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View Full Version : Leaf cleanup situation


BrunoT
12-10-2010, 04:33 PM
Here is the situation. About 3000 sq ft of roadside lower quality lawn. Leaves have been blown out of about 6,000 sq ft of woods and into lawn area. Lots of sticks, mulch fragments, and pinestraw mixed in. Conditions are dry with light winds, but vehicles flying past at 55mph can cause some gusts.

There are somewhat more leaves than it appears in the photos, they are piled about 2.5 ft high further from the camera but the angle seems to hide that.

Describe in reasonable detail what approach and tools you would take to clean this up and how long you would estimate the job to take.(including final cleanup and debris disposal time if any). There are heavier woods about 100' away from the midpoint of the lawn that you 'could' dump stuff in if you dispersed it, but there's a lot of tanglefoot to get through (chest high briars, fallen limbs, a ditch to cross, etc) so you'd probably spend more time doing that than using another method.

BrunoT
12-10-2010, 04:45 PM
Here are pics to help

bmoorefield
12-10-2010, 05:20 PM
I would use a leaf/debris loader and pull the large sticks to the side and load them seperate so they dont get lodged in the intake hose. With 2 people it looks like it would take less then two hours with a few blowers, rakes, and loader. From the looks of the pictures it stops at the mailbox. Its difficult to determine how many loads that would be from the pictures, and I dont know what you have to load them...Pickup truck vs. 14' Dump trailer with high sides.
You could always blow and rake onto tarps, which would obviously be more labor intensive. What type of eqipment do you have? It may be worth contracting it to a larger company.

BrunoT
12-10-2010, 05:23 PM
I should have clarified, I have already done the job. I was curious to see what the various techniques used require in terms of time and effort. I thought it would bring some perspective to why some people use the techniques they use. I'll show some after pics and give my time later, I didn't want to distort the replies doing it right away.

The lawn is dormant bermuda with weeds in it, mowed at 2". It's a rural area, about 30 min from the nearest dump, if that matters.

topsites
12-10-2010, 07:03 PM
The way I would do it is first I would wait for the customer to call me and then after I have all the information I need
I would go take a look at it, only after I've taken a really good look would I come up with an estimate that I would give to
the customer, then the customer can decide as to whether they want me to do it.

I should have clarified, I have already done the job.

Oh good, then you don't need me anymore.

ed2hess
12-10-2010, 07:34 PM
I would take our 48" Scag with full mulching kit on and raise it to the top and back over the leaves with blades operating. Then I would keep lowers the unit until they are reduced to nothing. I have two properties that are almost a mile long with trees on it and divided roadway with trees on it. All mulched.

BrunoT
12-10-2010, 08:22 PM
The way I would do it is first I would wait for the customer to call me and then after I have all the information I need
I would go take a look at it, only after I've taken a really good look would I come up with an estimate that I would give to
the customer, then the customer can decide as to whether they want me to do it.



Oh good, then you don't need me anymore.

Actually, you were never needed <G>

It took me a whopping 23 min on the lazer z hp, including a final pass with the blower. To me it beats hours on my feet dragging them around or thousands spent collecting them. And the customer likes paying $23 for the extra time on-site vs $200 or more I'd charge to collect and haul them off. It ain't perfect, but it ain't too bad, either.

KS_Grasscutter
12-10-2010, 08:43 PM
Id throw the mulch plate on the Grasshopper and keep going over them till they dissappear. This is with gators too. If it needed to be perfect I'd make one more pass bagging them, again with the Grasshopper.

BrunoT
12-10-2010, 08:44 PM
Took about 4 passes, mostly to break up and disperse the taller piles. Once they're low enough they grind up nicely. What looks to be brown clumps of leaf fragments is dirt from bare spots. I included a closeup of what is left. If you can imagine it w/o the weeds and dormant turf it isn't a bad look. It does leave some hardwood mulch bits in the lawn, as blowing the slope kicked some into the grass. A final pass with a nice vaccuming mower would get most of them up I think.

It looks better on thicker maintained turf, so I included a shot of a real lawn the day after a moderate amount of leaves (2 weeks worth) were mulched in one pass, again with a closeup.

I have other mowers that would drive over that and leave it looking like a forest floor. They lack the vaccum power and mulching ability of the Exmark.

Barefoot James
12-10-2010, 09:30 PM
Drive a mulch mule past that - what is it about 150 yards??? You could suck them up in 10 mins tops and roll on down the road with about 5% of your cargo space filled up. What did you make for that job? $23? - if so should have charged more. What did you make to blow them down the hill?
I like the exercise/format you used - don't get suckered into divulging your methods (too soon) cause topsides doesn't want to play nice.

BrunoT
12-11-2010, 12:57 AM
Drive a mulch mule past that - what is it about 150 yards??? You could suck them up in 10 mins tops and roll on down the road with about 5% of your cargo space filled up. What did you make for that job? $23? - if so should have charged more. What did you make to blow them down the hill?
I like the exercise/format you used - don't get suckered into divulging your methods (too soon) cause topsides doesn't want to play nice.

First I'll have to look up what a mulch mule is! Huge vaccum cleaner I'm guessing.

For leaf work I charge $1/min for anything beyond the usual time needed to mow the lawn, and yes, it's probably not near what I could charge on some jobs. I do it cheap to keep solid mowing customers happy and the additional revenue is not enough to go to another method where I'd have more price resistance and even customer resentments that go along with bigger leaf bills.

I also like that it doesn't require me to invest in any equipment that I don't use much, as I am a small operation and can't spread it over hundreds of accounts.

Barefoot James
12-11-2010, 03:46 PM
Hey $60 an hour is great for a solo. That said you can be solo and have bigger equipment and charge much more - if you go by the hour.
Equipment is EVERYTHING. :weightlifter: Can't lift heavy stuff without muscles but a front end loader would be even better!