Michigan Landscape Contractor Wins PERC’s Big Prize at GIE+Expo
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Greta Kehrl and David Bender went to GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky, looking for new innovations and equipment to use in their landscape construction and renovation company. They left the winners of a 16’ Big Boy trailer, 60” propane-powered Exmark mower, a set of battery-powered Ryobi tools, and gear — the results of entering PERC’s largest-ever giveaway during the annual landscape industry trade show.
Although the season has wound down for most of their business, Green Remodeling & Landscaping in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the two are excited to see what comes next with their new propane mower. Co-owner David Bender has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has ample mowing experience.
“Firing up this Exmark was amazing,” he said of his new propane unit. “It’s running, but it has no apparent exhaust. It’s quiet.”
Because Michigan’s grass goes dormant in mid-October, he had only a brief run on the mower before preparing it for winter storage. But even then, he got a glimpse of the difference operating propane can have for a landscaper. Propane requires no stabilizers and can be left in the cylinder for the entire winter, so the entire winterization process is simple, which is in stark contrast to gasoline or diesel equipment.
He and Kehrl had considered propane mowers eight years earlier, after meeting a contractor who used the fuel. The mowers have changed a lot over the years, with highly-efficient electronic fuel injection, more models available from multiple manufacturers, and even the option to convert existing equipment with propane conversion kits. With higher ethanol blends appearing in commercial gasoline, Bender said using propane could eliminate contamination concerns, too.
“I’ve been told propane is easier to maintain,” he said. “The fuel burns cleaner so you’re not seeing the carbon clogs that come with gasoline.”