Power pack for landscaping.

"This is efficiency!", says landscaper Stefan Schatz about his Unimog U 530.

Stefan Schatz's company is called "Schatzgarten" (treasure garden). And the creative landscaper has indeed found a real treasure in his new U 530. In conjunction with Unimog salesman Markus Förster from RKF Bleses, he configured his blue treasure to handle virtually any task that might occur in his gardening and landscaping business.

"At the end of the day, none does the job better."


Stefan Schatz, landscaper, Schatzgarten GmbH

Expert in the landscaping job.

Stefan Schatz likes to point out that he is "just a simple tradesman”. Apart from the fact that there's nothing "simple" about his trade, the master landscape architect demonstrates his creativity with a wealth of good ideas on a daily basis. His designs include stunning pool areas, well-planned koi-carp ponds, as well as exotic ornamental gardens. But Schatz is also – and especially – creative when it comes to his vehicle fleet. Universal usability and economy are key. He cites an example of his approach: "Think about a tank howitzer. It has enormous penetrating power – much more than a battle tank. But taking all its attributes into account, the battle tank is the more powerful vehicle, because it is more manoeuvrable, faster, and more variable in application. – And that's what I think about my Unimog: There may be vehicles that are better in individual aspects. But at the end of the day, none does the job better."

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Unimog in forestry

Cutting green strips and chopping down trees.

The creative landscaper demonstrates exactly what he means through his use of the U 530. One of today's jobs is cutting the wide green strip between a forest track and a busy main road, and chopping down a number of leaning trees that are threatening to fall on the road. To do the job, Schatz hitches a sturdy trailer to the Unimog, combining a woodchipper and a short timber crane, complete with a tree-gripper and saw. The chipper drum needs enormous drive power, because its feed roller handles tree trunks up to 50 centimetres in diameter, which are then chopped into finger-sized chips. It draws its power from the Unimog's power take-off shaft. The crane hydraulics are operated by the hydraulic unit installed in the U 530.

Safely operated by remote control.

Stefan Schatz stands well outside the danger zone with his radio remote control. He skilfully deploys the crane, and positions the gripper just below the crown of the tree. With a brief tap of the button on the remote control, the chain saw deploys and neatly separates the crown from the trunk. Schatz swings the cutting away, and expertly places it on the chipper conveyor. Now, if not before, we know why the thoughtful landscaper has provided us with earplugs. The chipper is as loud as it is efficient. A few more skilful crane movements, the noisepeaks a few more times – and the over 15 metre high tree is history.

The Unimog at Germany’s largest municipal forestry department


In the quieter phases, Schatz asks: "Hear how neatly the load-sensing controller adapts the power take-off on the engine? It thrills me every time how the engine and power take-off management system operates in harmony. There' no hydraulic jerk, and the revs don't drop a notch – even when the chipper is handling the really thick stumps." The subject of hydraulics is particularly important to Stefan Schatz. His U 530 has all the features possible on a Unimog with a rear power take-off shaft. The Kerpen-based landscaper has also had quick-couplers fitted everywhere, so as to be able to swap the trailer and mounted implements as quickly as possible.

Artist in gardening and landscaping.

The fact that he has lots of skills extending beyond landscaping is demonstrated by the tipper units. "There was nothing that met my needs," Schatz recalls. "So I got myself a basic kit, but made my own twin side panels, complete with hydraulically operated load space cover. I designed it myself, and did all my own welding and painting, and installed it." The raised side panels add capacity. It means Schatz does not need to bring along a second vehicle to transport away the chippings. With around eight tonnes load capacity, the loading platform can also handle heavy items. "I often use the Unimog to collect paving stones for example," Schatz reports. "I prefer to take it rather than the Sprinter."

In the video: This is why landscaper Stefan Schatz chose a Unimog U 530.

In the dense forest environment manoeuvrability is important.

The next job calls: An idyllic little park, with hidden pathways, and the terrain getting ever denser. "That's another reason why I like the Unimog," laughs Schatz in response to the sceptical looks from his companion. "I wouldn't get through here with any other vehicle in this power and weight class. But the Unimog is extremely manoeuvrable. The short wheelbase, combined with the wide steering lock, even allows me to tow a trailer in these conditions. Schatz navigates his 'treasure' adroitly through the undergrowth. Thanks to the low overall ratio, the clutch of the automatic transmission has no problem. All the Unimog driver has to do is accelerate with due care and delicacy. The steering forces are minimised; the low-down windows ensure good visibility. The job is quickly done.

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Then the Unimog heads back to base, down the motorway. "Higher efficiency also means fast transfers," Schatz asserts. "In my view the Unimog is far ahead of other design concepts in that respect." Even at 80 km/h it's quiet enough in the cab to hold a normal conversation. Despite the wide off-road tyres, the steering is precise, and Schatz cruises along in the inside lane. One of the secrets to the smooth ride is the tyre pressure control unit, which the landscaper ordered as an extra: "When it's been raining in the forest for two days, it's useful to be able to reduce the tyre pressure so as to gain sufficient traction. I pump them back up for the motorway drive. The 'Mog' then runs smoothly, with little wear on the tyres."

Unimog scores with total towed weight of 40 t.

Back at the yard, Schatz parks the combination woodchipper unit and attaches his high-capacity centre axle trailer. He has mounted a crane with a large clam-shell grab on the front of it. With the loading aid, it is a little bit front-end heavy. The Unimog's spiral springs imperceptibly give. "Fully laden, I am at just under two tonnes support load," Schatz calculates. "That's exactly the range in which I can still drive at 80 km/h." The U 530 has a theoretical total towed weight capacity of 40 tonnes. "And it manages it too,” Schatz stresses. "It's one more reason why I chose the 7.7 litre 300 horsepower unit."

The Unimog has no problem with dust.

It gets dusty as Schatz fills up his trailer in the yard. The OM 936 engine rumbles sonorously, driving the crane hydraulics with ease. Every now and again there is a quiet puff from the engine compartment. "It's a smart idea," Schatz comments. "One of many. The reversing fan that receives the cooling air counterflow and blows off any troublesome dust." The landscaper is fully aware that it is not just his Unimog's low fuel consumption that makes it highly economical overall. "I only need to have the U 530 serviced every 1,400 operating hours – that's about once a year. The long intervals mean I get more operating time from it." Spending a day with Stefan Schatz, it quickly becomes clear that he cherishes his Unimog like others regard their sports cars or luxury limousines. "For me it's an ideal vehicle," he admits with a grin on hearing the observation. "Others buy expensive specialist equipment which is then left standing around most of the time. The Unimog is also special – but in a way that means it can be used all year round." And there it is again – that typical look as he admires his big blue treasure.

Source: Unimog Magazine 1/2017
Text: Gerhard Grünig
Photos: Henrik Morlock

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