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Plowing Gravel Tips

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Moose's Mowing, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 198

    Anyone have tips for plowing gravel drives? I only have 2 or 3 this year, didn't do any last year. I have a 2500HD with a 7-6 Meyers straight blade. I have shoes for it but haven't ever used them. All the rest of my driveways are paved. What's a good way to approach this? Run shoes for everything or not bother and just end up pushing some stone around? Any tips or advice on gravel drives?
  2. 2_Djinn

    2_Djinn Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Back blade everything till the snow/ground is frozen. Shoes have worked against me on gravel.
  3. downtoearthnh

    downtoearthnh Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    There really are no tips for gravel drives, each one presents its own challenges, which have a learning curve attached to them. I remember a gravel drive I plowed in a March storm with no frost that was the classic wheel ruts and high center type. No way to not dig it up, I just hope for the best and sometimes leave them til the next day after a freezing night.
  4. South Seneca

    South Seneca Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    I plow mostly gravel drives. The only thing I used that works is to carry the plow a bit so it doesn't dig into the gravel. I run shoes most of the time but they don't stay on top til things freeze up.
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

  6. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 198

    Cool thanks gentleman. I'll try to keep the plow higher and backdrag more on those few. I like that gravel pipe thing. I was following the post on that the other day. It's not going to work for me this year as I don't have enough gravel plowing to justify it. I don't want to have to fiddle around with installing it then taking it back off. Non of these drives are real close to each other so they gotta get done when I do my route. I thought about leaving them till last and installing the pipe, but that'd be too much extra driving. Thanks for the tip tho.
  7. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    Pipe takes _30 seconds to install
  8. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I have few gravel parking lots I found using my MVP works the best I can drop it and bump it up 2 times. I run no shoes. I keep it in scoop mode

    One lot I took over few years back. The owners was impress come spring time. There was hardly any piles of rock at the pile area. The year before I took it over ,last guy have huge piles of gravel. The owner hired me to level the gravel back out. That's how I got the job for plowing. I told him I can plow it with out have big piles of rock but it will cost more. The owner was happy.
  9. South Seneca

    South Seneca Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    What does the finished driveway look like after the pipe is used? I plow mostly for senior citizens, and I'm concerned about leaving a thin packed layer behind.

  10. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Pea Gravel driveways are terrible to plow, as I had one last year. I did the drop the blade, bump it up routine, but I still caught high spots. Worst part for me was the entire time my tires were digging in. Since the pea gravel NEVER FREEZES, it's continuously loose material, and I just couldn't get proper traction even putting the truck in 4 Low.

    I just charge a lot more for these drives, as I have to go super slow.
  11. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    I refuse to do the pea gravel types as it never freezes regardless of how cold it is. "Regular" gravel driveways will eventually freeze but if they are not frozen yet, just try to keep the plow up a little bit. Back drag to cleanup if necessary. I do not own a pair of plow shoes. They are useless. Not sure why people expect a small piece of steal hanging below your plow will help prevent tearing up the driveway? You just change what is digging it up.
  12. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    Best way to do gravel, is actually to keep it packed at first until the packing freezes into a thin layer of ice. Once you plow it the first couple of times, it won't be glare ice, rather a nice roughed up high traction ice. Sometimes this isn't possible, if the snow lands deep and fast. In this event, it is just a pain to clean. Keep some lift on it (you really shouldn't take it down to under a couple of inches of snow before its frozen). Once the gravel is frozen, there's no difference between it and blacktop.
  13. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 198

    I wish our stuff would freeze that like here. Our problem is we get a wild temp swing. It'll snow, then turn to rain and everything turns to a muddy mess. It might freeze over the course of a few days, but it eventually wamrs back up and melts everything. Makes doing any kind of work a pain, like cutting firewood, or even moving trailers around the yard. It's always a soupy mess. I guess I'll keep the blade a tad higher and back drag as much as possible. If I have to take the tractor over in the spring to clean up any piles, it's not the end of the world. Thanks for the help
  14. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    They arent too bad once you get the hang of it, you will dig up some here and there. Like antlerart said bump it up two clicks and watch for low spots so the corners dont dig in. Pea gravel is the worst I have 3 accounts with that they are summer homes they think its cute. This is maine not florida. I laugh in the spring when the end of their driveways gone from the town plows and there is pea gravel all down the side of the road
  15. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    Cute? The stuff is horrible even to just drive or walk on.
  16. forkicks

    forkicks Member
    Messages: 39

    You guys that plow only paved driveways are spoiled. Refusing to plow a driveway due to it being gravel? Common now:laughing:. But There is a definite learning curve to it. I use to do only nice paved lots and driveways than I moved to PA:dizzy:. Not real rocket science involved in doing it. Number 1 forget about those big 1000 lb plows. Lite duty blades under 700 or less is the only way to go. That is unless you want to be regrading the driveway every spring or digging your way to china when the ground is still soft. But if your smart you explain that they will loose some grave it just can not be helped and offer a discount to regravel their driveway in the spring. Also you have to learn how to make one or two pass's and be done. Trying not to keep going over the same area with the blade to clean it all up this only makes for a big hole. Believe me I have seen some of the results of those that claim to know how to plow. You would think that having grown up in the area and dealing with this all of their life that they would have it figured out. Rear snow plows also work real nice. Their lite weight and do not apply that much down force. ( some models do have down force but you can control it. ) Like anything else with common sense and experience there is little that you will not be able to accomplish and also make money doing it.
  17. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,980

    set your lift chain so that when the lift arm is straight out the blade is @1/2 inch off the ground
  18. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    Good idea. In theory!!

    But that 1/2" off the ground just won't work. No driveway, especially gravel ones, are even close to level. You might be 1/2" off the ground in one place, then 6" off, then digging in 4".
  19. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    Yes and no. It isn't really the 1/2" that is making the difference, but rather the reduction in the down pressure by taking it up with the truck's suspension. Even if the plow hits the ground, it isn't hitting down with the full weight of the plow, because the suspension STILL keeps lifting on it somewhat. Obviously, this will work best with vehicles with a lighter suspension that will articulate more deeply under the weight of the plow.