View Full Version : small leaf vacuum equipment
12-10-2001, 07:43 PM
Had an interesting call a few days ago. A new customer referred by another customer wanted me to come and blow the leaves out of her beds, shred them, and put them back in the beds (along with all the leaves from the yard). She told me she had used a "mulcher" from Sears in the past which cost $99.00. I love the idea of recycling the leaves. The city has a compost site so they get recycled anyway, but a great idea to just do it onsite. I went to Sears to look at this mulcher and they had no idea what I was talking about and claimed they had never sold such a thing. They showed me a $99 blower/vac/shredder and we assumed that was what she meant. I talked to a friend who is more experienced and he had not heard of this either, but he did point out that there was a leaf grinder on the porch of the house where we were taking out a tree. I didn't look closely at it but it looked like something that would sit on top of a garbage can. He told me that our favorite small engine mechanic recommended to him not to buy a handheld blower/vac unless you really need it since they wear out. (I had just recently got a blower and decided against blower/vac/shredder and got an Echo PB24LN). He also told me that it is much faster to just mulch the leaves with a mower. I did this over the weekend at another job and it worked very well. I raked up a huge pile, put the Honda HRC215 on it, the pile disappeared, I put the bag on and picked up a couple of bags of leaf dust. A guy at Home Depot told me he used to put leaves in a metal garbage can and chop them with a weedeater with a metal blade. I know there are also all kinds of expensive truck-mountd vacuums, which are beyond reach. So I thought I would just used the mower. I called her tonight since she said to call first ( the job was scheduled for tomorrow). She had told me before that she had someone else coming to look at the job. Well she had them do it today and it took them 4 hours with 2 guys - she said it would have taken me 2 days. She said that the Sears machine was in fact a leaf shredder which sits on a stand. She has bought 2 from Sears over the years and both are broken (imagine that). I'm still curious about that machine though. But anyway, the reason for my post.....
She said the guys that did the job used a machine that looks like a giant Kirby vacuum cleaner with a huge bag on it. I'm wondering what this machine could be, who makes it, where can you get it, what does it cost. Also any other ideas on efficient leaf removal? I know this has been discussed and I'll read more here on the subject, but I mainly just want to know about this machine that looks like a vacuum cleaner.
12-10-2001, 08:08 PM
I remember those things. Yeah, it looks just like you said. Have not seen one in years. It would be a waste for you to pusue one.
As far as the vacuum thing- are you referring to a billygoat. There are several types out there. They night be OK for a small lot, but I can't see why you wouldn't just use a mower. Just one more new product out there for people who have to have the "newest" whatever.
12-10-2001, 08:41 PM
Try mtd/yardman website they have to vacs one looks like a mower one like a billygoat.
use the mower to blow the leaves over to an area that is convenient to the beds. then mulch into a pile .
u could mulchum strait into the bed but its still got to be
spread an leveled by handrake or something.
one idea i use to control the pile of mulch is to first pile it all around a big tree. then put it where u want it.
12-10-2001, 10:31 PM
We use some old banger LB's with gators & a Toro 21" with doubles to dust leaves in beds. Run them right in the beds.
12-11-2001, 01:44 AM
Heres a pic of one.
Good thing some one else did the job, you would have gotten killed on it.
BTW those are junk that's why they are both broken.
Financing is in your reach isn't it?
12-11-2001, 07:12 AM
I have seen a few guys with the machine you are talking about. I am not positive but I think one of them was a Parker. I know Toro sold something like that also. Craftsman has a 900 dollar imitation that is for slooowww homeowner use. My neighbor bought one for his cabin up north, where he should have bought a backpack blower for half the price.
Either way don't go and buy one. They are not the answer, like you said you have a lot of reading and there you will find how to deal with leafs. Good Luck.
12-11-2001, 08:21 AM
I've seen a lot of guys here do many different things with leaves. There are lots of ways you can go, but I usually just run my 36" WB with the grass catcher until it fills with leaves. Then it acts like a mulcher. When you go over them again, they're really chopped up in very small pieces. Most of the places I do have too much material to just mulch, so this seems to be the fastest way.
I have a firend who uses a Walker GHS. It does a better job of vacuuming, but you need to handle large amounts of material. Without a dump bed truck, that can really be a lot of work.
The only thing I plan for sure to change next year is to get a bigger trash can. I use 39 gal cans now and will get the bigger ones with drum liners. Since leaves aren't as heavy as grass, that may make dumping into cans easier.
I also have a limb chipper that will vacuum leaves. I'm trying to adapt it to a trailer for large jobs where you can access the yard from the street. If I get it to work, I'll post a pic.
12-11-2001, 10:19 AM
Thanks for all the comments. I bet it was a Billy Goat. Too expensive for me and probably don't need it (maybe someday). I didn't ask what she paid, but I would probably have done the job for the same or less $ even if it took me longer. (The more expensive the machines, the more people charge). But I have plenty of customers anyway. Good to hear that many others just chop up leaves with a mower. Of course I do that a lot just to "remove" leaves from a lawn. Just had never encountered anyone wanting them picked up, shredded, and put into beds. The Sears gizmo is I'm sure a waste of money, but an interesting idea. Also, she told me that the chopping mechanism in it was a rotating string like on a weedeater. I'll do more reading here on leaves since its time to do leaves and I'm always working on learning new things and improving tools and techniques. I did a lot of leaf removal last JAN and FEB, even though most leaves are already down. Just having the handheld blower is an improvement for me.
Today I'm removing leaves from a small lawn. She wants it bagged. I'll just use the mower. She has beds but is not the type that would want the leaves put into them. Her beds are hard clay and she pays me to weed them every few months. Maybe someday we can improve the soil and add some mulch. Hard to get some people to understand such things. She told me she just paid Agrilawn to overseed her tiny front yard with fescue. They charged $250.00! This would have been probably a $50 - $75 job for me.
Well, off to another day of work in the nice cool fall.
12-12-2001, 06:45 AM
ck out Echo, they have a vacc/shreader/blower. Its the ES2400 maybe?
12-12-2001, 10:49 AM
Perhaps someday I'll try a blower/vac/shredder and it would probably be an Echo.
Some observations from the job I did yesterday:
Lots of oak leaves on front lawn. Blew out from behind hedge against house. Then went over leaves with Honda HRC215 in mulching mode. Then put bag on and picked up. Did pretty good job. If I just bag with the Honda, even with mulching blades, leaves do not get chopped up well.
The Agrilawn overseeding resulted in some lush green grass. But I asked her why she did it and she said to cover bare spots. The bare spots were still there. I dont think their treatment included roughing up the dirt in the bare spots. Probably they don't even carry rakes.
Two GIANT oak trees in front yard. So in addition to leaves there were millions of acorns. Mower would not pick them up (perhaps at a lower height, but this is fescue - was already pretty low at 1.5 - 2"). Blower didn't seem useful on them. Could rake them, but that would tear up the new grass. So this could be a good use for a vacuum of some sort. Or I guess it would. Anyone vacuum acorns?
12-12-2001, 04:57 PM
OK I finaly figured out how to get my img pics to post.
I have two of the Echo shred & vac's, they work great for what we use them for. Before you buy an Echo try the Sthil 85 shred & vac. It's a much better unit than the Echo for the same price ($250) and will be our choice on our next purchase.
When I bought the first unit, it was one of those things I wasn't sure of, but we have found all kind of uses for it. I don't leave the shop without it. Ya never know when your going to need it, but when I do it can be a life saver.
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