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View Full Version : Leaf mulching YES WAY or NO WAY !!!


fastlane
11-05-2002, 12:37 PM
It's apparent that the same way will not work for everone. ie:the type of equipment you use,the amount of leaves,the result your customer wants etc. I use a 48''TT with mulch kit. (Leaf gobbler still in the box)Than (if needed)a Cub with bagger. When leaves are to deep to mulch I also use blower and BillyGoat vac mounted on a 6x6x6' trailer pulled by tractor. It goes anywhere in yard and I drive up on 16' trailer and dump leaves.

bobbygedd
11-05-2002, 01:31 PM
no way for me. when they first start to fall, its no problem mulching. but when there is any real accumulation, i need to go over it 2 or 3 times without a catcher, then pick up with a catcher. i just cant see getting a nice clean job by mulching . i would like to see a b4, and after picture of what some of these "mulchers" are doing.

65hoss
11-05-2002, 01:55 PM
This topic has become a "mines bigger than yours" subject.

greenman
11-05-2002, 05:34 PM
YES WAY!!

Lawn Specialties
11-05-2002, 05:44 PM
For me mulching leaves has gotten easier with time and experimenting to see what works.I use a Toro 44 Wb with a modified version of Toro's mulch kit with gator magnum's.

hoagie
11-05-2002, 06:33 PM
For me its a big NO WAY.

Customers wouldn't go for it and neither would I. Not to say anyone elses way dosent work.... just that this is what my local market demands.

Leaf cover is outragous, customers are beyond anal, and over the years of working for them I have become (if possible) even more anal.

Just to put anal customers into everyones perspective... there was one account a few yrs ago (working for another lco) that had us HAND PICK EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF LEAF out of every shrub during not only the final clean-up, but EVERY TIME!!!!

Walker/Vac is the only way around here....

ULTIMATE LAWN
11-05-2002, 06:47 PM
Here is a pic I dug up from the archives. An obvious master of his trade.

This was done by Eric Elm & shows how properly mulching leaves looks after 1 pass with doubles.

I almost feel sorry for the guys around here that have shelled out for Walkers, Pecos & truck vacs.....Almost.

Bill Davis
11-05-2002, 08:21 PM
yes way is definetly my vote. With my new Little Wonder Blower and my Lazer i can make the downed fall foliage turn to dust.

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 08:38 PM
Bobbygedd,

Before

FrankenScagMachines
11-05-2002, 08:39 PM
Thanks for diggin that pic out, got any more? :D Thats awesome if you ask me. It still depends on the conditions (those look real dry), equipment deck design and blade speed, horsepower, proper deck adjustment (ie, pitch) and blade combinations, ground speed, operator's expertise with equipment, etc etc.
To be honest, that pic will make anyone a beleiver in mulching but you can bet that not everyone can do it that good (given the conditions) or else they would not have gone back to picking them up. Not to be argumentive, but thats just the facts, life's not perfect, sorry. And right now around here anyway you cant' do much with leaves except try to mulch them cause of all the d@m rain we are getting. You would have to come back and finish later they wouldn't mulch good and your vacs would clog. I think the only way that everyone can agree on that works and gets everything up leaving as little debris as possible is to mulch them first then use a catcher on them. Obviously a Walker is the weapon of choice but we can't all justify that much money for one, and their ground speed isn't productive enough to have just a Walker with a discharge or mulch deck during grass season. Around here they aren't used at all for anything, I am not sure what most LCO's do for leaves. Some lawns are mulchable and some not, just depends. I'm trying to do what everyone else is with this topic: sum it up and give my opinion while having the last word, but that ain't gonna happen. I will try to get some leaf cleanup pics of the before and after and equipment I use.
Thanks for reading,
Eric

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 08:39 PM
After

2 passes with single highlifts

(how to some of you get 2 pics in one post?)

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 08:45 PM
Another before shot from beside the salon. Most of these are leaves from the tall trees not really pictured well. There is big chestnut leaves, dogwood, oak and all.

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 08:54 PM
After shot taken from center of last pic back in the opposite direction

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 08:58 PM
Now someone tell me how to put two pic on one post and I'll put 2 good ones together.

captdevo
11-05-2002, 09:11 PM
thanks for posting Erics great work!!!


one thing to remember...Eric knew how to Maintain turf


mulching leaves is great for some, but you must amend the soil afterwards!!!

...............if mulching great quantities of leaves, get soil samples to keep it balanced!!


it's not a matter of mulching or bagging, it's keeping a healthy lawn!

in my area, some like it mulched...some like it manicured...(no clippings)

if you compete with operators that mulch (or let'm fly) price accordingly, if you can make the extra $$$ bagging.....do so!!



btw....................if you want the best manicured lawn!!!! Walker Mowers!!

if you have hi traffic areas (lots of paper and debris) you can't beat a Walker!!!!



http://www.rpm-co.com/images/model_md.jpg

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 09:52 PM
Captdevo,

Dang it! Lets talk pricing on those dang Walkers! They must be expensive because no one wants to talk about it!!! They look like an awsome design and the chageable decks are a plus. All the info I have on them is the literature I got in the mail.

E-mail me

CSRA Landscaping
11-05-2002, 09:56 PM
I think a Walker starts at $9k for the really, really cheap one. They go way up from there.

hoagie
11-05-2002, 10:47 PM
Not really way up.... I picked up a top of the line 26hp efi GHS 48" for $9850.

LAWNGODFATHER
11-06-2002, 02:37 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
It still depends on the conditions (those look real dry), equipment deck design and blade speed, horsepower, proper deck adjustment (ie, pitch) and blade combinations, ground speed, operator's expertise with equipment, etc etc.
To be honest, that pic will make anyone a beleiver in mulching but you can bet that not everyone can do it that good (given the conditions) or else they would not have gone back to picking them up. Not to be argumentive, but thats just the facts, life's not perfect, sorry. And right now around here anyway you cant' do much with leaves except try to mulch them cause of all the d@m rain we are getting. You would have to come back and finish later they wouldn't mulch good and your vacs would clog. I think the only way that everyone can agree on that works and gets everything up leaving as little debris as possible is to mulch them first then use a catcher on them. Obviously a Walker is the weapon of choice but we can't all justify that much money for one, and their ground speed isn't productive enough to have just a Walker with a discharge or mulch deck during grass season. Around here they aren't used at all for anything, I am not sure what most LCO's do for leaves. Some lawns are mulchable and some not, just depends. I'm trying to do what everyone else is with this topic: sum it up and give my opinion while having the last word, but that ain't gonna happen. I will try to get some leaf cleanup pics of the before and after and equipment I use.
Thanks for reading,
Eric

Condition; to broad

equipment deck design and blade speed, horsepower, proper deck adjustment (ie, pitch) and blade combinations, ground speed, operator's expertise with equipment, etc etc.

What difference does that make? I can send my 10 year old out with the Snapper push mower and have him cut the lawn 2-3 times to just like in "ALL" the above photo's and get close results.

To be honest, that pic will make anyone a beleiver in mulching but you can bet that not everyone can do it that good (given the conditions) or else they would not have gone back to picking them up.

Not everyone? There is a reason people pick leaves up.

Not to be argumentive, but thats just the facts

Is this based on your 15 years of the green industry experiance or just your age. What commercial mower experince do you even have?

I think the only way that everyone can agree on that works and gets everything up leaving as little debris as possible is to mulch them first then use a catcher on them.

Don't speak for me, I disagree, when I do mulch leaves prior to vacing them, I leave a whole lot more debris, than vacing them on the first run.

Obviously a Walker is the weapon of choice but we can't all justify that much money for one,[/]

Now is this from your experiance or what you read?

I will most likely never buy one, sorry they were fun to play on.

[i]and their ground speed isn't productive enough to have just a Walker with a discharge or mulch deck during grass season. Around here they aren't used at all for anything,

So again you are showing that you only have read about them, no person experiance.

Some lawns are mulchable and some not, just depends

I guess you could say I started this topic, but I was originally showing what my "1 pass" did to the leaves. Not much eh?

I'm trying to do what everyone else is with this topic: sum it up and give my opinion while having the last word, but that ain't gonna happen.

Sum up, heck the leaf season just begun and "you" will get to read a few hundred more "leaf" topics in the next few months. You "know" that will almost never happen.


For leaf clean up, do what ever floats your boat.

Disclaimer; there is nothing wrong with a Walker mower, they just don't fit in my company.

captdevo
11-06-2002, 07:56 AM
Walkers start under $6k

CSRA Landscaping
11-06-2002, 08:27 AM
Sorry, Dave, the dealer here starts at $9k and goes up to, I think, $12k.

John DiMartino
11-06-2002, 08:43 AM
Real Walkers start at 9K,the single cyl homeowner model cant even be considered for a commercial operator.Id consider the 20hp twin GHS the base model.Forget the 16hp.I wouldnt bother with less than the biggest engine you can get.If your going to lay out that much money,get the most productive one you can. On the leaves,the old picture form Eric,the pass closest looks godd,but to the right it appears there are a lot of leaves, i think the picture is deceiving,2 passes eariler those leaves were blown over there from the discharge,my dixie does the same thing,when he made his next pass those leaves would al be blown spread evenly all over the clean area.Mulching workd during the fall season,but for the the final cleanups, it isnt acceptable here,nonw of the luched lawns shown here would be accpeted for clean ups here,bagging is expected,and customers want all leaves gone,not mulched into the turf.Many trees also have thin turf under them,mulching simply makes this an even bigger mess.Smoothering already acidic,stressed turf.

Got Grass?
11-06-2002, 08:56 AM
The one big thing everyone forgets is turf quality. The denser the grass the easier it is to hide the leaves in there.
Some accounts I can mulch them right in, others I am forced to bag them up & leave them curbside. You can only hide so many chunks in a thin lawn.
Some of my customers can't stand to see the chunks. Especialy when the kids & pets are rolling arround on the ground dragging chunks in the house. Other customers love mulching & prefer that I leave them there.

Customers have diffrent standards & we have diffrent equipment.
Every situation is diffrent. Our job is to meet the customers demands with as much profit as possible.

I do both. Does that meen I dont know what I am doing? No.... I do whats the customer requests, pays for, is fastest, etc...
No one way is right, no one way is wrong. There are so many varibles to take into concideration, It's like comparing Tomatoes to Oranges to Grapefruit.

No one here has a right to say what is best for everyone. Altho we can say what works best for ourselves.

This is becoming worse then the Chevy V.S. Ford debate. Who cares. Figure out what is best for you & go with it.

Oliver1850
11-06-2002, 11:16 AM
Got Grass?

I couldn't have said it better myself. I prefer to mulch whenever possible, and this works well for me.
However, knowing my customers is important too. Some accounts require complete leaf removal, this is where coming prepared pays off. In the Fall, I do not leave home without my Bill Goat.

GLS
11-06-2002, 09:06 PM
I completely agree with you gotgrass.

Got Grass?
11-06-2002, 09:40 PM
WoW, I managed to get people to agree on this topic...
:dizzy: :drinkup:

65hoss
11-06-2002, 09:57 PM
Mines bigger than yours! Mines bigger than yours!

Got Grass?
11-06-2002, 10:01 PM
Your gut...
:D :drinkup:

bubble boy
11-07-2002, 11:14 AM
screw it all. i'm calling the boys in. gonna tell all my customers that until this debate is settled on LS i'm not doing anything with their leaves...if it takes months so be it. lock the doors, put the coffee on...

and by the way, how come nobody wants to support the rake position:D :p

HarryD
11-07-2002, 11:43 AM
on the rake position

I myself prefer the extra large plastic rakes . I think they move many more leaves then the steel rakes & they mulch them alot better too then the steel :rolleyes: just kidding

bobbygedd
11-07-2002, 02:18 PM
ok, someone here hit it on the head. my experience today was as follows: i just picked up a new machine. i own several walk behinds all equiped with 12 hp kawa engines. today i used my new 36 bobcat that has a 15 hp kawa(3 more horsepower) . i went to a client with high grass, and considerable leaf coverage(maple, and some fruit trees that dropped). this is a quality lawn as we also fertilize it. i was very happy with the results. i ran over it 3 times without a catcher, the lawn looked beautiful! and i only had high lifts! i was very impressed considering the grass was very high too. my conclusion: the extra horsepower helped alot, and so did the fact that the turf was in healthy condition. im sold . i agree that if conditions allow, total mulching is possible

bubble boy
11-07-2002, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
...if conditions allow...

big if

LAWNGODFATHER
11-07-2002, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by bubble boy
big if

You got that right, pretty hard to mulch leaves under a big tree that has sparce grass under it.

I played a little today on some thick lawns while mowing a few I could still get some cuts on.

It takes many multiple passes to get it done.

bubble boy
11-07-2002, 08:56 PM
multiple passes to me seem a waste. if in two, MAYBE three

i do understand the theory that places look messy 5 min later...

i know for many here this is just beating a dead horse, but please indulge...i have read all the threads on the subject so far with great interest. this is our 2nd year of unsuccessful leaf grinding.

always willing to entertain ideas...and see pics

JimLewis
11-15-2002, 02:11 AM
Envylawn,

I must admit; those before and after pics are pretty impressive. The best I've seen yet. The ones posted by others in other threads really didn't impress me at all (with bits of leaves left all over the lawn) but those pictures you posted are damn impressive. It makes me re-think my hard line position on the evils of mulching......

SLS
11-15-2002, 09:38 AM
http://hifiparty.home.att.net/maplemulch4.jpg

All these little bits are killing me! I give up! ;)