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View Full Version : Whats your leaf Clean-up Process?


lawnproslawncare
03-10-2008, 01:22 AM
What are your steps for clean up?

Richard Martin
03-10-2008, 06:36 AM
Mine varies from job to job. On one it might be just blowing everything into the woods and on the next it might be blowing and then bagging. They're all different and are handled on a case by case basis.

markahurley
03-10-2008, 08:59 AM
Mine varies from job to job. On one it might be just blowing everything into the woods and on the next it might be blowing and then bagging. They're all different and are handled on a case by case basis.

i agree. it all depends on the job. ideally, there is a place on site to blow the leaves to (woods/natural area), but when there are large amounts of leaves, i've found the fastest method to still be blowing and tarping. i drag the piles to the curbside for pickup or to my trailer to dump. once all the piles are accounted for, i mow and bag what's left.

Dunlaps LawnCare
03-10-2008, 09:04 AM
blow in to a woods or natural area if there is one if not blow and tarp and drag them to the crubside for pick or or threw them in my trailer

grasscutter845
03-10-2008, 07:26 PM
Blow everything then go over it w the bagger then suck it all up

Flex-Deck
03-10-2008, 08:49 PM
Nothing Special - we just mow every 7 days with double blades, and the leaves just disappear. They get chopped up so fine, the blend right back into mother earth.

gene gls
03-10-2008, 09:26 PM
In the spring, I blow and rake the beds, power brush the lawn and pick up with the vac unit. Most properties I can dump in the woods.

Grassmechanic
03-11-2008, 10:54 AM
Mulch them up with gator blades.

LawnGuy73
03-12-2008, 10:35 AM
Blow the beds, suck it all up, and move on to the next one. I do not mulch anything, I think it looks like sh*t and is not an image that I want conected to my service. Just my opinion.

Grassmechanic
03-12-2008, 12:55 PM
Then you don't know how to properly mulch leaves. I quit removing leaves over 15 years ago. I work for some very discerning folks and they can't believe that their leaves are mulched back into the lawn. The end result looks like the lawn has been vacuumed. Then there is the benefit of adding OM back into the soil, along with reduced fertilizing requirements. MANY university studies have been done to verify the benefit to the turf by mulching them back into the soil. Why haul off something that can return big dividends to the turf??

coonman
03-12-2008, 01:09 PM
Then you don't know how to properly mulch leaves. I quit removing leaves over 15 years ago. I work for some very discerning folks and they can't believe that their leaves are mulched back into the lawn. The end result looks like the lawn has been vacuumed. Then there is the benefit of adding OM back into the soil, along with reduced fertilizing requirements. MANY university studies have been done to verify the benefit to the turf by mulching them back into the soil. Why haul off something that can return big dividends to the turf??

Same here. Put the gator blades on and start mulching.

wintergreenlawn&landscape
03-12-2008, 01:49 PM
Certain types of leaves are able to be mulched, however, in my opinion, oak for example are very difficult to mulch even with gator blades. It also depends on the amount of leaves on the ground.

CreativeEdge
03-12-2008, 03:09 PM
I would tarp the leaves that you can and dump somewhere applicable, what is left over i would run over a few times to mulch and then go over a final time to bag. Mulching the leaves first w/ give you fewer bag dumps and it is just easier to bag them when mulched.

Bingham Brothers
03-12-2008, 04:16 PM
We don't have a lot of leaves since we are in such a new growth area- but I demo'd a Walker last fall for some leave clean-ups and I was amazed at how much quicker and better a Walker is for cleanup- I had raked and tarped a few and then tried the Walker- it sucked them right up- off the grass, road, driveway, parking lot and they are chopped so fine that they take up little room. I was even doing the neighbors yard- i won't be raking anymore. Bought 2 Walkers- can't wait for the trees to get bigger!!!

hackitdown
03-12-2008, 05:16 PM
Then you don't know how to properly mulch leaves. I quit removing leaves over 15 years ago. I work for some very discerning folks and they can't believe that their leaves are mulched back into the lawn. The end result looks like the lawn has been vacuumed. Then there is the benefit of adding OM back into the soil, along with reduced fertilizing requirements. MANY university studies have been done to verify the benefit to the turf by mulching them back into the soil. Why haul off something that can return big dividends to the turf??

Sounds swell, until you realize that the leaves are 8 inches deep, soaked with rain, and some is frozen into clumps. Here in New England, there is no mulching leaves. I can do it in early October, but by late October/early November the only solution is blow into piles, load onto tarps, and drag it into the woods.

We load up a 20 x 12 tarp 10 to 15 times on some lawns. Show me how to much that much crap into a lawn. If could mulch, I would, but I can't, so I don't.

hackitdown
03-12-2008, 05:18 PM
Here's an example:

jbell36
03-12-2008, 06:26 PM
obviously some people on here aren't very professional...mulching that many leaves back into the lawn is horrible for the lawn and it looks like absolute ****...you can't mulch that many leaves, yes i do know that some thatch is good but not that much, it is going to kill off the grass thinning out the lawn and block some fertilizer/premergents...to make a lawn healthy you have to follow very simple steps, starting with getting out the leaves/thatch at the beginning of the year...i agree with that EPIC lawns guy, it's just not professional...at all (i thought this was common sense)

coonman
03-12-2008, 06:55 PM
obviously some people on here aren't very professional...mulching that many leaves back into the lawn is horrible for the lawn and it looks like absolute ****...you can't mulch that many leaves, yes i do know that some thatch is good but not that much, it is going to kill off the grass thinning out the lawn and block some fertilizer/premergents...to make a lawn healthy you have to follow very simple steps, starting with getting out the leaves/thatch at the beginning of the year...i agree with that EPIC lawns guy, it's just not professional...at all (i thought this was common sense)

Obviously there is a limit on the size of the piles to be mulched. I don't think anyone is talking about mulching piles that are 5 feet deep. I have been in my house 20 years, never have bagged the grass or leaves one time. Always mulched, my lawn is one of the best in the neighborhood. If mulching did not produce a great finished product, then I would not do it. Many of times I have had the customer come out and ask where all the bags were, I told them I mulched them and they were shocked. I think someone else on this thread said they have been mulching leaves for 15 years on the customers lawns. If it looks like crap and kills the yard, I don't think he would of made it 15 years in the business.

ED'S LAWNCARE
03-12-2008, 07:24 PM
Blow, rake, mulch, bag what is left. Sometimes customer wants them hauled off, Price gets doubled no matter what. People who say it's not professional don't know how to mulch like a professional. When done properly you sholdn't be able to tell the difference.

8307c4
03-12-2008, 08:06 PM
What, in the spring?
Like the kind that hasn't been touched since they fell?

Why bother?

jbell36
03-12-2008, 11:14 PM
man all i am saying is you just can't mulch that many leaves...and anyone who has a mower with a mulching kit should know how to mulch correctly, it's not rocket science...the yards that i have already cleaned up this year have been almost an entire 18' trailer with 4' sideboards full of MULCHED up leaves per yard, ya considering they are fairly large yards, but there is no way that is good for the yard to have all of that on there...they also want to overseed and fertilize, so basically the leaves have to be gone...obviously it's a matter of opinion, and different situations (amount of leaves, thickness of grass, etc)...also, half of the leaves right now are frozen and wet making them smashed into the ground, there is no way to mulch stuff like that, and in a few weeks it kills the grass on the edges and patchy in the middle...basically without a blower or dethatcher there is no way around it...

3Bladz
03-13-2008, 12:26 AM
man all i am saying is you just can't mulch that many leaves...and anyone who has a mower with a mulching kit should know how to mulch correctly, it's not rocket science...the yards that i have already cleaned up this year have been almost an entire 18' trailer with 4' sideboards full of MULCHED up leaves per yard, ya considering they are fairly large yards, but there is no way that is good for the yard to have all of that on there...they also want to overseed and fertilize, so basically the leaves have to be gone...obviously it's a matter of opinion, and different situations (amount of leaves, thickness of grass, etc)...also, half of the leaves right now are frozen and wet making them smashed into the ground, there is no way to mulch stuff like that, and in a few weeks it kills the grass on the edges and patchy in the middle...basically without a blower or dethatcher there is no way around it...

Well I don't know your exact equipment and conditions but I have jobs that I used to leave with the same size load of leaves. But not now. I mulch it all.

Grassmechanic
03-13-2008, 10:33 AM
obviously some people on here aren't very professional...mulching that many leaves back into the lawn is horrible for the lawn and it looks like absolute ****...you can't mulch that many leaves, yes i do know that some thatch is good but not that much, it is going to kill off the grass thinning out the lawn and block some fertilizer/premergents...to make a lawn healthy you have to follow very simple steps, starting with getting out the leaves/thatch at the beginning of the year...i agree with that EPIC lawns guy, it's just not professional...at all (i thought this was common sense)

You need to attend a basic turf class at MSU.

Many studies have been done on this. A recent one was as follows: 6" of oak leaves mulched into the grass at 1 week intervals for 6 weeks. That's 3 feet of leaves! This had been repeated for several seasons. Results: no acidity build up, more OM, thicker lawn, less disease, better water holding capacity of soil, reduced fertilizer, less weeds.

Some people just wish to stay uneducated and do what they see the next guy doing. That's truly un-professional.

LawnGuy73
03-13-2008, 11:54 AM
How much are you charging for these clean ups? I'm assuming that it has to take a long time to mulch that many leaves up to the point that "it looks like it was bagged" I'm averaging about one to one and a half hours time for a 1/2 acre heavy wooded lot. I'm getting anywhere from $150.00-$300.00 per yard to blow the beds and hard surfaces, bag, and move to next. I guessing it has to take you atleast three times as long if you are truely making this look like it was bagged by just mulching, and there is no way in hell you are charging three times the price per clean up.

ProTouch Groundscapes
03-13-2008, 01:13 PM
im not trying to negate what your saying. but how come ive visited sites where the previous lco just mulched leaves into the turf. i get to the site and theres soo many bare spots all over the yard. i pull the grass away and notice there is a thick blanket of mulched up leaves preventing any grass growth.

oak leaves take forever to decompose, they are a very tough leaf that doesnt mulch very well. and im pretty sure no matter how adamant you are explaining to the customer that OM is good for your turf, once they see how it looks afterward, there is now way they are gonna buy it.

jbell36
03-13-2008, 02:09 PM
exactly, PROTOUCH and EPIC have what we call common sense...and GRASSMECHANIC, please stop with all these "well studies have been done with college professors..." type bullshit responses, you just sound ******ed...these are your only comebacks, "well i heard a college study has been done" , what if i told you that you are going to survive a gunshot to the head, most people do...would you believe it?...i'm sorry to get pissed but i hate dealing with arrogance, you are going to kill the yard...go look at the yards you have done this to, i guarantee you that you have many bare spots, especially along the edges...you are welcome for my knowledge helping out your future business...i am now done with this thread

landscaperdan
03-13-2008, 06:19 PM
What we have here is another case of Ford vs. Chevy vs Dodge. What I would like to know is how these Walkers pick up the leaves and mulch them at the same time? I was at the dealer yesterday and was impressed with the Walker Stander RH. Now, common sense should tell you that sometimes you can mulch and others, you need to bag and haul. Jbell, Epic and Protouch seem to be onto something. And as always, if someone can show me a better way to do something, I am all ears and eyes. Is there a right way to mulch? Seriously, are we talking about changing the blades? Help me out here!

MOWEMJEFF
03-13-2008, 07:38 PM
1.Blow the beds onto the lawn
2.Mow in a circle discharging all leaves to center of lawn or on large lawns break down into about 40'x40' sections
3.Mow the piles back towards perimeter one time
4.Bag with walker

This mulches a lot into the yard and still leaves it looking like it was bagged. And I only have to take about half as many leaves if just bagged with the walker which mean down time driving back and forth to the trailer and unloading the bagger and on really large lawns it means not going to the dump as many times. And I'm from Maine, EVERY yard has leaves.

lawnproslawncare
03-13-2008, 11:33 PM
I think I agree with you guys who say mulched leaves have a negative effect. I do think that if you have a yard that get very little leave cover mulching is "A" OkAy lol. I think from what I have noticed if you examine a yard with thick leave cover over time you'll notice a fungi problem. Thats why we aerate and dethatch guys, mulching just makes dethatching look good if you ask me. More thatch=More Dethatching
With that said, I believe there are substantial advantages to leaving grass clipping when you mow no more than 1/3 of the grass height. If you do a test plot on your own yard where you cut various lengths of grass at the same height, you will more than likely see that the clippings are gone in but two days if mowed at proper intervals.
I would say though, this is dependent on the amount of sunlight that the lawn receives. If you have a lawn that is constantly wet, I'm led to believe that clipping removal is most beneficial.

This is just my opinion though.

Eclipse
03-14-2008, 12:11 AM
If there is enough square footage of turf and the leaf load is not extreme mulching leaves is great. The fact is all leaves can be mulched into the turf on all properties and still leave a nice clean look. Sometimes they need to be disposed of differently.

brucec32
03-14-2008, 01:18 AM
I would bet the negative mulching comments are from those who have never mulched with a GOOD mulching capable mower. Some are next to worthless. It makes all the difference.

On a thick lawn you cannot tell w/o looking really close that it wasn't bagged. Thin lawns less so, since some leaves mat down into the ground and don't lift up into the blades as easily. But those are often the low budget ones anyway, and they are usually estatic I could handle their leaf buildup so cheaply. I suspect that Northern guys are more worried about generating income that time of the year, since the season is so short. I'm still as busy as I want to be at least through Thanksgiving. I'd gladly take less revenue for less work by that point.

Mulching also requires showing up regularly as the leaves fall, not letting them pile up for a month, before mulching. But even then, with a few passes, THEN using the blower or bagger equipped mower to handle any remnants, you can do wonders. Again, the type grass found on shade tree lots is still growing into December here. So you have to be there weekly or at most every two weeks anyway on a nice lawn.

A real mulching deck turns them to tiny fragments. They're gone quickly w/ no thatch. Cutting and discharging can suffice, but is not the same as mulching, since it doesn't force the cuttings down to the soil level to decompose. I have owned dethatchers since the early 90's and have used them for that only a handfull of times. All on Bermuda and all the result of previous poor mowing practices.

I am glad many competitors haven't figured this out, since I can blow away their price on leaves. Those $250 cleanups 2-3 times a year don't sit well with some people who paid that much for 2 months mowing service. I want to make a minimum of $70 for an hour's work on-site, and I cannot blow/tarp/vac leaves fast enough to get that price.

I'm curious why anyone would pay that much to remove every single leaf piece anyway, since a stiff breeze from the neighbor's property can coat it in leaves again pretty quick. Not every customer has a $5,000/year lawn maintenance buget. But even the nicer homes have never complained once about the appearance during leaf season (or any other )

There is also the issue of expectations when you hit them with hundreds of dollars in leaf cleanup charges and it's covered in leaves again in a few days. I have read here of numerous falling outs with customers over these leaf cleanup jobs.

Unless one wants to haul his gear with a dump truck, I'm wondering where all these tarped or bagged leaves are going. You're also investing in more expensive mowers or vac systems if you want max efficiency for that method.

good luck with blowers and tarps and piles of leaves on a windy day. It drives me insane enough just trying to blow the leaves into the lawn to mulch. I can't imagine trying to play cowboy to a herd of leaves accross a lawn with a blower and enjoying it.

You're on your feet less mulching rather than blowing. And unless you have a pretty fancy dump system, you're on/off and dumping hoppers frequently when bagging. Both more fatiguing.

There are times you have to do it that way, but I quit 10 years ago and would never go back. I guess when I actually get a complaint about it I will have to address it then.

echo8287
03-14-2008, 03:07 AM
I have one comment about oak leaves, as I use a bagger to cut my personal yard. When the leaves are really falling, I have an old 10 ft diameter satellite dish that catch's a bunch of oak leaves over some Zoysia grass. I need to take it down but it never gets done(still works and I get some back feeds on football games sometimes). If I don't keep the leaves blown out of the dish, it kills the grass right under the dish. So I would think too many mulched oak leaves would be a bad thing. It does the same thing under a Mimosa tree, David

cgaengineer
03-14-2008, 07:28 AM
I have one comment about oak leaves, as I use a bagger to cut my personal yard. When the leaves are really falling, I have an old 10 ft diameter satellite dish that catch's a bunch of oak leaves over some Zoysia grass. I need to take it down but it never gets done(still works and I get some back feeds on football games sometimes). If I don't keep the leaves blown out of the dish, it kills the grass right under the dish. So I would think too many mulched oak leaves would be a bad thing. It does the same thing under a Mimosa tree, David

Thats due to shade more then being on the ground and mulched.

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 10:44 AM
exactly, PROTOUCH and EPIC have what we call common sense...and GRASSMECHANIC, please stop with all these "well studies have been done with college professors..." type bullshit responses, you just sound ******ed...these are your only comebacks, "well i heard a college study has been done" , what if i told you that you are going to survive a gunshot to the head, most people do...would you believe it?...i'm sorry to get pissed but i hate dealing with arrogance, you are going to kill the yard...go look at the yards you have done this to, i guarantee you that you have many bare spots, especially along the edges...you are welcome for my knowledge helping out your future business...i am now done with this thread

Go run and hide. I spent quite a bit of money to put my azz through a university. If you don't want my experience, don't read. Simple as that. I believe in sound, scientific studies, but since you've got a truck and a lawn mower, well that makes YOU the authority on turf now doesn't it? You've got an open invite to come and inspect my lawns at anytime.

You missed my comment on the PROPER way of mulching. Go ahead and run your business anyway you want, I could care less. It's hacks like you that keep giving the image of lawncare as a bunch of "lawnboys".

Put me on your "ignore" list.

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 10:53 AM
How much are you charging for these clean ups? I'm assuming that it has to take a long time to mulch that many leaves up to the point that "it looks like it was bagged" I'm averaging about one to one and a half hours time for a 1/2 acre heavy wooded lot. I'm getting anywhere from $150.00-$300.00 per yard to blow the beds and hard surfaces, bag, and move to next. I guessing it has to take you atleast three times as long if you are truely making this look like it was bagged by just mulching, and there is no way in hell you are charging three times the price per clean up.

My charge is added into the cost of mowing, if that makes any sense.

The most it takes is a double cut, and usually that is only once or twice a season. If you're making money, fine go ahead and do it the way your doing. I've learned long time ago how to deal with leaves without the additional work. I'm just sharing my experience for those that want it.:waving:

Eclipse
03-14-2008, 10:54 AM
Mike,
You have to admit thought that not every leaf, on every property, can be mulched into the turf and leave the turf still looking nice and manicured when you pull off the property.

ProTouch Groundscapes
03-14-2008, 10:56 AM
lets settle down now boys! seems to be alot of bickering goin on lately on the site.

i think a major misconception goin on here, is that the pro-muclhing leaves people didnt explain clearly to the pro-leaf removal guys that you need to mulch differently than you would normally do as if you were just cutting grass. am i correct in this assumption?

what ive noticed, especially last season, where i was cutting grass into the first and second week of november, which is very rare here in ohio. is that the leaves didnt fall till late in the season. id would see minimal leaf on the ground through most of october, then all of a sudden there would be a ton the following week i came out. of course the customer doesnt call you in the interim.

i believe it is entirely possible to effectively mulch leaves into the ground as long as you are doing it gradually, but when i would get on site, there would be almost 10" worth of leaves in some spots, now mulching that amount of leaves at one time would not only leave the yard a mess, but it wouldnt give the leaves enough time to break down before the first snowfall, and everything freezes which halts or dramatically slows down the decomp process. what you would get when you come back in the spring is a good wet blanket of mulched up leaves and alot of retained moisture which sets your spring cleanups back again.

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 11:08 AM
im not trying to negate what your saying. but how come ive visited sites where the previous lco just mulched leaves into the turf. i get to the site and theres soo many bare spots all over the yard. i pull the grass away and notice there is a thick blanket of mulched up leaves preventing any grass growth.

I've witnessed the same thing. Bare spots can be caused by other things as well. A poor stand of turf is not going to show the same results as a healthy turf.

oak leaves take forever to decompose, they are a very tough leaf that doesnt mulch very well.
Under a proper fert plan, even oak leaves decompose quickly. Yeah, they are tough, but a double cut gets them down to less than 1/4".
and im pretty sure no matter how adamant you are explaining to the customer that OM is good for your turf, once they see how it looks afterward, there is now way they are gonna buy it.

This is how I explain it. I tell them that I'd like to try it my way first, at no obligation whatsoever to them. If they aren't 100% satisfied, I'll bag them.

I haven't had a request yet to bag them>

Hope this helps clear things up a bit:waving:

Organic a go go
03-14-2008, 11:09 AM
There's been a study done by Michigan St. I believe that argues leaves can be mulched into the soil at a much higher rate per 1000sq ft. than most of us would attempt without having any downside for the turf the following spring. Obviously that assumes equipment with enough hp to get everything up.

I sell my customers on this approach *heavily*. It makes no sense for me to charge them to haul away organic matter and then charge them to bring in another product to replace that OM I just hauled off. Its backwards.
Most see the logic but some just wont go for it no matter what and its the customer that's making the final decision. In theory there is no reason to haul leaves off but you can't eat theory.

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 11:14 AM
Mike,
You have to admit thought that not every leaf, on every property, can be mulched into the turf and leave the turf still looking nice and manicured when you pull off the property.
EVERY LEAF?? Can YOU guarantee every leaf?? I don't control the wind.

ProTouch Groundscapes
03-14-2008, 11:16 AM
Under a proper fert plan, even oak leaves decompose quickly. Yeah, they are tough, but a double cut gets them down to less than 1/4".

HAHA! the customers that i have the leaf issues with are the ones that i cant convince to get on a fert plan with me! this really sucks as i know their lawn would look 1000x better with the 4 step plan i use on my commercials and a couple other rezzies.

read my post about the leaves being too late in the year. what can i do about that?

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 11:19 AM
There's been a study done by Michigan St. I believe that argues leaves can be mulched into the soil at a much higher rate per 1000sq ft. than most of us would attempt without having any downside for the turf the following spring. Obviously that assumes equipment with enough hp to get everything up.

I sell my customers on this approach *heavily*. It makes no sense for me to charge them to haul away organic matter and then charge them to bring in another product to replace that OM I just hauled off. Its backwards.
Most see the logic but some just wont go for it no matter what and its the customer that's making the final decision. In theory there is no reason to haul leaves off but you can't eat theory.

That is the study I was talking about. It was confirmed through additional studies by Ohio State, Purdue, and Rutgers as well. But there are people on this site that don't think studies are worth a hill of beans.

Customers, for the most part, just want to see the end results. They really don't care how you get there. I tell them I'll do it my way and if they are not happy, we'll do it their way. Every one has been a convert so far.:waving:

Grassmechanic
03-14-2008, 11:26 AM
HAHA! the customers that i have the leaf issues with are the ones that i cant convince to get on a fert plan with me! this really sucks as i know their lawn would look 1000x better with the 4 step plan i use on my commercials and a couple other rezzies.

read my post about the leaves being too late in the year. what can i do about that?
Not much you can do if they don't want a fert plan other than trying to explain the benefits to them.

I know about leaves falling late last year. I was doing "clean-ups" until it snowed! With Mother Nature, sometimes we're the dog, other times we're the hydrant. You sometimes just have to do what you have to do when the weather doesn't cooperate. I know this probably didn't help answer your question/:waving:

ProTouch Groundscapes
03-14-2008, 11:33 AM
I know about leaves falling late last year. I was doing "clean-ups" until it snowed! With Mother Nature, sometimes we're the dog, other times we're the hydrant. You sometimes just have to do what you have to do when the weather doesn't cooperate. I know this probably didn't help answer your question/

i think what it ultimately comes down to, is keeping an open mind about different options available at your disposal, but you also have to be aware of the conditions and how to act accordingly. i dont believe you should immediately discredit mulching stuff up as i do it in earlier fall. but then again when your in the third week of november and up to your knees in leaves, sometimes removal or haul away is the best option.

Organic a go go
03-14-2008, 02:38 PM
That is the study I was talking about. It was confirmed through additional studies by Ohio State, Purdue, and Rutgers as well. But there are people on this site that don't think studies are worth a hill of beans.


http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/livingston/horticulture/#12

Here's an article that summarizes the results of several of the studies mentioned. Just click on "Want to reduce waste and time......" The bottom line for turf health is that there were no observed negatives even with leaves in much much greater quantities than I'd have the guts to mulch into the soil and even in turf areas that otherwise have low inputs.

A big part of the visual for the customer though is going to depend on how high your mowing, the higher the better. Chopped up leaves will settle into longer blades of grass and be virtually invisible.

If your customers will buy into it its a better deal all the way around for the soil, the grass, and you. Fall clean up turns into just another mow.

Eclipse
03-14-2008, 02:41 PM
EVERY LEAF?? Can YOU guarantee every leaf?? I don't control the wind.

I guess I did not explain my question well enough.

I will use an example to better explain what I was trying to get at.

Say you are on a property with several mature trees meaning you have quite a heavy leaf load. Often times on these properties the mature trees shade the turf and you get a thinner turf than on a sunny property. And lets say this property is your average resi property and for my area that would be somewhere in the 7-10k range.

So here we have thin turf, a heavy volume of leaves from the mature trees, and not a very large amount square footage to lose the ground up leaves in. In this situation are you also suggesting that you mulch all the leaves into the turf? If I was able to get on the turf every couple days I am sure I could mulch in all the leaves in this situation but seeing how this is not an option and I am only able to get there every 7-10 days when the leaves start falling it just does not work out.

I will just go on record saying I mulch all the leaves I can. I prefer it. But there are properties where there is no other option IMO than hauling away some of the leaves.

hackitdown
03-14-2008, 05:34 PM
Look, it depends on where in the country you are working. Here in Massachusetts, out in the distant suburbs, we have huge lots (2 acre min), with lawns carved out of the deep woods. My lot is quite typical, and like all my customers, is 81K sq ft. I have 15K sq ft of lawn. The rest is thick with oak and maple trees, all about 35 to 45 feet tall. I cut my lawn contantly with a 52" Lazer HP on side discharge. In the fall I use an exmark vac system. Trust me, there is no way I can mulch the leaves. I can clean the leaves off completely, and 3 days later the lawn is completely covered with leaves. I mean 100% coverage, no green! If I go a week, they are about 2" deep...and so on.

Mulching is not only physically and mechanically out of the question, it would be bad for business. We stop mowing here at the beginning of October. Leaves are beginning to fall. They continue to fall almost until Dec 1. To stay ahead of the leaves, a customer could choose to have me visit once per week and mulch/mow for $50/week, eight visits would be $400. That would be 8 hrs of work for me on average, at $50/hr, plus 8 equip. load/unload, fuel, and 8 trips in the truck. I have 3 fussy customers that ask for this, so I do it. And I charge a bit for the extra time it takes.

Or, more typically, I can show up only once in November when the leaves can be literally one foot deep, work for 4 hrs with an 11HP WB blower, backpacks, and tarp and charge my minimum fee of $350. I do 2 per day solo. Some big ones I charge $550. I make MORE MONEY for less work. It costs my customer LESS MONEY. And if the leaves blow over from the neighbors, I do a Spring Cleanup for $250 in April, which would occur regardless.

Again, in this neighborhood, mulching leaves is not an option.

jbell36
03-14-2008, 05:58 PM
alright i will be the first to say i got a little out of hand on the topic, especially to you GRASS MECHANIC, everyone has their own opinions and if you read the replies everyone is really 50/50...i just realized that we are arguing on lawnsite.com...i'm not questioning your intelligence, i'm sure you are credible as you have a degree in horticulture i'm guessing, i also feel i am credible as i'm working on mine, just got done with my chemical class, not even fully certified yet (i'm only 22). i guess my point is, which someone just said, it depends on the situation 100%...i also don't fully disagree with you to the point that you do need a certain amount of thatch on the ground...i still don't see how you are supposed to overseed with all of the ground up leaves on the ground but you weren't exactly trying to argue that point, like i said, all about the situation...

Organic a go go
03-14-2008, 09:50 PM
I will just go on record saying I mulch all the leaves I can. I prefer it. But there are properties where there is no other option IMO than hauling away some of the leaves.

Another option to at least consider is to use the leaves as winter mulch around customer's plantings OR sell them on an on-site composting program. Not everybody is going to go for it of course but there is the opportunity to up-sell some services for those that will.

LawnGuy73
03-14-2008, 09:55 PM
lets settle down now boys! seems to be alot of bickering goin on lately on the site.

Lately? I've been on this site five years and its been the same all along! :dizzy: