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View Full Version : Loading leaves into truck/trailer ... how?


Roger
10-28-2006, 07:46 AM
For those of us who don't have a powered leaf loader, and are too small to consider buying one, and need to haul away the leaves, how do you get them from the ground into the truck/trailer?

Yes, I mulch them down where possible, or dump them on a pile at the customer's site where possible. But, a few places, the leaves need to be hauled away. I see many here on LS have dump trucks or dump trailers, but I don't think ALL have 16, 20, or ? hp leaf loaders.

I work solo and have a 5X10 trailer I used for debris. It has 36" high sides, and a removable end gate. For equipment, I have an 8 hp Lesco wheeled blower and a Stihl BG85 hand blower, some 8X10 tarps, and a couple of steel-tined rakes. Beyond that, everything else is hard labor, pure and simple.

If the leaves are not close to the trailer, I put them on tarps (gather with the blowers, rake them on the tarps), and carry them over my shoulder, walking up the rear of the trailer and dumping. If the pile is close to the trailer, or can be blown close to the trailer, then I load directly into the trailer (no tarps). If the pile is damp and the leaves are heavy, I use a 12-tined silage fork to move them from the pile into the trailer. If they are dry and light, then I use two steel-tined rakes, one under each arm, hands near the end of the handle/rake head. Using a "claw" motion, I gather the leaves together between the rakes and lift them into the trailer. Remember the sides of my trailer are a bit over 4' off the ground, so I can work over the edge of the trailer, not just from the open back.

After the leaves are in the trailer, then comes the hard part, stomping and packing them. If the leaves are wet or damp, they pack pretty well. If they are dry, then much packing is needed to get a full load.

If the entire trailer is loaded with tarps, I can get about 30 tarps into the 5X10X3 trailer box. Dry leaves just dumped into the box will fill the box with about 6 tarps, but then comes the packing to enable me to get the other 24 tarps.

For those with leaf loaders, you are probably saying "... sounds like too much work." You are right, it is hard work. The most energy draining part is the stomping and packing. However, carrying heavy tarps of wet or damp leaves across a yard is not so easy either.

Does anybody have any other suggestions? Surely there are many on here who aren't big enough to warrant the cost of a truck with a 20hp leaf loader. I see many with dump trailers, and no leaf loader attached.

I have given serious thought to a small dump trailer, but don't believe my 60-70 load per seaon justify the expense. And, the sides of a dump trailer, or a dump truck, are too high to load over the side. Even though my trailer isn't very large, the bed height off the ground is about 14", which makes access good. If I made the sides higher to haul more leaves, then I negate the possibility of loading over the sides, meaning all debris must come in from the rear. I have done this work for many years, and keep finding slight improvements. But, I'm looking for a major improvement! Lawn mowing is easy compared to handling leaves.

Please don't just suggest mulching the leaves, because I would do so if possible. There are good reasons why they must be hauled out (most of the properties have a very high bed area to turf area ratio, leaving too little turf area to spread the leaves for mulching).

TURFLORD
10-28-2006, 08:11 AM
Don't they sell green barrels where you are? :confused: I think they're about 33 gallons. Leaves go into barrel, barrel gets hefted onto should, barrel gets tossed over side or through gates in back of rack truck. A step ladder is most convenient for the vertically challenged employees.

turfsolutions
10-28-2006, 09:50 AM
Hand loading leaves on a truck would require a min of 2 people if you did not have a leaf vac set up. Hand loading by yourself cannot be profitable. They have a lot of different size leaf vacs you can setup if you are flying solo. The smaller ones are not so good when wet leaves are abundant. Either put some money into a helper, or invest in some equipment.

Another idea is to work with another landscape co. that has a leaf vac set up. You pile the leaves in the street, he comes and sucks the piles up for you. You pass the charge onto the customer.

jtkplc
10-28-2006, 09:57 AM
I have a grass and leaf gobbler and I just run my walk-behind up on my trailer (6x12, open) when the bagger gets full. I made a platform that runs from my tailgate to the front of my trailer so I can walk across it without any safety concerns. Everytime my bagger gets full, I drive up my trailer, unhook the bagger walk into the back of my truck, empty the bag, and go back to fill up the bag again. It's the best method I could think of for being solo and not having very many leaves to pick up to justify a vacuum system for my 260Z and/or a leaf loader for sucking up the leaves.

I will try to get some pics of how I do leaves.

Raven386
10-28-2006, 10:01 AM
Don't they sell green barrels where you are? :confused: I think they're about 33 gallons. Leaves go into barrel, barrel gets hefted onto should, barrel gets tossed over side or through gates in back of rack truck. A step ladder is most convenient for the vertically challenged employees.


except when they are afraid of ladders like myself!

gravedigger5
10-28-2006, 10:05 AM
Roger, without a leaf loader/vac, you are already doing everything possible. Reading your post, it brings back nightmares of my first season doing leaves by myself, loading into the back of a 1 ton dump truck using a tarp:cry: After that I got a 11 hp billy goat debris loader:drinkup: the only thing and you might already be doing that is when unloading a non-dumping truck or trailer, use spare tire or something large with a cable attached. put the tire in front, and hang cable out the back. Put your load of leaves on top then when you go to unload pull the tire out with the cable and about 80% of the leaves will come out. might need to tie cable to a tractor or tree to pull it out. Marc

jcb287
10-28-2006, 10:35 AM
If you dont have a leaf loader then the only other real option is "2 men and a tarp" which can be a pain in the @$$!:cry:

Roger
10-28-2006, 10:36 AM
gravedigger ... Unloading is the "easy" part! Yesterday, I spent about 2:45 to get a full load (about 30 tarps). It was jammed tight with leaves, some of them a bit damp which helped with packing. I take them to a dump, but have nothing to tie off for pulling the load out. I have a "refuse hook" (AM Leonard sells them), and able to pull off the back part of the load while standing in the back with the end gate out. I don't need to be neat in how they are dumped out of the trailer. The rest of the load is forked off with a 4-tined pitchfork, some more out the back, but most of the front of the load is pitched over the side. Unloading only takes about 0:30 of fast work, maybe 0:40 if I'm dragging.

That's the best I can do for my age (now past 65). Every season after the first few loads, I say "there must be a better way."

I have thought about some other suggestions of a small loader. However, I'm not sure about much time saving. I've seen the 20hp models run, and they really make short work of a pile! However, a small unit (such as might be used on a Cyclone, or other vac unit) would probably be very slow to take away a pile. And, the issue of getting it to the site, having to return after the unloading to pick up, etc may be more hassle than worth. The primary element of interest would be if, when the leaves pass through the vac unit, they are finer and would pack more easily than whole ones. I don't care about what they look like at the dump. I get no points for bringing finer chopped leaves to the dump!

The 6hp vac units on the attachments might work fine when there is a steady flow of debris from under a mowing deck. But, starting to work on a pile might be a challenge, both to the unit, and to the patience of the operator.

As for the barrel suggestion, I think that method would be horribly slow. Without doing a test, I suspect that I get 3-4 barrels of leaves on one 8X10 tarp. And, I can lay the tarp and rake (or fork, if damp/heavy) directly on the tarp. Loading leaves into a 33 gal barrel sounds like a long day. Also, the tare weight of a tarp is next to nothing. The tare weight of a barrel starts to add up.

I typically use 2 or 4 tarps, and where a pile or row exists, they can all be laid out and loaded at the same time. Often 2 tarps can be dragged across the lawn to the trailer at one time. But, each situation is different; sometimes they need to be carried because of terrain, rocks, mud, etc. The distance to/from the trailer also effects how I might work.

DBL
10-28-2006, 10:40 AM
before we had leaf vac and dump trucks we had a trailer we built sides on and we would load leaves on taprs and tarp them over and dump the on the trailer and when the load got big enough we would cover it up with the tarp and go dump it which was just as hard pushing all the leaves off

jtkplc
10-28-2006, 11:21 AM
The easiest and cheapest way to get leaves out of the back of a truck is a load handler. $170 and I can unload an entire truck full of leaves, with 2ft high sides on the box in about 30 seconds to a minute. Then I just use my blower to get the little bit that's left behind in front of and behind the tire wells.

By the way, how much are you guys spending on these leaf loaders, maybe they aren't as much as I though? I saw a couple on ebay, one a 10hp leaf loader, new, was going for $2500 or something like that.

scagwildcat
10-28-2006, 11:40 AM
the fastest way will be a tarp or what you can do is make a pile near your truck just as if you had a leaf vac, then using two rakes put one rake handle on your shoulder and put your hand the opposite way that you would normally grip a rake use the other to push the leaves onto it, now use the two like tongs then lift over the side of your truck.... once you get used to it you can load leaves faster then when you use a tarp, i can generally load a pile about the size of a car in about five min..

guven
10-28-2006, 01:03 PM
gravedigger ... Unloading is the "easy" part! Yesterday, I spent about 2:45 to get a full load (about 30 tarps). It was jammed tight with leaves, some of them a bit damp which helped with packing. I take them to a dump, but have nothing to tie off for pulling the load out. I have a "refuse hook" (AM Leonard sells them), and able to pull off the back part of the load while standing in the back with the end gate out. I don't need to be neat in how they are dumped out of the trailer. The rest of the load is forked off with a 4-tined pitchfork, some more out the back, but most of the front of the load is pitched over the side. Unloading only takes about 0:30 of fast work, maybe 0:40 if I'm dragging.

That's the best I can do for my age (now past 65). Every season after the first few loads, I say "there must be a better way."

I have thought about some other suggestions of a small loader. However, I'm not sure about much time saving. I've seen the 20hp models run, and they really make short work of a pile! However, a small unit (such as might be used on a Cyclone, or other vac unit) would probably be very slow to take away a pile. And, the issue of getting it to the site, having to return after the unloading to pick up, etc may be more hassle than worth. The primary element of interest would be if, when the leaves pass through the vac unit, they are finer and would pack more easily than whole ones. I don't care about what they look like at the dump. I get no points for bringing finer chopped leaves to the dump!

The 6hp vac units on the attachments might work fine when there is a steady flow of debris from under a mowing deck. But, starting to work on a pile might be a challenge, both to the unit, and to the patience of the operator.

As for the barrel suggestion, I think that method would be horribly slow. Without doing a test, I suspect that I get 3-4 barrels of leaves on one 8X10 tarp. And, I can lay the tarp and rake (or fork, if damp/heavy) directly on the tarp. Loading leaves into a 33 gal barrel sounds like a long day. Also, the tare weight of a tarp is next to nothing. The tare weight of a barrel starts to add up.

I typically use 2 or 4 tarps, and where a pile or row exists, they can all be laid out and loaded at the same time. Often 2 tarps can be dragged across the lawn to the trailer at one time. But, each situation is different; sometimes they need to be carried because of terrain, rocks, mud, etc. The distance to/from the trailer also effects how I might work.


I am solo and my leaf clean up set up is 2 rake , 4-5 tarp and bp , it works for me , I put two 6x4 plywood in my truck bed and when I put the leaves in to it, I press it, now I can not do better than this, the barrel suggestion is not work for me , but if I have 2-3 barrel load leaf maybe work ,also barrel is much heavier than a tarp,I make 3 or 4 pile and I carry them in my truck bed and thats it. if some one help me I will be flying.by the way most of my yard have lots of leaves,I have to do over 90 yards clean up this fall I hope we are not going to get snow in the middle of the Dec.In addition if I did not have redmax8000 I will not do any of them, I love my redmax8000,I was going to buy walk behind blower (billy goat force 13HP) but I figure out If I buy it I can use it 2 or 3 of my yard it will be not good investmet therefore I got another 8000.
To clean yard is hard job but good money.my right arm is killing me because of blower, how is your arm? Is the blower making your arm numb?

JohnsonLawn
10-28-2006, 03:55 PM
Brother, I have been in your situation before and I know how hard it can be doing cleanups as a solo guy without a loader. All I say is this, I would not even think about leaving the shop in the morning for a day of mowing without my trailer and 54" and 48" mowers. To do the amount of work we do in a day with 21" mowers is just not productive and feasible, so to me the mowers are a must have investment to be profitable. Well, I hate to say it but the same goes for a loader during cleanup season. As a solo, you need to be a efficient as possible to be profitable, so look for a used loader and get yourself setup right before this season really gets going. You could find one used for under a $1000.00 and I PROMISE you this, you will be kicking yourself in the a$$ for not getting one sooner (I know I was). I know it seems like alot of money, but it will pay for itself in no time and will save you ALOT of physical labor and allow you to work a longer day and make more $$$$. Good luck out there.

guven
10-28-2006, 04:09 PM
Brother, I have been in your situation before and I know how hard it can be doing cleanups as a solo guy without a loader. All I say is this, I would not even think about leaving the shop in the morning for a day of mowing without my trailer and 54" and 48" mowers. To do the amount of work we do in a day with 21" mowers is just not productive and feasible, so to me the mowers are a must have investment to be profitable. Well, I hate to say it but the same goes for a loader during cleanup season. As a solo, you need to be a efficient as possible to be profitable, so look for a used loader and get yourself setup right before this season really gets going. You could find one used for under a $1000.00 and I PROMISE you this, you will be kicking yourself in the a$$ for not getting one sooner (I know I was). I know it seems like alot of money, but it will pay for itself in no time and will save you ALOT of physical labor and allow you to work a longer day and make more $$$$. Good luck out there.
Hi Sir
You are right , but the problem is my truck is not big, I have a tacoma, therefore I have to press the leaves in to the truck bed, If I get bigger I will buy bigger truck and loader. I agree with you ,my way is not easy , it is hard way to clean leaves
thanks ,

Runner
10-28-2006, 04:21 PM
The tarp is the way to go in your case. You should never be slinging it over your shoulder, though. This tells me that you may be using smaller tarps. This is ok for some stuff, but generally not for leaves. You should be running 10x12 or 12x14 tarps. Just pull the tarps to the truck. For distances, what I always did, was take a short piece of chain, wrap it around the rear frame (opposite side of the exhaust outlet), and connect the chainloop with a nut and bolt. Then, I would use two short bungy straps - using the hooks in the loops of the end of the tarp and looping the strap through the chain. I could pull heavy tarps of leaves effortlessly, then. Always carry a pitchfork, for if the tarp is ever too heavy OR what works really well is just have an extra tarp to lay out near the truck , and dump half the tarp onto that. Then you just dump the tarps. In doing this, just grab the four corners, wrap them up and grab the side furthest away from you. you can swing the whole thing up and in then. Now, with TWO guys, "swing" is the operative word. With a man at each end, yu just swing it once and do it on the count of two. Let the momentum do the work for you. The load wil go right up and in with alot less effort.
Now, for capacity difficulties, if you have to take alot, but are short on room, if you haven't already shredded and mulched them up severely before you tarped them to take to the truck (best order to do it in), you can make piles (or a pile) on the lawn near the street and back the mower through them. You can take a truckload of mowed leaves and compact them down to what would equate to about a 4" blanket on the floor of the truck. When we use tarps, we mulch ours down to about the consistency of cereal, but we do it out in the yard BEFORE we tarp it to take it to the truck.
When I first started years ago, I can't TELL you the amount of useless time we spent walking the leaves down in the back of the truck, just so we could fit more on. If had known back then what I know now, I would of been dangerous.

Tharrell
10-28-2006, 07:10 PM
Have you thought about those hose accessories for wheeled blowers? I have an extra blower with a steel impeller that I was considering using for loading piles next to the curb.

JohnsonLawn
10-28-2006, 07:28 PM
I also use to use my garden tractor to pull the tarps to the truck. Worked like a charm and saved my back

mkwl
10-28-2006, 10:16 PM
Don't they sell green barrels where you are? :confused: I think they're about 33 gallons. Leaves go into barrel, barrel gets hefted onto should, barrel gets tossed over side or through gates in back of rack truck. A step ladder is most convenient for the vertically challenged employees.

I use green barrels for loading leaves into my trailer too. I gind the leaves down, and use the barrels to load the leaves into the trailer. Works for me!

DuallyVette
10-28-2006, 10:18 PM
Hi Sir
You are right , but the problem is my truck is not big, I have a tacoma, therefore I have to press the leaves in to the truck bed, If I get bigger I will buy bigger truck and loader. I agree with you ,my way is not easy , it is hard way to clean leaves
thanks ,

If you can't work efficiently, you can make more $$ at Walmart. More efficient = more profit. You can't compete with a 50" mower if you have a 21". Either get in or get out. Standing in the doorway is a waste of time. A $3000 16hp loader will last over 10 years= $300 per year... right??? If you need a truck, you need a truck.

exmark72
10-29-2006, 01:08 PM
roger== what does your current mowing setup consist of.. also what truck are u useing???

Roger
10-29-2006, 09:04 PM
Exmark72 ... Here is a brief description of my setup:

Equipment:

1. Exmark Viking, 36" deck, 15hp Kohler, Grass Gobbler (usually use notched airfoil blades, but now often use regular Gators with a chute blocker for mulching leaves)
2. John Deere 717A, Z-track, 48", 19hp Kaw, no bagger, always running standard hi-lift blades for discharge mode; no bagger, and no desire to get one.
3. LawnBoy DuraForce, 21" sp, use with side bagger, discharge plate, or mulching plate.
4. Stihl BG85 hand blower
5. Lesco 8hp wheeled blower
6. 8X10 tarps, several
7. Steel-tined rakes, Ames with rams-horn spring

Trailers

1. Big Tex, 6.5X12, 3,500# axle trailer, with ramp end gate. Used for equipment. Front 4' is boxed off with plywood bin, fully across, about 30" high. Used primarily for dumping/hauling grass clippings during mowing season. Will hold about 50-60 LawnBoy bags (or equivilent) of debris, approx 1 cu yd.

2. Viking 5X10 trailer, with 35" side boards, 5.80X12, C Load tires (3,500#), drop-in end gate. Used for hauling debris to the dump (either grass clippings, or now, leaves)

Truck

Ford F-250XL, 2wd, reg cab, 8 ft bed. The rear has a cap, with double deck platform. Used to haul all hand tools (weather proof, secure), including gas powered ones (hand blower, hedge trimmer, string trimmer, stick edger).


For moderate leaf jobs and when I can use mowers, I take the Big Tex trailer, mowers on the back, using the bin to dump debris (e.g. grass clippings or leaves). The open area on the rear portion of the 12 ft trailer will haul either the Exmark OR the JD, and the hand mower. I cannot haul both the Exmark and JD at the same time. This is a Winter project to make the bin easy on/easy off so that both can be hauled.

For the major leaf removal jobs (those jobs of concern that prompted the thread), I take the 5X10 debris trailer. I can take the Lesco blower in the empty trailer. After the leaves are loaded, I may or may not be able to take the Lesco blower away with me. If there is space to stuff it in the back, fine. If the load is very full, I may take it with me. When I have a hill to back up against, I can use boards for a ramp to roll the blower across the end gate, dumping it into the load of leaves. I am not able to lift it over the top of the sides or end gate (it weighs 128#). In some cases, for a very full load, I leave it at the customer's property, go to the dump, unload and return for the blower. The dump is nearby (very good news!), only about 3 miles from my house. And, most of my properties are within 3 miles of my house, which means I don't have to drive very far to/from the dump.

I know this sounds like a pretty skinny setup to those with big operations. However, I am now past 65 and am not in this for the long-haul. I know I intend to make another season at least (just bought the JD this Spring - my retirement gift...?). Therefore, I do not wish to spend large money on equipment at this time (e.g. truck, trailers, etc). I am not a large, strong person (5-9, 165# -- sounds like I'm calling Dan Patrick on ESPN radio sports talk, huh?), so I am always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things.

I have considered a backpack blower for a couple of years, but just don't see how it would help. The hand blower works well for beds, and when I get leaves to the open, the Lesco wheeled blower will move the leaves pretty well. I certainly mulch them down with the Exmark where I can, and much improvement has been made in the past couple of seasons to minimize the hauling-away mode. I have found the crude mulching method with the Exmark, chute blocked, standard Gators, and then making a pass across the yard AFTER mulching with the Lesco blower is a very effective way of getting rid of the leaves, yet leave a smooth, finished look.

But, despite doing as much mulching as I can, there are still some properties needing the haul-away. There is not nearly enough turf to absorb all the leaves from beds, patios, driveways, etc.

I hope this helps explain my operation, and why I asked the original question.

exmark72
10-30-2006, 05:40 PM
if i were u i would get a bagger for the ztrack and use that.. either a side bagger or rear mounted. that would be the easiest way to go...

gmgg
10-31-2006, 07:47 PM
Wow, am I glad I don't have to haul leaves--around here all yards have at least some woods around them, so that's where the leaves get dumped. Some ideas that might help: 1.Get big tarps (15x20) and haul them to the truck with a mower.
2.I've seen propane companies that have a winch mounted on their trucks for removing/installing tanks. Don't know what something like that would cost, but would think a hand operated one wouldn't be that expensive. Mount to truck or trailer, line trailer and sides with huge tarp, use winch to load and unload trailer.
Just a thought, don't know if it would be practical or not.

ferdinand711
10-31-2006, 09:36 PM
out of curiousity guys, with all this amazing machine that you're using i'm sure it adds up your overhead expenses. so how much do you charged for the leaf removal?

cantoo
10-31-2006, 10:31 PM
Roger, you need to go to Home Depot and rent a back pack to try it out. For smaller properties they work well and you will be able to haul it with you. I think they are easier than pushing around a wheeled blower too. I hvae mine hang on the side of my leaf box.

ferd, if we didn't do leaves our short season would already be over and we would have no income. Leaf machines are just like mowers, if you want to do the work then you need the machines. We charge for leaves just like we do any other job, I don't need a hobby. We use the leaf equipment more than we use our hedge trimmers and the price isn't a whole lot different. I know it sucks to have equipment sitting but I don't have a problem with it. Takes money to make money.

ferdinand711
10-31-2006, 10:46 PM
Roger, you need to go to Home Depot and rent a back pack to try it out. For smaller properties they work well and you will be able to haul it with you. I think they are easier than pushing around a wheeled blower too. I hvae mine hang on the side of my leaf box.

ferd, if we didn't do leaves our short season would already be over and we would have no income. Leaf machines are just like mowers, if you want to do the work then you need the machines. We charge for leaves just like we do any other job, I don't need a hobby. We use the leaf equipment more than we use our hedge trimmers and the price isn't a whole lot different. I know it sucks to have equipment sitting but I don't have a problem with it. Takes money to make money.

don't get me wrong , i understand all the consiquencies off having all that but i'm just curious of how much you charge for it because i haven't done it yet. I do Landscape Designs and Installations. if that is asking to much from you them don't bother on doing so. i mean just ignore my inquiry.

God Bless!!!

topsites
11-01-2006, 02:05 AM
idno, it is a bit of a pita but I've loaded manually solo for 4+ years now lol.

I started with a 6x8 cordura / dernier personal size tarp and a rake, load'm up and hump'm santa claus style, and dump in trailer.

Over time I built up strength so I use an 8x10 tarp today, still solo.
Btw, in the pics below the red tarp is the 6x8, the yellow one is the 8x10.

Keep this in mind: You can load 4-6 loads until the trailer is 'full.'
Now you get up on top and stomp around for a few minutes to compress them...
Then, another 2-3 tarp loads, stomp some more, then 2-3 more and keep doing that until you can't get no more in there.
Then, take the tarps and some spring clamps (get the steel ones for $1.09 at Home Depot), and secure...
Trust me, I tried using rope to secure tarps for 2 years, spring clamps rule the day.

If you do it right, you can get them off with the backpack blower :-)
One trick is when you first start blowing them back out, blow over the side...

Time: 2 hours to load, includes the time it takes to pile them up in the first place.
20-30, maybe 45 minutes to unload.
Cost: $200 for the below load, total (cleanup + load + haul + unload).
But yes, I have a Br-550, a Br-420, and a 10hp pushblower as well.

http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/leafload2.jpg
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/leafload6.jpg
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/leafload3.jpg
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/leafload4.jpg
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/leafload5.jpg

p.s.: ahhh it is a 6x12x2 in the pics
as you can see, i blew a LOT of those over the side vs. out the back.

Roger
11-01-2006, 08:10 AM
topsites ... Our process is similar. However, I believe I spend far more time to pack the trailer. I think my 5X10X3 (maybe more like 34") box will hold about 30 tarps, 8X10. Oh yes, the first six tarps will fill the box, but then the stomping and packing begins. In reality, I don't do it that way. If I am loading primarily by tarps, I start at the front. When I dump the tarp, I turn it over before unloading, then pack on top of the turned-over tarp. Then carefully pull off the tarp. Keeping the leaves contained within the tarp, at least to some extent, will make the packing quicker.

Rather than clips along the edges to hold the tarps on the full load, I merely put hand tools (e.g. forks, shovels), or boards. I usually take four 1X8, former decking, boards that are heavy. By stuffing them vertically along the edges, the tarp will stay in place well. Also, a good heavy 4X4 along the back will keep the back tucked in tight. Not having to drive very far, and only having to drive on local roads (e.g. no highways, freeways) helps, as I don't have to drive very fast.

Obviously, your trailer is not packed like mine. I cannot use any blower to unload. The leaves are too tight and the blower will not push them out. If the leaves are a bit damp, the fork will pull out slabs of leaves. The blower is ineffective in getting them out of the trailer. Obviously, the kinds of leaves will also determine how well they pack and how tight they are to get out of the trailer. Dry oak leaves are the worst! Sopping wet oak leaves are the best.

Oh what fun ....!

TriplePLandscaping
11-01-2006, 08:25 AM
ive got a rackem catcher on my z, (fits through gates like a glove) and a 65 gallon can on wheels, thatll hold about 5 catchers worth of leaves/grass. then in the bed of the pickup ive got a huge tarp that was used to cover lumber (slides easily out of the bed) i roll the filled can up the back of the trailer then up onto the tailgate of the truck and dump into the bed. works pretty well cause my brother's mowing and im dumping, not much time loss. getting a vac system next season though...

LawnBrother
11-01-2006, 10:44 AM
Ok, Roger, I think you are pretty efficient already with what you have, but here is a tip to help with the packing and unloading. I have 5x10 trailer also (yeah it is a little small isn't it?) The rake and tarp method is great, for getting the leaves into the trailer, but then comes the packing. Go to Lowes or HD and get a large, thick piece of wood as close to 5x8 as you can get, but not bigger than your trailer (you may have to cut to fit), and also at least 6 tarps. Put a tarp down on the bare floor of the trailer and load the leaves on top of it. When its almost full, place the wood over the leaves, it should cover most of them, and then walk on the wood to pack the leaves. This will save a LOT of energy and time. Once you have packed them down, remove the wood, place another tarp over the leaves you just packed, and repeat the process until your trailer is full. You now will have 5 or so layers of leaves with a tarp in between each. Place the wood on top and secure well with ratchet straps and another tarp if neccessary. When it comes time to unload, you just have to pull each tarp out one at a time. Much easier and faster than raking or blowing out a trailer packed tight with leaves. Hope that helps!
P.S. Invest in a very powerful backpack blower, you will wonder what you ever did without it.

eXtreme Lawncare
11-01-2006, 02:04 PM
I wish I was that small in fall we run 2 men crews with walker mowers 9.5 bushel boxes and we use agrifabs vac systems we took a vac cart from our bigger mower and used it as a loader and at $900 cost and a 15' hose you couldnt beat them our box trailers are 16' and with 6 foot heightthey hold about 200 walker dumps and it shreads them good dont bog down with 8hp engines they load at a rate of about 6walkerdumps to 1 in thin leaves 4 dumps to 1 and anyone who does leaves knows a 6'' layer of leaves wont take long to fill the bagger
3 acre lawn w 100 oak mature trees 2 week between cleanups old way 8 hrs 1 walker/ man 5 trailers of loose leaves now 3.5 hrs 2 man 2 mowers 1 trailer and we use blower side of vac to cleanout trailers got to go vac

ein999
10-03-2009, 11:51 AM
Extreme,

Are you saying that you are getting more leaves into the trailer because you are grinding them down more. your post says 5 trailers full compared to just 1 trailer of leaves. What makes your method more effecient the agri fab vac system?

topsites
10-03-2009, 01:10 PM
Tarp and rake, a stubby 10-tine pitchfork works real good too.
It's only a pain until you get used to it, but they sell small enough tarps like
6x8 'personal' size that one man can easily load by himself, after so many
years I prefer the slightly larger 10x8's and don't get a cheap tarp!!!
The tarp needs to be made of a tough woven cloth, like dernier or cordura,
don't ever use one of those cheap plastic POS.

I can get at least a dozen of those 10x8's loaded tarps in my trailer, push them down, load some more,
usually I get around 14 to 16 of those in there before it's to the point I can't get much more in.

Then after I'm done loading I use the tarp to cover the load, clamp it down with spring clips, off I go.

To unload, I use the backpack blower.
Been doing it that way for 8 seasons now :laugh:

hockeypro1411
10-03-2009, 02:46 PM
This guy seems to have a good thing going. Just set up a tarp behind the cab as a "backboard". Lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CktICaG32Ps

Jay Ray
10-03-2009, 07:50 PM
I have no experience with snow blowers, but a bigger unit might work for plowing them to the edge of the woods and then blowing them into the woods. But probably not, or more people would already be doing that.

I got some hoses for my Cyclone rake and am going to play around with just the power unit (impellar and engine) and the hoses this leaf season. Don't know if I can come up with a good process.

topsites
10-03-2009, 08:05 PM
That's too slow, once the leaves are all in a big pile I can load them a whole
lot faster than that with just the old rake and tarp.

That's the thing, you first have to get them ALL in a big pile, seeing how you have to clean up the yard anyhow.
It helps to try and locate this pile somewhere you can get near with the trailer.
Get the whole yard cleaned up first, into however many BIG piles.

Once they're all piled up, takes all of 1-2 minutes per tarped load, all I gotta do is rake them on the tarp,
huff it up on my shoulder, walk a few steps to the trailer, dump it, and just keep right on doing that.
I can usually load my 6x12x2 trailer in 20-30 minutes.

STIHL GUY
10-03-2009, 11:29 PM
for leaves i have me and a helper and we load leaves into the truck with a tarp. it seems to work really well

eastportstar
10-05-2009, 07:19 PM
we do the old 2 guys and a tarp thing too. after the spring workout though, i'm gonn try the tarp, layer of leaves, tarp, layer of leaves, etc, etc, etc. and then peel off a layer at a time at the dumps. i've heard about it but never tried it. going shopping for some nice tarps this week, i'm guessing 6 x 10 (same as trailer) maybe a hair bigger. fingers crossed...

Roger
10-05-2009, 09:09 PM
eastportstar, ... let us know how it works. I've never tried the layered tarp because I am concerned I would not be able to pack the trailer tight. Also, I tend not to load the trailer in layers, rather front-to-back, tromping them as I load. Usually, I carry the tarps over my shoulder, walk up a ramp at the back, walk toward the front of the trailer, then dump, and tromp them in tight as possible. Layering tarps wouldn't work with this scheme.

Also, if the leaves are wet, or even damp, I would be concerned I would not be able to pull a layer off the trailer at the dump. I unload myself. If two people, one on either side of the trailer, then it would make more sense. But, solo, ... I'm not sure. If it wouldn't work, trying to fork off the load with the tarps would be a nightmare.

Allens LawnCare
10-05-2009, 10:26 PM
The easiest and cheapest way to get leaves out of the back of a truck is a load handler. $170 and I can unload an entire truck full of leaves, with 2ft high sides on the box in about 30 seconds to a minute. Then I just use my blower to get the little bit that's left behind in front of and behind the tire wells.

By the way, how much are you guys spending on these leaf loaders, maybe they aren't as much as I though? I saw a couple on ebay, one a 10hp leaf loader, new, was going for $2500 or something like that.

Billy goat 11 hp is selling new for $1799

Jay Ray
10-05-2009, 10:43 PM
That's too slow, once the leaves are all in a big pile I can load them a whole
lot faster than that with just the old rake and tarp.

That's the thing, you first have to get them ALL in a big pile, seeing how you have to clean up the yard anyhow.
It helps to try and locate this pile somewhere you can get near with the trailer.
Get the whole yard cleaned up first, into however many BIG piles.

Once they're all piled up, takes all of 1-2 minutes per tarped load, all I gotta do is rake them on the tarp,
huff it up on my shoulder, walk a few steps to the trailer, dump it, and just keep right on doing that.
I can usually load my 6x12x2 trailer in 20-30 minutes.

I think you're right, but I got a lot less experience than you, so I'm still beating my head against the wall looking for an easier way without spending a lot.:hammerhead:

Allens LawnCare
10-06-2009, 08:16 AM
The wind never works with you, I make one big pile where ever the wind will let me. Drop the deck on my Z. Drive right at the pile, you do a small wheelie but I can move a decent amount of leaves (Kinda like the leaf plows you see, without the plow.)right onto my trailer without touching one of the,

MikeKle
10-06-2009, 10:38 AM
Another method which Ive done a few times is to use a WB with a leaf plow and push them up the traler gate! Once it gets too full though, you must load manually. It packs them pretty tight doing it this way. But un-loadng is another story!

eastportstar
10-06-2009, 01:12 PM
roger, i agree about the fork and the tarp scenario. i'm hoping my plan works .i read about this technique after doing spring clean-ups (busted my ass with a pitchfork and packed in leaves). we'll soon find out. jerry

alf500series
10-07-2009, 10:14 PM
i started doing leaf clean up last year and stumbled across a guy that had a yardman chipper shredder for sale for $150! it only had about 4 hours of run time on it. he wanted to sell it cheap because he was going thru a divorce and didnt want his wife to get it. i enclosed my flat bed trailer with plywood and tarps and left a spot in the back where i could put the discharge chute into the bed of the enclosed trailer. then all i would need to do is once the leaves were raked/blown/tarped/ etc. all i needed to do was put them near the vac part and they were mulched and blown into the trailer. works great if you have two people-one rakes leaves into vac while the other supplies the leaves. ill try and get some pics up eventually but here is a pic of the same type of vac that i got.

they normally sell for around $1000


163689

Ray&Christine
10-07-2009, 11:27 PM
I had an idea today and wondered if anybody has tried using a tractor with a front end loader to pick up piles of leaves and dump them in a truck or trailer. We do a condo complex and was thinking of dumping the leaves from our Walker into the parking lot and make a big pile. I was then thinking of using our Kubota 5030 to pick up the leaf piles in the bucket and dump them into the back of the truck. If it worked I would get a dump insert to get rid of the leaves quickly.

Has anybody used a front end loader?

stroker51
10-11-2009, 11:00 PM
If you look up pro-turf's thread, he's got a pic of using his A300 bobcat to load, and swears by that method. I'm just hoping to find a loader hopefully this year, slightly used, and mount it to the front of my 1 ton dump.

Agape
12-13-2010, 02:23 PM
Don't they sell green barrels where you are? :confused: I think they're about 33 gallons. Leaves go into barrel, barrel gets hefted onto should, barrel gets tossed over side or through gates in back of rack truck. A step ladder is most convenient for the vertically challenged employees.

I fill a yellow barrel,( same brand as the green ones) heaping with grass clippings and can usually curl them with one arm, throw it on my shoulder etc..but I filled the same barrel with wet, dirty leaves the other day and I could barely lift it in and out of the wheel barrow, let alone carry it.

jwsland
12-18-2010, 05:53 AM
This year we got two 4x8 pieces of plywood and used them as a ramp to sweep or push the leaves up onto the trailer. As well the usual tarping method. The ramp worked great for when we could get the leaves by the trailer. Wish I would have though of it sooner. every now and then get in the trailer and pack them down.

bmoorefield
12-20-2010, 12:19 PM
IMO I would contract out to a larger company for one or two years until you can afford a nice leaf loader. Maybe work with that company on their payroll once a week to get the experience with their methods for leaf removal. Working with the company on your properties might make the customers feel more comfortable. After you have enough customers that want that service, buy your own loader and take over the jobs yourself. This worked for me and I was able to make enough in one leaf season to pay off the equipment purchased.

Agape
12-20-2010, 12:54 PM
IMO I would contract out to a larger company for one or two years until you can afford a nice leaf loader. Maybe work with that company on their payroll once a week to get the experience with their methods for leaf removal. Working with the company on your properties might make the customers feel more comfortable. After you have enough customers that want that service, buy your own loader and take over the jobs yourself. This worked for me and I was able to make enough in one leaf season to pay off the equipment purchased.

Years ago, I contracted out work to one of my best buddies and lost that account to him there is no way I would give work to a company. that would be CHEAP advertising for them.

This thread is about loading leaves not giving business away -and a larger company would probabally charge more an hour than you are charging.

jeannewyatt
12-21-2010, 06:37 AM
i bought a trac vac with a 5hp motor. it is too big to fit on the trailer, but i took off the vacuum part, attached to a couple pieces of angle iron, and now use a leaf vac to load and unload my truck and or trailer. the most important think i think is to upgrade to a larger trailer. i started with a 5x10 but quickly outgrew and bought a 6.5 by 16 with high sides. keep an eye on cl. that is where i find most of my stuff. usually someone going out of business with a bunch of junk and that one jewel that you need that only needs a little work. once you split up the junk and sell it on cl you pretty much can make money as well as keeping the equipment you wanted. or at least not pay much for it.

bmoorefield
12-22-2010, 02:20 PM
Agape, please read more carefully next time. I clearly responded to the tread and gave a solution for loading leaves. I’m sorry that you didn’t make up a contract with the client and the subcontractor, be a lesson learned. That is why we are all here, correct? I deal with high end properties that have leaves knee deep and can be somewhat difficult to rake.

I think that Roger is maximizing his ability with the equipment available for his business. We are all entitle to our own opinions based on our life experiences. If we all agree on something it then becomes common sense, and Roger wouldnt be asking the question.

Agape
12-22-2010, 04:50 PM
Agape, please read more carefully next time. I clearly responded to the tread and gave a solution for loading leaves. Iím sorry that you didnít make up a contract with the client and the subcontractor, be a lesson learned. That is why we are all here, correct? I deal with high end properties that have leaves knee deep and can be somewhat difficult to rake.

I think that Roger is maximizing his ability with the equipment available for his business. We are all entitle to our own opinions based on our life experiences. If we all agree on something it then becomes common sense, and Roger wouldn't be asking the question.

I still have to enforce a contract and peruse collections on violations.
IMO, you should never give your work away even if you're knee deep in it, and I don't need you to agree on my opinions. Roger should get himself a barkdust rake (hard tine rake) and a tarp and make a boatload of money- If he needs equipment he can rent it or get half down for the job and buy it without dealing with contracts, sub contracting, or coordinating between 3 entities to get the job done.

he has to get the job before he subs.

he has to find out what the sub is gonna charge.

It is moronic to draw up a contract before he even knows if the subee is going to charge more or less than his initial bid, so you're going to call a contractor and say give an estimate but first lets draw up a contract?!!- then you gotta tell the customer " let me get a guy out there and I'll call you in a week, while (knee deep) leaves smother your lawn"
then they call AGAPE and say can you do it?- Well of course I can!

If rodge doesn't want to take my advice that's just fine- he should do it your way and I am completely unaffected.

Roger
12-22-2010, 05:30 PM
Just so we don't go overboard with all the advice here, ...

This thread is more than four years old. Much water has passed under the bridge since the original post ("water over the dam" ?), or, better put, leaves under the mower deck.

When I posted that original question, I was hauling 35 trailer loads of leaves to the dump. This year: one load.

Problem has been solved, without having to load many leaves any longer. Oh yes, a similar quantity of customers, similar profile of customer base, but I've just learned better ways of dealing with leaves.

After I posted that message, I even found better ways of loading leaves.

I'm convinced that most people get out of this business before they learn how to do it efficiently. At the time of the original post, I had been there 12 years, but that doesn't mean there isn't still wasn't much to learn.

Perhaps the only remaining question: How many more working years until all the work is done by itself, the epitome of efficiency? Perhaps the rate of gaining efficiency will diminish with time.

Agape
12-22-2010, 05:45 PM
Just so we don't go overboard with all the advice here, ...

This thread is more than four years old. Much water has passed under the bridge since the original post ("water over the dam" ?), or, better put, leaves under the mower deck.

When I posted that original question, I was hauling 35 trailer loads of leaves to the dump. This year: one load.

Problem has been solved, without having to load many leaves any longer. Oh yes, a similar quantity of customers, similar profile of customer base, but I've just learned better ways of dealing with leaves.

After I posted that message, I even found better ways of loading leaves.

I'm convinced that most people get out of this business before they learn how to do it efficiently. At the time of the original post, I had been there 12 years, but that doesn't mean there isn't still wasn't much to learn.

Perhaps the only remaining question: How many more working years until all the work is done by itself, the epitome of efficiency? Perhaps the rate of gaining efficiency will diminish with time.
Awsome! when I reply to a thread its simply an exchange of info for anyone, anytime who would read the post.
but what did you end up doing as your solution?

bmoorefield
12-22-2010, 07:19 PM
Awsome! when I reply to a thread its simply an exchange of info for anyone, anytime who would read the post.
but what did you end up doing as your solution?

I would be curious? Maybe some pics too?