View Full Version : pick up small sticks or mow over them ?

redmax fan
06-12-2009, 09:17 PM
i dont mow much , my partner mows and i whip . and he always picks up most the sticks in yards including ones like round as a baby finger and like 6" long .
well im always saying that the blades dont even hit most of them and that even the ones that are hit dont dull the blades up fast enough to waste the time picking them up . and thusly its a waste of time picking up sticks say smaller than 3/4" in diameter and a foot long . but i dont run the mowers much so not sure how quickly hitting the sticks dulls up blades . so i was wondering others outlook on it ?

06-12-2009, 09:25 PM
i mow em all

06-12-2009, 09:27 PM
If I worried about all of the sticks and pine cones, I'd never get any mowing done.....

06-12-2009, 09:28 PM
Never pick'em up, too much time.

Think Green
06-12-2009, 09:29 PM
With highly powered ZTR's, the BTS is 15,000 FPS, and with multiple hits from sticks of all sizes the blades will take a pounding and dull quickly. Walk Behind mowers will go through the same abuse from debris of all sizes. Push--trim mowers that are in the 21" category will not dull as quickly. The thing to realize, is that mowers have shear pins on the blade adapters, and abuse from debris will eventually tear them up.
But as far as the blades being destroyed or dulled, it is a never ending process. We sharpen our blades as many as 2-3 times a week and replace blades every two weeks. This is from normal turfgrass mowing, let alone mowing up sticks.........
It is the professionalism of stick clean-up that we pride ourselves in while mowing all accounts. The employees are told to cleanup the sticks, no matter how large or small they are. Clean lawns are just part of our quality program.
Now, to me personally, I chew the crap out of the extra small sticks with my Walker mower. It is all a matter of knowing just what you can and can't mow! When it comes to the employees doing it,,,,,,,,,,they are encouraged to pick them up....!

06-12-2009, 10:04 PM
I over them. Anything over 1 inch diamter I pick up, while mowing that is. I have one of the, graber things.

06-12-2009, 10:11 PM
just mow over them ! pick up any Big Branches but everything else just mow over them

Green Machine Mowing
06-12-2009, 10:21 PM
and all this time i thought this is what they meant by "mulching" with your mower

i run them over, i hit them or i dont, dosent make any diffrince to me

06-12-2009, 10:26 PM
mow and keep going...

06-12-2009, 10:40 PM
I don't worry about dulling the blades, but I DO worry about bending one.

06-13-2009, 06:45 AM
mmmm peanuts

06-13-2009, 07:27 AM
WOW, losers and Hud houses???

I have some properties with 20 trees that drop small branches every day, if my customer wants me to pick every one up I certainly will but they find that unnecessary. I do pick up the very obvious branches but you must be getting paid very well or are out of your mind to pick up every little twig in a lawn.

That is about as unrealistic as sharpening your blades before cutting every property. If it makes me unprofessional in your eyes so be it.

My customers and I have been together for many years and the thing that is the key is COMMUNICATION. If they communicate their desire to me, I communicate my response back to them. It works well. So go back to picking twigs for your customers and I will go back to mowing them to bits. We will both get paid but I am thinking that I will feel better at the end of the day.

06-13-2009, 08:24 AM
Chop them the hell up. And I'm professional at it.

06-13-2009, 09:05 AM
I pick up everything over 3/8 " and mulch the rest. Mulching the small stuff actually improves soil quality. Google Ramial Wood Chips. In any event the lawn is left clean when I leave.

david shumaker
06-13-2009, 04:21 PM
I'll pick up a few large branches on some lawns. I have some lawns where the customers never pickup anything and the lawns are always littered. It would take 30 minutes to just pick up stuff. On the littered lawns, I go over or around everything unless I'm paid extra for a cleanup job.

I have one full service account where I'm paid extra to just pick up sticks and blow year round even when nothing else needs done.

06-13-2009, 05:06 PM
If they fit under the deck they go if not Ill pick them up

06-13-2009, 05:41 PM
Pick up the large branches...mow the smaller branches and twigs, etc.

06-13-2009, 05:48 PM
I use 21" only and with the Snapper Ninja I hit em and :laugh: , with the Honda Microcut I hit em and :dizzy:

06-13-2009, 08:46 PM
I don't think running over sticks would do much damage to the blades. However, a stick getting up over the top of the deck and into the belt could snap the belt. Just pay attention to whats going on.

06-13-2009, 09:24 PM
I just mow our own acreage with the Kubota ZD-21. I cut any small branch less than about 1.5 inch diameter. If the wood is old, as when I'm clearing out old blackberry patches around trees, I mow even larger sticks. Eight years on the Kubota and same belt and spindles.

06-13-2009, 09:44 PM
I pick up all branches for the sake of my blades and cut quality. The twigs get mowed. Anything under about a third of an inch is a twig in my book. The rest get picked up. I may miss a few, but this is my modus operendi.

06-13-2009, 11:06 PM
i pick up the really big branches and i mow right over the small ones. It would take way to long to pick them all up and i would have a lot of sticks to get rid of

06-13-2009, 11:35 PM
grind em till I cant find em.... helps clean build up out from the deck.

06-13-2009, 11:39 PM
If they go under the deck, they go out the side. With larger sticks and branches if they are in the way I usually scoot them out of the way with the side of my deck (with the blades off) unless they are a real eye sore, then I will move them elsewhere on the property. I have never had any complaints about branches, so I tend not to worry about them!

Think Green
06-14-2009, 12:26 AM
I guess from my first response, you would think that I was an anal lawn fanatic.
Sorry, but when we are mowing, and the customer comes out while we are picking up sticks, the men clean up as much as possible while the customer is standing there. The rest becomes------------"OM". The only time I really guage the size of twigs is depending on the species of trees around I see while mowing. I personally use the walker with GHS system, and anyone who uses one of these mowers knows that even the smallest twigs can and will lodge sideways in the impeller blower box and clog.......(The DAMN thing up!) That is why we get as many or most of the twigs as possible....
No Offense but yes, the cut is important to us and so is our equipment!!!!! My walkers are 9 years old and still running with little damage from proper habits of maintenance. The Exmark's will cut the stew out of anything except oak and hickory..........!
Blade's can be replaced but the other parts like the clutch--gear box's are too expensive to replace from being a dope head!!!!
I do respect each response...................it is your equipment do with it what you will!

So one would lead to think that cutting Male pine cones isn't detrimental nor is sweet gum and chestnut balls. ??
I once hit a pine cone and nailed an employee in the left eye............thank goodness he was wearing his safety glasses while line trimming. He still needed 4 stitches.
Have you ever had bailing wire removed from your shin.......? Hurts like hell when it is lodged 1/2 inch into your bone from a ZTR. How about replacing an Argon filled patio door by a twig.........when hit just the right way!!!!!????
I don't know..........maybe your time is coming............!!!
Just keep on mowing these things and hopefully something bad won't happen...!
Hope you have insurance!

06-14-2009, 12:26 AM
It is the professionalism of stick clean-up that we pride ourselves in while mowing all accounts.

Nothing screams "pro" like a quick round of pick-up-sticks.

06-14-2009, 06:47 AM
Nothing screams "pro" like a quick round of pick-up-sticks.

LOL :laugh:

I was mowing under several sweet gum trees and one of the balls got stuck in between the spindle pulley and the belt and made the awfullest sound. I ended up having to take the belt off to get it out. It took me 30 mins before I figured out what it was.


06-14-2009, 06:57 AM
Arcoa e-z reacher is my best friend. I use it to pick up any stick over 3/8" or longer than 18". It also works for picking up the usual stuff, like kiddy toys, which get chucked into the nearest thorny shrub, ditto for their inflatables, also use it to twist up and knot up garden hoses left in the lawn, or bricks, which get placed on the nearest sidewalk or driveway.

06-14-2009, 07:29 AM
Got one of those myself, just never remember to grab it when I get on the mower. No place to put it.

Richard Martin
06-14-2009, 07:32 AM
I pick up the big sticks and chew through the rest. If the shear pins on my Dixie can't handle a few sticks then shame on it. I ran over and ejected these two items last year with zero damage to anything. The blades were even fine.



David Haggerty
06-14-2009, 07:33 AM
I mow dead wood, but not green wood.

If it's been cut out of the tree with a chainsaw or ripped out by a storm I'll pick it up. But if it's old deadwood that fell out of the tree I mow it over. Limbs big as my leg just go "puff" and turn into compost.
But hit a piece of greenwood and it tries to tear up the mower. Plus it never does get chewed up.

06-14-2009, 07:36 AM
Got one of those myself, just never remember to grab it when I get on the mower. No place to put it.

I made a bracket on my Dixie Chopper, It puts the easy reacher at my right hand, angling down toward the front of the mower, you squeeze the handle, like you are picking up something, insert the head into a scrap piece of 2X3 steel tubing, and the spring pressure of the easy reacher holds it in place.:waving:

06-14-2009, 07:44 AM
depends on the customer, some customers are fussy (but pay extra) and others are ok with small sticks and kind of depends on the size of the yard. By the road, driveway and the entrance I'll pick up more sticks.

06-14-2009, 08:39 AM
i pick up sticks and leave the property clean. If you do a job, do it right. Lawn maint. Not just lawn cutting

06-14-2009, 10:24 AM
If it is under 3/4 inches in diameter I will just hit it