Tree rescue.

A municipal Unimog with watering arm and tanker trailer waters plane trees along Cologne's motorway stretches.

The employees of Banzhaf Gartenbau GmbH in Essen have never experienced such a hot summer since they started tending to the well-being of vegetation in 1987. The 30 employees work in both the commercial and the municipal sectors. And their reliable fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles are always on hand: an Arocs and two Sprinter vans serve as platform vehicles. Plus, in April 2020, a Unimog U 430 was also purchased to work as an irrigation vehicle. The services of the orange-coloured gardening aid immediately enjoyed surprisingly high demand.

New Unimog for young trees.

Initially, the Unimog was used to irrigate newly planted young trees for the city of Essen. As part of the planting measures put in place, the 1500 trees need to be watered every week for three years, especially in the summer months. And that's a task which the Unimog with its Ecotech watering arm body and 4000-litre tank can easily cope with.

Extreme summer heat resulted in a special order.

The unusually dry summers of recent years pose special challenges for municipalities with regard to the preservation of flora – just as was the case with this "surprise mission" as Christian Weinert, Managing Director at Banzhaf, describes it. Along the oldest of the German Autobahns, the A 555, which was inaugurated in 1932 by the Lord Mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, there are numerous plane trees. Despite these trees having deep roots, the drought made things difficult for them and so a quick and efficient solution was needed. Through an arborist who works for Cologne's motorway maintenance unit, contact was established with the horticultural company based in Essen. Christian Weinert sums the job up today with satisfaction: "It was a really tricky task, but we did it with the help of the Unimog."

From a slurry trailer to a plant protector.

The challenge was to provide the 50 trees with life-giving water "in a single shot" where possible, because closing the hard shoulder for any length of time is a cost-intensive affair. With the Unimog's existing 4000-litre tank, that wouldn't have worked because each plane trees requires around 500 litres of water. So the solution was found in a liquid manure trailer from RKF-Bleses GmbH. The Unimog partner provided the horticultural company with this demonstration vehicle free-of-charge and it was re-purposed for this special order.

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Refreshing work.

The existing tank and the watering arm body of the Unimog were connected to the tanker trailer so that a further 20,000 l were available to it. With this amount of water it was possible to water all of the plane trees with just a single load of water. Now the hard shoulder was able to be closed over a stretch of around one kilometre and the Unimog with its extraordinary water reservoir set about its work. Within two days in September all the plane trees were watered, and two weeks later the venerable trees received another ration of water to carry them through the rest of the summer.

EasyDrive for precise pulling away.

The individual provisioning of the trees was able to be carried out economically and with great precision thanks to the EasyDrive hydrostatic drive: the hydrostatic drive made it possible to cover the short distances between the trees with as little wear as possible. The driver was able to manoeuvre to the intended trees with centimetre precision thanks to the ability to vary the speed steplessly. With the plant-friendly watering function of the Ecotech multiwash system, all plants were also supplied with water in a targeted manner. The thirst of all the plane trees was soon quenched.

We never imagined the Unimog would have such a powerful impact.

Christian Weinert, Managing Director, Banzhaf Gartenbau

Unimog: always well-received.

Before the purchase, the company had some minor doubts as to whether the capacity utilisation of the vehicle could be guaranteed. But the concerns turned out to be unfounded: "Things definitely went the right way with this irrigation contract," explains the Managing Director of Banzhaf Gartenbau. In the middle of the year, the new Unimog was often even driven in two shifts. Christian Weinert was positively surprised: "We never imagined the Unimog would have such a powerful impact. It's even become somewhat of an attraction among the local population." On its many missions in urban areas, it is often greeted by a thumbs-up and has regularly even been filmed and photographed.

Good understanding of superior technology.

The Unimog quickly became the star of the fleet – and not only by opening up new business areas for the company. Its driver also quickly became a fan: as a trained mechatronics engineer with plenty of technical knowledge, the employee wasn't just impressed by the controls in the driver's cab, but also by the technology installed in the Unimog. Other arguments in favour of the Unimog were its high level of driving comfort and the great visibility, which make everyday driving tasks and horticulture applications much easier.

Economical for users.

For Christian Weinert, the Unimog scored points with its efficiency and economy: with the previously used platform trucks, drivers had to get out for each plant to be watered, roll out the hose with the engine running and water a small area. The Unimog with its watering arm body and hydrostatic drive, on the other hand, can be precisely controlled when watering the trees. And the process can be carried out comfortably and conveniently from within the driver's cab – this isn't just more economical, but it's also safer for the crew.

More fields of application for the all-rounder.

The Unimog's steep career path with the horticultural company only began this year, but its multifunctionality has already opened up further fields of application for the all-rounder: Recently, it was equipped with a tipping trailer from Müller-Mitteltal to help out with the logistics for tree planting. Plus, AS Baugeräte is currently developing a reverse tiller to be able to tackle plant growth on construction sites and at the same time mill underneath the soil.

Business is booming.

The extension of the fields of activity and the irrigation tasks have lead Christian Weinert to the conclusion that there could be a new addition to the company's Unimog family next year: "We're considering expanding this line of business. Everything is currently pointing towards the coming summers being even hotter." The trend at the moment is growth: there are still so many trees that need saving.

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