Situated in picturesque, leafy Surrey, Reeds School makes great use of a Trilo BL400 blower and Head Groundsman Grant Shuttle has got on so well with a hired Trilo SG200 vacuum collector, he is purchasing one of his own.
An independent school for boys up to 16 and co-educational in the sixth form, the Reeds School has 643 pupils who enjoy cricket, rugby, hockey and tennis. One old boy has been particularly successful at tennis - former British number one, Tim Henman.
Playing fields, including two astro turf pitches, extend to 10 acres, with another 26 acres of amenity areas and driveways, so that's a lot of leaves for Grant and his two groundsmen to tackle!
"Virtually every pitch is surrounded by trees," he confirms. "Some eight years ago, we decided to replace the dependency on pedestrian and hand held blowers with the tractor mounted Trilo BL400, and it stays on the Kubota L4200 for most of the year."
The blower is used extensively in the school grounds, from clearing leaves and sweeping driveways to removing dirt and debris from the astroturf pitches. An essential task in prolonging the life of synthetic sports surfaces.
"We blow leaves into piles with backpack blowers and then the BL400 just clears it all away," says Grant. "With its 180° spout rotation the blower is really versatile and can get into the tightest corners in car parks and driveways."
Although the blower generally remains on the tractor, Grant comments that attaching it is a simple matter of lifting it onto the tractors three-point linkage and connecting the PTO should the tractor be needed for other tasks in between.
For the past five years, Grant has also hired in an SG200 vacuum collector, using the wander hose to hoover up piles of leaves that have been collected with two Iseki mower-collectors and transporting them to a central dump site. It is also used to clear leaves from slopes, rather than bagging them and having to heave the bags around.
"It is so much easier and quicker to collect the leaves picked up by the Isekis from mini dump points rather than run them all the way back to the main dump," he points out. "The SG200 is very powerful and copes easily with wet leaves but is still small enough to be manoeuvrable."
The SG200 works effortlessly with a Kubota ME5700, although Grant says that a smaller tractor would be more than adequate if one was available.
A change in dump policy and the opportunity to purchase the SG200 at a competitive price were the factors that persuaded Grant to buy the vacuum collector.
"It will pay for itself over four years based on the hire costs and the Trilo machines are so well built and designed that I would expect it to last a lot longer than that," he explains. "And our own SG200 will be used year round - the Iseki mowers can cut and collect before dumping the clippings in a pile for vaccuming up, again saving transport time 30-40 mins in total rather than the 30-40 mins per load."
Grant comments that he has found both machines to be extremely durable and reliable. "They are such good quality, we have not had any problems or needed replacement parts. We also have a very good relationship with The Grass Group, whether hiring machines in or negotiating the purchase of a new one, so it works very well."