A tractor is designed to deliver a high tractive effort at quite slow speeds, for hauling a trailer or different machinery used in agriculture, mining or construction. A tractor is also a common farm vehicle with the power and traction to mechanize agricultural tasks, and now many more. Agricultural implements are often towed behind or mounted on the tractor, the tractor also provides a source of power if the implement is mechanized.
Keeping your driveway in good shape is more than just for aesthetics purposes. A well-graded gravel driveway helps farm vehicles safely travel without damaging the path itself or your heavy equipment. A trusty tractor can do grade a driveway correctly with a box blade scraper attachment. Gravel driveways look great but to enjoy their aesthetic appearance, you need to carefully maintain them, which can be a task. Gravel is a tricky material and it won’t be enough to sweep it to keep dust away. You would need proper maintenance which includes grading as well.
From Prepping to Smoothing
Weather, water and constant use leave a gravel driveway in dire need of regular maintenance. From filling potholes to creating drainage, the following is all the detail on how to grade a driveway using a tractor using the correct used industrial equipment, and a little preparation. Let’s first clarify what grading a driveway actually means.
What Does Grading a Driveway Mean?
Grading involves filling in uneven spots and also creating drainage with gravel prior to re-smoothing it in an even surface. A box blade scraper is an essential tractor implement that gets the job done right.
Here’s what you need to consider before grading your driveway:
Compaction– Driving the same path over and over again or parking your vehicles in the same spots compact certain areas more than others. Redistributing gravel to these spots in order to maintain the original grade can help.
Erosion and Drainage– Water erodes any surface and creates deep ruts. You can slope the low points of your driveway and also crown it with a small peak in the middle in order to channel water to a lower point.
Cold weather factors- Levelling ground for driveway grading is different if you live in a cold/ snowy area. Snow plows create deep potholes and repeated freezing and thawing causes frost heaves. Gravel would need to be redistributed in order to fill these areas every spring.
Materials- While smaller gravel makes smoother surface, it can wash away easily. You should think about a larger gravel if you have a steeper grade with more drainage.
How to Grade a Driveway
Before using your tractor, the first step should be to fill in potholes and low spots with the gravel. Smaller holes can be filled by hand with a shovel while a backhoe attachment comes in handy for larger areas. To grade a driveway once potholes are filled
Pull gravel from the left side of the driveway towards the center– Set the box blade scraper in a way that it’s 1 ½ inches lower on left side and then pull the left side closer to tractor at a 45-60° angle. Drive along the left side of the driveway in order to make sure the blade digs in to successfully move the gravel.
Repeat- Lift the blade to drive back to the starting point.
Pull gravel from the right side- Reset the box blade scraper to make it 1 ½ inches lower on the right side and angled to the right side of the tractor. Then ride along the right side of the driveway, making sure the blade is digging ½ inch deep into the gravel.
Repeat- Lift the blade while drive back to your right side starting point for a second pass.
Center crown: Walk the center of the driveway to remove debris and create a crown for proper drainage.
Redistribute gravel piles- Level any piling over the end of the driveway using a scraper blade and scraping ½-¾ inches deep.
Smooth the driveway- Remove the box blade and ride down the driveway several times in order to smooth and set the gravel.