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lawrence stone
10-22-2001, 04:17 PM
As many of you already now today marks the official start of leaf grinding season.

Some of you picker upper types might ask what is leaf-grinding Mr. stone?

Well it is when one has superior lawn mowers modified to basically turn leaves into a nice organic dust, which enriches the soil.

This year I am also moving up my fertilizations right after the big leaf drop and grind to help in the decomposition process.

During leaf grinding season last year I posted a few before and after picks and the peanut gallery were very critical of the appearance of the turf after the leaf grinding.

Well Mr. stone did see some room for improvement so I made some adjustment to the process which are secret and can never be reviled to the general public.

So lets start off with slide #1 which is the before pic.

lawrence stone
10-22-2001, 04:18 PM
Ok here is what it looks like after one pass.

lawnboy82
10-22-2001, 04:19 PM
Stone, you are a real riot.

lawrence stone
10-22-2001, 04:20 PM
Now after the second pass.

lawrence stone
10-22-2001, 04:25 PM
Now I made one more pass with a grass gobbler on the mower.
It only filled one bag in that entire area and was mostly pine needles.

I do not see where the last pass made much of a difference.

One must also remember this grass in non fertilized and is a bit thin for it hardly sees any sun under those trees.

Guido
10-22-2001, 04:28 PM
The only reason I see for the peanut gallery to bash the pics again is that some picky customers might not like the few leaves left here and there. I think its a pass though in my book, it works for me!

If there is a concern you can always sell them on why its good for the lawn.

mdb landscaping
10-22-2001, 04:28 PM
id like to see you come up here and try and mulch some of my accounts. nobody mulches leaves up here. it just cant be done. sometimes theres 1-2 ft of leaves in places.

lawnboy82
10-22-2001, 04:29 PM
Larry, what height are you cutting that lawn at?

casey
10-22-2001, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by lawrence stone
Now after the second pass.

With my superior leaf grinding system I am able to make it look like your second pass after the first.
Keep plugging Stone.

Guido
10-22-2001, 05:02 PM
Do they have camera's in Canada??
;) J/K

Why not post some pictures? What are you using as a setup?

1MajorTom
10-22-2001, 05:09 PM
Definition of Leaf Grinding

Leaf Guru: What is your definition of grinding? Is it mulching the leaves or double cutting while side discharging? Because if you look at the sequential photos, it seems as if there are more "leaf grindings" on the perimeter edges of the property which leads us to believe they were discharged.

Either way it looks good. :)

casey
10-22-2001, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by guido
Do they have camera's in Canada??
What are you using as a setup?

We just got indoor plumbing up here.
Micro-mulch kit-gators on top-Exmark mulchers on bottom. Cut everything in reverse- no blowout or visible leaves like in that first pic would be left.

vipermanz
10-22-2001, 05:15 PM
can you keep a straight line larry?

casey
10-22-2001, 05:35 PM
Since we mulch in counter-clockwise circles the lines would look much worse. This time of year I could care less about straight lines.

Richard Martin
10-22-2001, 06:24 PM
Casey, I thought you could only cut counter-clockwise below the equator. :D

MOW ED
10-22-2001, 06:37 PM
Larry, I'm not gonna bash you because I think I know your secret and I think I have discovered it also. I won't reveal it here but we are running similar mowers for similar processes and I can do the same thing with mine. I learned this by accident and I really reduced my pickup load from 10 to 1 and I am not bull $hi++ing.

Can't be critical of that, it works and I'm gonna keep doing it.

Toro means see green ($$$$) in english!!

Kent Lawns
10-22-2001, 07:01 PM
It's a good thing it's not "reviled" to us.

Lawrence is sounds like you're finally catching up on what the rest of the lawn care world already knew.

You are going to be awesome once you get some decent equipment!

captdevo
10-22-2001, 07:31 PM
what a waste of time!!!

i would have made one pass with my Walkers and been down the road to the next job!

that looks like $#!T....

i hope they're not paying much for that kinda job.

big deal if i'm pickin' and haulin', i compost all my leaves and sell it anyway

Dave

Got Grass?
10-22-2001, 07:35 PM
Man, do you have it nice with leaves. Could only wish for so few.
There is no possible way to mulch them, bag them, etc...
You can try and rake/push them with your mower, but usually thay end up covering the entire mower/engine. So most of us are stuck with our rakes, blowers & tarps... One yard I did today took 8-10 almost unpullable tarp loads from a small back yard. By the time I was finished, The street was filled about 4ft high, by the with of the property, 1/2 way across the street. Just hoping the town comes by soon.

MOW ED
10-22-2001, 07:39 PM
It's a good thing it's not "reviled" to us.

What does that word in quotation marks mean. Oh thats the " "symbol for you all that don't know.

Gimme a break.


Capt Devo,
I have a Walker too and I am the talk of the town when I run up and down and bag em, It looks unbelieveable but when I user the Toro and mulch em up then use the Walker I take so much less I almost had to walk around and look at what I did.
I use the Walker for high profilers but I can't economically pick up boatloads of leafs and cart them away because they shut my dump site down for 4 out of 7 days. The walker is the rolls royce of the leaf pickers but I have to use the chevy too.:D

Kent Lawns
10-22-2001, 07:42 PM
Ed, I don't get your quote.

I was making a spoof about Stones misspelled word "revealed" instead spelled "reviled" in the original post.

We're reviled alright. lol.

MOW ED
10-22-2001, 07:47 PM
I thought you were givin me that hammer about not "givin up the secret"

Its amazing how not hearing a vocal tone can change the meaning of a conversation.
No harm no foul.

Really the mulch plate is a wonderful thing and NO it isnt real pretty but it is reduced substantially when you use it.

I hope I am "REVILED" for having "REVEALED" the secret.


:D :rolleyes: :D

lawrence stone
10-22-2001, 08:05 PM
I could have picked it clean up on the second pass if I had my spare 52" machine on the trailer.

That machine is set up with single high lifts and the deck baffle in the bagging position.

You DON"T need to buy a $10K machine to pick up leaves. Any old Toro will do if used as a team with a grinding mower.

ED is right about the waste reduction. The extra time it takes to make two passes is offset by not have to handle TEN times as much material.

No fancy vacs are needed. A jumbo metal bagger with a leaf extension does the job.

kutnkru
10-22-2001, 08:30 PM
I think that there are many whom are not familiar with the "grind". I have many many many leaves that cover the entire turf area when we arrive and after two passes as stated by Professor stone, you end up bagging minimal if any debris.

I have gone thru piles of leaves 2 feet tall and mulched them into dust and minimized my waste reduction in the past. If you guys are letting your proerties get that far behind its time to add another crew in the fall and capitalize on bi-weekly mowings.

Viperman Z I dont know if you are still grounded to house detail and cutting your lawn daily or not, but you should show some respect for those here who have been doing this longer than you have been alive.

I dont know about in your area, but here in mine there are many LCOs who the last thing on their minds is a lawn pattern. Most are concerned with keeping a property presentable thru the fall clean-up process.

Just my .02
Kris

thelawnguy
10-22-2001, 09:17 PM
Originally posted by mdb landscaping
id like to see you come up here and try and mulch some of my accounts. nobody mulches leaves up here. it just cant be done. sometimes theres 1-2 ft of leaves in places.

Im 5 minutes from you, and have a roll of film I dropped off tonight that says it can be done here. The pictures will be posted up by this weekend at the latest.

I guarantee that I will not haul even a truckload of leaves this season. But mulched with an eXmark not a Toro.

Richard Martin
10-22-2001, 09:33 PM
Mow Ed wrote:
..........................
Really the mulch plate is a wonderful thing and NO it isnt real pretty but it is reduced substantially when you use it.

I hope I am "REVILED" for having "REVEALED" the secret.
..........................

Don't worry, it wasn't a secret anyway. I made my first mulch plate for my 1990 Woods CM 36 about 4 months after I got the mower way back when.

jnjnlc
10-22-2001, 10:00 PM
Mow Ed, Are you running the mulch plate on your Toro 44"? If so is it the SFS deck? I might be intererested in getting one if I can find someone to sell one to me.

MOW ED
10-22-2001, 10:08 PM
Jeff,
Yep thats what I have and I will be using it every fall from now on. I figured I needed it when I bought the mower in 1998 but I wasn't real happy with the wet grass performance with the plate. I stuck it in the attic and forgot about it until 2 weeks ago when I saw it and figured I'd give it a try. The use is for the leafs. I am a believer and the little 15 hp 1 lunger Kohler kicks the crap out of them. It is an SFS deck. I have no idea how you might be able to get one, mayby call Toro?

Richard, I know its no secret but its fun to play around with peoples heads sometimes.

Once again I am extremely thankful for Lawnsite for I would have been hauling mountains of leafs by now.

jnjnlc
10-22-2001, 10:14 PM
I am with Mow Ed. If I had not tried doubles I would be dragging my cheap little leaf vacuum around all fall. Instead I am going to mulch them every chance I get. And if someone wants them removed by bagging I will take out my vacuum and get them up and charge the most I can get by with.

Thanks Mow Ed, I am going to call my local Toro dealer this week. If you have a mulch plate, then surely there is one that will fit my machine.

hustlers
10-22-2001, 10:24 PM
my 3 man crew can do 6-8 3/4 acre yards in a 10
hour day like this

stone----
1> dont mulch pine needles they will kill grass.
2> dont mulch too heavy cause it will kill the grass
3> take push blower over yard to spread a little
more evenly


looks good we do it to and reduce hauling
by 50%--------

Turfclippings
10-22-2001, 10:34 PM
i use the dixie chopper with doubles and mulch them to nickle and dime size. The Walker comes in and makes one swipe over them and we circulates them and keeps most and spits some out. Haul off what we pick up and charge the customer the disposal fee. The average 8-15000 sq yards take right under an hour.:blob2:

awm
10-25-2001, 03:28 PM
now thats a good job. and yes thats what a good mulching outfit will do.shouldnt take over two passes.
thats what my customers expect.they use to do like 65 said an ask me where i putum. now they would fuss if it didnt look like that.later yaw, an i aint tellin my secretes niether.:D

vipermanz
10-25-2001, 05:19 PM
Originally posted by kutnkru


Viperman Z I dont know if you are still grounded to house detail and cutting your lawn daily or not, but you should show some respect for those here who have been doing this longer than you have been alive.




i just asked a generic question

cos
10-25-2001, 05:34 PM
Were you drinking when making them stripes?

MIDSOUTH
10-25-2001, 10:37 PM
Larry, I cannot see the difference after you made the second mulching pass and then used the grass gobbler. The toro's must not do well picking up debris. I must go get a digital camera and post some before and after picks and teach you the real art of leaf grinding. One pass with the 61" scag with doubles and the mulch master kit and then vacuum it up with the 60" lazer with ultravac and it is clean enough you can eat off of it. My little 34" encore will mulch better on the first pass than what the bagged pass looks like. And by the way I am not hacking on your work, I am just telling you how it is.

kutnkru
10-25-2001, 10:59 PM
VMZ
Sophmoric and moronic, yes I agree.

COS
This is a discussion related to increasing productivity by reducing the times we waste daily with excessive bagging. Everyone knows that ELM is the instructor for striping -LOL!!!

MIDSOUTH
Serious ??? for ya.
Why is it that you need to use an eXmark to vacuum when you have all that jigamaroll on your Scag??? Wont the mulch kit grind them up fine enough to be acceptable by clients or is it lacking the professional appearance desired by LCOs???

Kris

MIDSOUTH
10-25-2001, 11:11 PM
MIDSOUTH
Serious ??? for ya.
Why is it that you need to use an eXmark to vacuum when you have all that jigamaroll on your Scag??? Wont the mulch kit grind them up fine enough to be acceptable by clients or is it lacking the professional appearance desired by LCOs???

Kris [/B][/QUOTE]

Yes the mulch kit is enough, although the ultravac puts on the added touch, let me tell you one thing since you think you know everything, I will do it how I feel I want it done and you do it your way. If that crap in the picture is acceptable to you, thats fine, however, It is not acceptable to me.

MIDSOUTH
10-25-2001, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by kutnkru
I think that there are many whom are not familiar with the "grind". I have many many many leaves that cover the entire turf area when we arrive and after two passes as stated by Professor stone, you end up bagging minimal if any debris.

I have gone thru piles of leaves 2 feet tall and mulched them into dust and minimized my waste reduction in the past. If you guys are letting your proerties get that far behind its time to add another crew in the fall and capitalize on bi-weekly mowings.


Just my .02
Kris

Hey Know-it-All, You mean you actually would run a bag over it after mulching, you like to hack other people who do.

kutnkru
10-25-2001, 11:18 PM
Well after you spend a romantic evening with your significant other and relieve some of that tension you will feel much better.

However, my question was something that I wanted to know - thats why I asked it and even noted that it was serious not busting as I was doing with coz and vmz.

Just for the record there are many in our area who are continuing to change from the Scag to the eXmark, and I wont do biz with the eXmark rep in our area. Hence my original question to you.

As we will be upgrading this spring and Im not sure if I will go back to Scag or not but thought since you hold such high regards for you equipment I thought I could get a professional answer. I now know better.

Enjoy your evening as I thought I had not stepped on your toes.
Kris

kutnkru
10-25-2001, 11:22 PM
No my point was that if they are in an area or have a fall season where the leaves are falling that fast that they may want to add or hire additional help to make two crews. This way you can show up twice a week, keep the properties looking the way clients want and make that much more money.

I did not realize that by suggesting two cuttings a week I was hacking anyone. Just shows how lame an AOL'er I am.

I stand corrected.

Kris

MIDSOUTH
10-25-2001, 11:26 PM
If you would divide the serious and joking post maybe we might see eye to eye. My answer to you is that if you have good dealer support then a scag would be a good choice, However, we have slim pickings on scag dealers, so therefore exmark is the choice of most LCo's around here. I am opposite of you-no more scags after this one bites the dust. Professional enough answer??

MIDSOUTH
10-25-2001, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by kutnkru
. This way you can show up twice a week
.

Kris


There are very few people and companies that want to pay for leaf removal twice a week in the poor ole south.

joshua
10-26-2001, 12:18 AM
midsouth, how or better yet why can't you convince them to let you cut twice a week, ya you sold them on letting you maintain their property. big deal anyone can do that. the real sales man can sell themself's on cuting when they feel its best for the lawn. i cut my funeral homes sometimes 3 days later year round if i feel it isn't looking up to par. and my residentials are 5 days spring fall when ever. small with the rest of my commercials. you need to change something your doing if they don't want you coming when you feel the lawn needs cut.

kutnkru
10-26-2001, 12:33 AM
I agree that it is important to deal with clients that have contracted us for our expertise and are not looking to nickle and dime us to death.

However, sometimes its just not in the cards. I do as you stated and cut on a 5-day rotation during the heavier spring months. I also have been known to cut twice in the same week because of excessive rains if we are catching up from the week prior say Monday for a Friday cut - they see us twice that week.

I also like to try to keep up with the leaves when they fall like gangbusters and this too could lead to two visits in the same week depending on the situation. Fall is a little harder to justify to clients I will agree, but we also have to flexible to a point.

Kris

ronslawncare
10-26-2001, 06:35 PM
just bought gators for the scag cant wait to try tommorrow .larry your definately improveing this year i no your refering to about the peanut gallery but i just thought the picture you posted was garbage last year i dont even know how you got paid for that crap .anyway looking good now...very nice

osc
10-26-2001, 07:34 PM
My vote is for leaf grinding instead of picking. Great organic fert. I have a Great Dane with high lift blades and running the machine backwards has a tremendous mulching effect. Yes it takes more than one pass but picking leaves means you will handle the leaves twice (atleast) and you need to find a good place to put them when you dump. Far too many lawn cutters just dump their leaves over a cliff into a ravene or something like that.

Mulching into dust and returning that matter to the soil is an affective and proper way of dealing with matter that can cause environmental problems when dumped into big piles and left there.

If you compost then great.

lawrence stone
10-26-2001, 09:07 PM
OSC that grind was the big leaf drop so the next two grinds are not as much.

But each grind returns organic matter to the soil. What I did was move the end of the year fertilization (32-5-7-50%poly at 3/4lb per 1k.) up 3-4 weeks. This helps break down the leaves ASAP.

Now I am going to apply pelletized lime for the next two weeks to offset the effect the leaves have on soil pH.

Hey Kirby bluegrass grows great at 5.5!!!!!

kris
10-26-2001, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by joshua
. small with the rest of my commercials. you need to change something your doing if they don't want you coming when you feel the lawn needs cut.

Huh?... You trying to tell us that a commercial property will let you come whenever you feel it needs to be done... give me a break... property managers I deal with want to know upfront the cost for the year and sign contracts.

1grnlwn
10-26-2001, 10:05 PM
Around here the fall is pretty wet . Three passes with the ole ztr a spinnin on the dime. Any grass left? Back over any small trees or pets? Got a place to dump em? Suck em.:cool:

BRL
10-26-2001, 10:07 PM
Kutnkru,
I didn't see you post anything that should make anyone think it, but now that I know that you know it all, I will be sending any of my future questions directly to you via E-mail. This should certainly save me time by not having to post the question here & monitor the various responses. This is great. Thanks for your help.

1grnlwn
10-26-2001, 10:14 PM
Brl I got some leaves in my front yard. You would only charge me $250 to come to my house to vac them. Sold. Tomarrow will be fine. Give ya $10 extra (its saturday):cool:

KirbysLawn
10-26-2001, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by lawrence stone
Hey Kirby bluegrass grows great at 5.5!!!!!

Great! Let's see some photos. Fescue along with most living organisims grows best at pH6.5:
http://unionturf.com/DSC00123.JPG

MIDSOUTH
10-26-2001, 11:14 PM
Originally posted by joshua
midsouth, how or better yet why can't you convince them to let you cut twice a week

You humor me. In the realworld budgets are the main concern of companies. I don't care how good a salesman you are most establishments will not go over once a week, I guess if you cut the price in half and lowball each cut you could do it twice a week, but I will not work for free. Maybe in your part of the country they will pay to have the service done twice weekly but not here, no matter how good your "sales" tactics are.

joshua
10-27-2001, 12:28 AM
kris, 1st yes, i tell all my accounts that when i feel the lawn needs cut i cut it. most of the time its what i say every 5 days spring and fall. but there are exceptions.
midsouth, you humor me, i make more than a dollar a minute at all my commercial accounts. sorry don't lowball, i have bills to pay. but you are right people up here want everything to look perfect all the time.

jeffex
10-27-2001, 06:30 AM
We started grinding 2 yrs ago . 1 toro equiped with mulch kit and home made anti-blowout baffle. 2nd toro 48 with leaf gobbler for finish pass. Customers are amazed at results and I have educated them on bennifits of putting organic matter back into turf. We carry pelletized lime with us for the BADDA BING! upgrade sale . I love the neighbors faces when we pull up and they have been raking for hours filling bag after bag. They can't see the big smile on my face because of the dust mask you have to wear when grinding but its there!!!!! They have 30 bags and we put 3 at the curb.

lbmd1
10-27-2001, 07:57 AM
On the business side of leaf grinding versus standard leaf clean-up, what do you leaf grinders charge for this service? We all know that fall clean-ups generate a good bada-bing to our bottom line going into winter, so do you charge less for this service compared to a standard clean-up and why? I for one would rather perform a standard clean-up at the $250-$500 mark than have the customers see me ride around a bunch of times knowing I can't hand them that size of a bill. We've tried grinding with gators in the past. It works on certain lawns, but on others it's not up to par. We still grind 1st, followed by a trac-vac for a finished look. I was just wondering the financials on it since it hasn't been discussed in this thread.


Mike

thelawnguy
10-27-2001, 02:44 PM
.

thelawnguy
10-27-2001, 02:45 PM
These were last week, more leaves this week but results are similar. Just one pass, if they were heavier I would make an additional pass in areas that needed it.

thelawnguy
10-27-2001, 02:46 PM
,

thelawnguy
10-27-2001, 02:48 PM
When I mowed the lawn this week, all the leaves were down so I double cut to the first tree. Just as clean as if I had bagged and blown them.

bubble boy
10-27-2001, 02:58 PM
i've never run doubles & dont have a digital camera but i was thinking...

a good series of photos would be of an area of even leaf coverage. one third bagged, one third cut with doubles, one third cut with singles. single cut only.

that way the true comparison could be made. often if leaves are thin, i find cutting with single blades is enough. and at other times, they are so thick i couldn't imagine doubles working.

obviously this would be a pain in the butt to do, but would be interesting to see.

i dont know if someone has done this before, i didn't search the topic.

BRL
10-27-2001, 03:27 PM
lbmd1,
We have discussed grinding prices in some of the other threads about grinding instead of hauling. Most of my accounts are monthly maintenance & I had priced them based on bagging & hauling the leaves away as in the past. So I am now making a higher profit on those accounts by saving that time & expense (and most importantly, my back). As for the one time cleanups (or maybe 2 or 3), I still charge them that $250.00 -$500.00 price you mention. I don't bother residential customers on the weekend so for the most part, they have no idea what I did with their leaves, they're just gone. The customer is happy that they didn't spend many hours during the weekends in October & November raking & bagging leaves. Win, win.

BRL
10-27-2001, 03:38 PM
1grnlwn,
At no point in this thread did I say that I would "vacuum" the leaves on the lawn Stone had posted pictures of for $250.00. So I don't understand why you would request that I vacuum the leaves on your lawn for $250.00. Could you please explain this incoherent post, so that I can respond correctly. Thank you.

ronslawncare
10-27-2001, 04:12 PM
i tried my gators out today on my scag awesome first time cleanup this year with the new mower im am very happy i still use my ground blower and backpacks to spread them out when i was done i had maybe 10 bags of leaves out of 50 t0 75 i had last year sweet.i still need doubles plus a mulching plate....grind on

kutnkru
10-27-2001, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by lbmd1
On the business side of leaf grinding versus standard leaf clean-up, what do you leaf grinders charge for this service? Mike when you "grind" the leaves you are not eliminateing the clean-up basically just postponing it so to speak.



... so do you charge less for this service compared to a standard clean-up and why?We have kept records of how long it takes to perform each service over the years and can give estimates accordingly. If the clients were paying $500 for a clean-up in the past ,,, they will get the same bill this year as they have the last few.

I will mulch the leaves thru the first week of Nov. Then starting the second week we bag. And they receive a final clean-up the third week - thus ending the season. All beds will get blown out each week we are there but we reserve the raking of beds for the final visit.

Just because we may use a larger piece of equipment does not mean that we have done less work. It means that we have improved our techniques. A 10 hr job is still a 10 hr job. I like to think that for those of you out there with a ZTR w/ vac systems that you are billing them as an additional laborer on a site.

I also tell and clients know that we bill by the job, not by the minute. Thats why in the summer when we cut a 25 minute lawn in 18 minutes the price doesnt change just because mowing conditions improve -LOL!!! Its all about the laws of averages, and they still pay what a site is worth regardless of time spent.

... It works on certain lawns, but on others it's not up to par. We still grind 1st, followed by a trac-vac for a finished look. ...I will agree with you that certain properties you can have an acceptable mulching job and others you cannot. This is why our clients have hired us. We know what looks best, and we advise them of what is best for their property. They trust that we will not take adavantage of their trust - or pocketbooks for that matter.

Hope this helps clarify a bit for ya'z.
Kris

joshua
10-28-2001, 11:01 PM
kutnkru, well said, except you might of forgot one thing, or not, just something i would like to add after mulching the leaves drop the deck down a half inch. you will pick up more of the mulched levaes this way.

kutnkru, have you ever tried boxcutting a yard and mulching all the leaves in the middle to save time not haveing to worry about going over parts without leaves? just a thought.