as easy to steer while backing up with this mirror as it is driving forward while using the front mounted pusher blade. The blade up front with the blower behind is a win win combination for me!

My area to keep clear of snow includes the driveway to the house, detached garage, and large graveled areas around my steel shop/storage building. In addition to helping out neighbors with their rural drives when needed.....in all those years there's never been a nicked building, vehicle, etc. Fingers crossed it stays that way!! Large mirrors for 3 pt blowers are the cat's meow!!
And we do get our fair share of snow up here in ND. :LOL:
Horizontal Rear View Mirror .JPG
 
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DustyRusty

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Equipment
2020 BX23S, BX2822 Snowblower, Curtis Deluxe Cab,
Nov 8, 2015
5,684
4,278
113
North East CT
Using a rear snowblower with a mirror is like backing up a trailer. Some people can do it and others can't. Nothing to be ashamed of to admit. I have difficulty backing up a trailer because I don't do it that often. I have a friend who grew up in a trailer park management family and he can back up any trailer better than anyone that I know. He backed up his 20' landscape trailer that I had borrowed from him when I got stuck between 2 rows of cars returning it. I stopped because I knew that I was over my head in trouble. When I have room on both sides, I can handle the trailer, but I never want to be in a place where I can damage someone else's vehicle.
 

KKBL

Member

Equipment
L2501 HST QA 525 loader, 42" forks, brush hog, grader/box/back blades
Jan 5, 2022
81
78
18
Girard, PA
Using a rear snowblower with a mirror is like backing up a trailer. Some people can do it and others can't. Nothing to be ashamed of to admit. I have difficulty backing up a trailer because I don't do it that often. I have a friend who grew up in a trailer park management family and he can back up any trailer better than anyone that I know. He backed up his 20' landscape trailer that I had borrowed from him when I got stuck between 2 rows of cars returning it. I stopped because I knew that I was over my head in trouble. When I have room on both sides, I can handle the trailer, but I never want to be in a place where I can damage someone else's vehicle.
Is anyone using an automotive aftermarket back-up camera for rear mounted equipment? It may be easier than mirrors and could add better vision at night.