We have a half-mile driveway, which is narrow in spots. Anyone have any suggestions on how to keep it clear of snow? Snowblower? Tractor? We have a backhoe, and have had the drive snowplowed (took 4 hours) but as we get more snow, this could be a problem, the season’s still early here in Vermont!
Maybe look for an older Jeep. My church has one that can’t go over about 40km/h, but it only is used for plowing snow.
Is there anyway to get a snowblower attachment for the backhoe? That would probably be the most efficient route to go.
Sometimes they use backhoes however change the front bucket to a plow. Its quite effective if you can find a fabricator or simply used one to fit your machine.
If you get a truck, you’ll probably want to look for a 4x4 diesel for your driveway.
I think snowblowers, tractor mounted, handle deep snow better than plows with less need for brute force to push the white stuff around.
I agree with lproctor, a snowblower mounted on the backhoe is a good bet if you can find one. A small farm tractor or large garden tractor with a snowblower would be my next choice, preferably with an enclosed cabin. A big walk-behind snowblower would be next on my list, and then various push-plow type options.
“A big walk-behind snowblower would be next on my list”
With a driveway that is 1/2 mile long?
If a snowplow took 4 hours to clear that driveway, I would hate to be the guy walking behind a snowblower trying to clear that driveway!
Snowblower doesn’t have to push the snow. It might be quicker. Without seeing the exact situation it’s hard to tell, but long narrow drives are hard to plow because you quickly end up pushing too much snow with no easy way to get it out of the way.
Knowing nothing except that upkeep on another vehicle is going to be expensive or time-consuming, if you can do it with the backhoe you will be better-off.
Is there lots of room around the drive to push the snow back, or do you need to move it away?
I live on a half-mile country road that is plowed and it gets very narrow toward the end of the season. Wet snow doesn’t plow very well and once the snowbanks freeze they are very difficult to impossible to move and widen the road…I would use a snowblower …tractor mounted
It seems to me that “walk-behind” snowblowers move at…a walking pace… which is quite a bit slower than a truck-mounted plow.
First, imagine how long it would take to cover that 1/2 mile at a slow walking pace. Now, let’s assume that the walk-behind snowblower has an intake that is, at most, 36 inches wide. As a result, now we have to imagine walking that 1/2 mile…ummm…perhaps three times at a slow walking pace.
Maybe you would want to spend many hours in freezing (or sub-freezing) temperatures doing this, but I surely don’t! Sitting in the heated cab of a 4WD truck with a plow would be a much better and more pleasant use of my time, it seems to me. Or, paying someone else to plow it with his truck would be far preferable to walking behind a snowblower for…maybe…5 hours or more in freezing temperatures.
snowblower takes it. we have a 1200 foot driveway here in Maine, roughly a third of that a steep hill. a snowblower eliminates the need for constantly moving snowbanks back to make room for your next storm, and that part of the job was always a great recipe for getting stuck as the plow and front end would bog down in the looser snow.
i used to plow with a jeep and plow but now have a small tractor (22 hp) and 48" snowblower and it is far superior.
Thank you for all the responses! sjbien, we’re in Vermont, so not far from Maine. You use a snowblower now, how does it handle sticks/branches? We try and keep it clear of debris, but once they’re falling into the snow it gets more difficult, as you know. Are you constantly replacing pins? That’s our fear as the road has trees (lots) on both sides of the road. We have some areas for snow to accumulate (move it to), but some stretches have a steep uphill bank on one side, and a gate on the other. We believe a snowblower is the way to go, but this is our only concern.
I’m asking because we’re building a house, and it will be done next summer. It’s almost done now and we’re trying to keep the road open this year, partly to see what we’re going to need once we live there full time. We had to have the four-hour snow plow done because we couldn’t get the backhoe out! It’s 4wd, and has an enclosed cab (and heat), but we needed chains for this last storm. Looks like it’s going to be a long winter here
routine sticks and branches are not a problem but rocks can be, so in the fall i scout my driveway for the bigger ones. i keep sheer pins on hand and typically use a few but that’s easy and this year, knock wood, i have been through 4 storms and nary a sheer.
i always keep an eye out for debris i don’t want to take chances on and don’t think its a biggy.
having done it both ways i love the fact that once you are done with a snow blower, you are done, no banks to mess with over and over again.
have a good winter.
The BEST would be a tractor with a 6’ blower attachment on the front. I worked clearing snow in a parking lot in upstate NY when I was in college. Far better then a plow…especially when we had 4-3’+ snow storms in a 10 day period.
There are very large walk behind blowers…Some are 4’ wide with a 20hp engine. Take about 2 hours to clear a 1/2 mile long driveway…And it’ll do a far better job then a plow. I’ll bet it’ll take a plow more then a hour.
Some places in Upstate NY don’t even use plows to clear the roads. They get too much snow for plows. Instead they use these HUGH 10’ blowers attached to big trucks. Great for taking care of the amount of snow (300"+) a year…or any small cars that get in the way.
The walk behind blower was my third choice, but yes I’d take it over a plow because there are some nice large ones that could do that drive in a couple hours instead of the 4 it took a plow. It would be far better to get a snowblower attachment on the backhoe the OP already has, and a small tractor with a snowblower would be better than a walk behind. Just my opinion, of course.
Some random thoughts: if your driveway is paved, a blower will work, but I would stick with a plow if it’s a dirt or gravel road. A snowblower will find interesting ways to jam on rocks in the blower stage. How much snow, and is it usually powdery or do you get a lot of ice or a lot of soaking wet snow? A blower can have trouble with ice and slush. How’s the wind where you are? I can guarantee you that the wind always shifts around to blow directly against the discharge chute when I snowblow my 500 ft driveway (walk-behind). At the least, have a way to swivel the chute from the cab, but if it’s a very exposed (windy) area, a blower may be more trouble than it’s worth. That reminds me, is drifting bad? Small branches and twigs will be easily chopped up by a blower, but don’t try feeding logs into it. A six or eight foot wide snowblower is going to be much more expensive to buy and maintain than a plow. Do you have a PTO on the front of your backhoe that can mate with any blower you’re looking at? The only drawback to a plow is that it heaps the snow up to the side and you’ll need a wing plow to knock back the pile so there’s room for the next storm’s snow. You also may need to plow before snow depth exceeds a certain amount, whereas a blower can handle up to its full height. The big question is whether a backhoe will have enough weight (and traction) to plow a reasonable depth – can you add ballast?
If you have this kind of set up- http://boise.craigslist.org/bfs/490615039.html it would make for an easy choice! Heated cab and check out that blower. Not to mention you have a bucket for transporting piles. Probably could get a blade for slush situations too.