The winter months always seem to sneak up on us. We’ve barely put away our lawn furniture and grills, when out of nowhere, it’s time to trade in your lawn mower for a snow blower.
A big advantage of owning a John Deere lawn tractor is it can transform into a powerful and effective snowplow. Lawn tractor owners can add a John Deere snow blower or front blade to their mower to make quick work of removing snow. And there are plenty of attachments — including weather enclosures, seat covers, tire-chain attachments, wheel weights, and more — that add comfort and safety to your winter wonderland experience while enhancing your tractor’s snow removal performance.
With a traditional walk-behind snow blower, removing snow from your driveway can be taxing, especially when the temperature plummets. Using a snow blower attachment on your lawn mower allows you to spend less time in the cold — enabling you to simply sit down and steer the machine instead of pushing a snow blower up and down the driveway.
Lawn mower/snow blower combos also remove more snow than standard snow blowers. By using the tractor’s more powerful motor, the snow blower won’t bog down as easily, allowing it to handle heavier and deeper snow. Some models can even handle more than 20 inches of snow at a time. And, they’re considered by most, to be easier to use than traditional snow blowers.
Whether you’re operating a 100 Series or an X700 Series there are attachments suited for your mower. Matching the right size blade and blower to your model is important for performance. Attachment size is related to the horsepower, weight, and frame size of your tractor. A few examples are:
John Deere’s 44-inch snow blower for the 100 Series lawn tractor works well in all snow conditions, but it’s ideal for homeowners in heavy-snow regions. This model is more effective than single-stage snow throwers when operating in wet, heavy snow. It provides consistent snow placement in all snow conditions because of the tractor’s high speed. The low-speed auger picks up snow and moves it toward the center of the machine, where the high-speed rotor blows it up to 50 feet out of the chute.
Faster rotor speed provides a maximum throwing distance up to 50 feet, plus the high-speed rotor provides consistent snow placement even in variable snow conditions. John Deere has streamlined the installation and removal process for reduced initial set-up time. There are both single-stage vs dual-stage blowers, with both belt-driven and shaft-driven power.
John Deere also offers a 54-in. front blade for the X700 Series lawn tractor. This front blade is excellent for pushing away light snow or other loose material and is constructed for good performance and long life. The blade surface is curved to roll the material, rather than push, which requires less power and increases blade capacity. A bolt-on, replaceable cutting edge takes most of the wear to greatly extend the life of the blade. The blade also comes standard with equipment for controlling it right from the tractor’s seat, and the blade can be angled left, right, or used in the straight-ahead position.
Most lawn tractor manufacturers have snowplow or snow blower attachments available. There are universal plow and blower attachments available for purchase as well, with many that cost as much as a lower-priced walk-behind snow blower. Converting your lawn tractor to a snow removal machine is easy. While there’s a bit more to the job than hooking up an attachment, preparation and access to your owner’s manual ensures you’ll be clearing your driveway in no time.
You’ll need to remove the deck to make room for your bracket and attachment (and to give you extra ground clearance). Make sure to store your deck inside and away from the weather to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
Most lawn tractors are not heavy enough to handle a serious snow removal job—without some help, that is. So put chains on the back wheels, especially for non-4WD tractors, to give yourself the extra traction you’ll need. This is particularly critical if the area you’re plowing is steep, narrow, or includes sharp turns.
Plow blades or blower attachments generally come with a bracket that attaches to your tractor first. Only once the bracket is in place is the attachment installed. Some brackets can remain on the tractor, allowing you to add or remove the attachment without tools, which is a serious time saver.
Some extra weight in the back of your tractor can help to keep you from slipping on icy or snowy terrain. You can add weight by attaching a weight bracket to the back of your tractor and adding weights to it or add wheel weights directly to the rear tires.
In general, plow blades can get closer to the ground, and therefore remove more snow, than blowers. So, when making your decision on the type of attachment you want, consider what kind of snowfall you get and whether you have a problem with thawing and refreezing. If you find that you spend a lot of time in your new tractor-turned-snow remover, you can purchase a snow cab to keep yourself safely out of bitter wind and weather while you work.
Come spring, your tractor can be converted right back to its lawn-cutting duties.
There are some additional features that may make one lawn mower snow blower combo more attractive than others. Most of these features are about convenience, which can be a big deal on a cold day.
Some models include one-handed or electric lift systems that allow you to raise and lower the machine while still seated. You’ll like the ability to adjust the angle of the discharge chute from the seat of the tractor.
Some models can be paired with adjustable skid shoes and replaceable wear plates that allow the snow blower to ride along the ground without damaging the unit itself.
Whatever you decide, know that John Deere has the right combination for your needs so you can spend less time-fighting Old Man Winter and more time enjoying the wonders of the season.
For more information on equipment troubleshooting and maintenance, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.