View Full Version : Clipping disposal

04-05-2007, 06:22 PM
Alright, I realize quite a few side discharge, a few mulch, but those of you who colect the clippings, where do you get rid of them? I wish I could mulch exclusively, I'd rather not have to bag, but with the rain we get I don't see any way around it. I have 4 customers so far in my new endeavour, all of them say they don't want to be mulched. Haven't really thrown a huge sales pitch toward the advantages of mulching yet, maybe when the summer months come around I can sell it a little more as the rain will slow down a little and the lawns will start to dry out, therefore the mulch would potentially help lawns stay greener, longer. I'm paying $16 a cubic yard to dump clippings only, what's everyone else doing for disposal?

Gruneich Lawn Care, Inc.
04-05-2007, 06:29 PM
Find someone with a large garden, or a farmer that will let you dump them in there fields, If I do have to dump at the city landfill its only like $4.00 for over 4000lbs

04-05-2007, 06:34 PM
Problem is that I'm right smack dab in the middle of suburbia, I don't want to have to drive 20+ miles round trip to get rid of grass. I might have to do some scouting around, I know that I don't want to keep paying $16 a cubic yard even though I've built it into my pricing.

Gruneich Lawn Care, Inc.
04-05-2007, 06:36 PM
That is kinda high for grass clippings, Not sure how else to get rid of them unless you have a back area at your shop you can dump it at and let it turn to compost

04-05-2007, 06:50 PM
Haha, I wish I had a shop! I live in an apartment complex, which presents much more complicated issues like tool storage as well as clipping disposal. I think I'm going to post an ad on craislist and see if I can find someone who wants a bunch of clippings. If I get lucky, there is an area about 6 or 7 miles from my place that has some larger acreage properties, maybe someone has a huge garden they'd let me use.

04-05-2007, 06:55 PM
Why did you think guys like me don't bag?

It's always some pita involved, if it ain't one thing it's another.
Don't let it grow so long, and on a first cut if it's that tall, charge extra.

Beyond that, quad cuts work good, and if it still doesn't get rid of the clumps then you'll have to herd them into several piles and tarp and rake them (believe me it's faster than bagging), then dispose where you can, I prefer to leave them somewhere on their property like in the woods.

Another trick is to set your cut height 1/2" higher (thou on some mowers this can be time consuming pita too) then come back and cut it again in 5 days at regular height. Btw, you ARE cutting at 3", right?

04-05-2007, 07:11 PM
Are you sure it's $16 per yard? Seems like a mistake to me. What do you pay for mulch?

04-05-2007, 07:13 PM
Well, you're right topsites. I threw the pitch for mulching when I was in business once before, but the climate there was much different. I think if I can mulch on days where the grass isn't soaking wet, I can get away with only having to bag about 20-30% of the time. I guess I really need to get started in this new market to see what I can and can't do. Cut height here is 3-3.5", sometimes 4". Next week's cuts are going to be intense though, had some rain this week and it's going to be 65+ for the next 4 days :drinkup:

04-05-2007, 07:21 PM
Are you sure it's $16 per yard? Seems like a mistake to me. What do you pay for mulch?

Yeah, I just checked the price sheet again. $16 per cubic yard.

04-05-2007, 07:31 PM
Yea prices around here for dumping grass is expensive as well, not many people will even take it anymore, its smelly, it attracts mosquitoes(which can result in a heath code problem), it piles up fast etc. I rarely bag but if I do, i live in the sticks so a lot of my accounts have woods, so I just dump in the woods and take the blower and knock it all around. A couple of buddies of my own big pieces of land with woods and they let me dump. Look for people filling in their yards or something.

04-05-2007, 08:25 PM
I have to take my clippings to a dump too. The price changed this season from $8/cu yd to $10/cu yd. Only on a few properties can the clippings be dumped at the customer's site. In a couple of cases, there is room, but the owners reject any notion of dumping -- they don't want the smell.

For the objectors to bagging, the early Spring growth in this area cannot be mulched. The cuttings for far this season (just a week old) are more sappy than ever before. In some cases, the clippings are not even feeding into the bagger very well. Most of the bagging is done with a LawnBoy with side bagger, which is usually very, very reliable. But, so far this season, the clippings are turning to mush before getting into the bag. They almost look like manure. On Tuesday, the temperatures were upper 70s, bright sun, light breeze. So, the external sources of moisture were gone -- all moisture causing the problems was in the clippings themselves. The Gobbler on my w/b does not work very well either -- again, unusual. The deck underside packs out quickly after starting to work. Attempting to mulch clippings in these conditions would make more mush, and the tap out all power to the blade quickly. Also, double cutting would just make green mush wads. The best situation is to get the debris cut off, out the chute as quickly as possible, and have them dispersed as evenly as possible. No Gators, or any other kind of mulching blade is a workable idea.

Yesterday, the temps were down to the 40s, later in the 30s, and a heavy overcast. The conditions were even worse than Tuesday.

Also, the problem is not isolated to those turfs that have been well fertilized. Even the ones without much attention have high moisture content clippings.

The clipping issue seems to be worse than any season I can remember for the recent past. Anybody else in Western PA or Ohio seeing the same thing? Maybe other parts of the country are similar.

04-05-2007, 08:54 PM
Sounds to me like you guys have a market for grass clipping pickup and removal. Contract to a bunch of lawn companies and use your leaf loader and drive a few extra miles to a compost site and maybe dump for free. Maybe more money in that then cutting the stuff.

04-06-2007, 04:54 AM
Yeah, I hear you. The spring growth is what's going to put the nail in casket for mulching. This summer, I know for a fact I can get away with mulching, but there is going to be times where it's impossible. I posted an ad on craigslist and got a couple people willing to take clippings off my hands for free, PLUS they're closer to me than the dump. AND, I'll still charge my customers the price I've built into the cut for disposing of the grass to cover the extra fuel needed to get to and from the dump site to my shop. Solved my problem!

Chop Stuff Up
04-06-2007, 05:53 AM
just spread the clippings across your truck bed or open trailer and hit the interstate.

04-06-2007, 07:51 AM
We pay $9.00 per yard at the twp. dump

04-06-2007, 09:41 AM
did you say you only have 4 lawns?? id be very helpful to whatever the customers wanted if that is all you have. im upwards of 90 lanws and i dont offer bagging at all. its not worth the time involved. the amount of exra time it will take i can cut another lanw, and rest assured the customer isnt willing to pay double the price, just my expericence. also, the baggers are very large and bulky, and get hungup easily on trees and bushes when turning. i only have one for fall cleanups. clippings are getting harder to get rid of, if a farmer takes them that is surprising to me because of all the chemicals in grass nowadays. that is the reason dumps are no longer accepting them, it is too high a concentration of chemicals when the grass breaks down.

Turfcutters Plus
04-06-2007, 10:01 AM
I've spent years getting out of bagging.Best thing i ever did!I even sold my vacuum bagging unit for rider.With my tight route,i can keep an eye on everything very easy.Face it.Bagging sucks.Get away from it starting now!:walking:

Drew Gemma
04-06-2007, 10:44 AM
bagging around here is the only way to get high end full maint. accounts. We charge extra a lot extra but we get it becasue no one else baggs. I dump for free at home 70 acer farm. I also have afriend who brings wood chps from his tree service this way the clippings break down faster when you mix in the wood chips like 3-4 months versus 2 years. Plus all the leaves we haul away. Every area of the country is different up here you can not mulch blue grass in the spring to much growth too much moisture. After june you can until leaves come down. If you wann a mulch up here you gotta mow every 3 days in the spring. bagging looks better and makes for less clean up plus my z holds a ton of grass.

04-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Tell customers that you will bag but extra fees will be imposed upon their account. Like 20 per cubic yard + 60 per hour going to and from the dump. What would they do with the clippings if they were mowing? They would be paying disposal and gas. You are there so they don't have to do it them selves. You should NOT eat the cost of their special requests. Don't let them take advantage of you. I find that many customers try to get something for nothing, but of you stand firm and are reasonable with your charges they will go for it. If not, you don't need them. Remember, you are providing a luxury and luxury comes at a cost!.

04-06-2007, 11:50 AM
.... What would they do with the clippings if they were mowing? They would be paying disposal and gas. ....

Remember, you are providing a luxury and luxury comes at a cost!.

In my case, homeowners can put their clippings in plastic bags and the trash haulers will take away. However, the haulers will not take bags left by a commercial contractor.

I do not want to put the clippings in bags and expect the owners to put them out on the curb on the night before pickup day. Customers will not stand for it, and the haulers are not obligated to take the bags (yes, they know over time who put what in those bags!).

In my neighborhoods, bagging is not a luxury, it is a necessity in most cases. I understand conditions vary widely across the country, but attempting to mulch all that mushy debris would leave a mess -- if one could even get the mower through it. Discharge is acceptable in the more wide-open rear yards (>15K sq ft), but in the smaller front yards (~10K sq ft), clippings would be all over where I don't want them (e.g. beds, drive, walks, against the house, etc).

This thread demonstrates, like so many that have gone before it, that conditions vary across the country. I bag only where I have to bag, working as selectively as possible. And, I am not alone -- near the end of the day, I see crews with a dump truck (pulling a trailer with a few mowers) loaded high with green grass clippings.

04-06-2007, 12:01 PM
We have to bag almost all of our lawns. The grass is always wet and thick. Does your city offer yard waste collection? If so, I would encourage your customers to get a yard waste bin.

shade tree landscaping
04-06-2007, 03:23 PM
Here in central Jersey the county dump charges $35 per ton of grass clippings. They are the only dump that will take them. Is that a good price or is it on the high side?