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Cleve99
11-28-2011, 04:03 PM
I live in an old neighborhood with old hardwoods and mostly old neighbors. I think I can fill a need AND make a little extra money removing leaves.

The lots in my neighborhood are about 1/3 of an acre. I think I have about 4 options for getting the job done but can use some advice.

1. A rake and a tarp (effective but time consuming).
2. Bag them with my lawnmower (this works well on my yard but I have to empty the bag dozens of times)
3. Buy a used Billy Goat (or similar) push lawn vacuum
4. Buy a used Billy Goat debris loader and a trailer. Blow all the leaves to where I am parked and suck them up with the vacuum hose and use the trailer to catch the mulch.

My questions are basically based around the last 2 options I mentioned. How much more area can I cover with one bag on a lawn vacuum compared to one bag on a regular push mower. I assume the bags are bigger and the leaves get shredded up better with the lawn vacuum. Is the improvement significant enough to warrant buying a used unit for around 5 or 6 hundred dollars?

With my 4th option, I know I would be potentially tying up close to $3000 depending on the unit and size of trailer. Do the debris loaders shred the leaves up finer than the leaf vacuums?

Please excuse my ignorance on the topic. I'm just trying to figure out if it makes sense to invest money into something that is specifically designed to handle leaves.

Any other thoughts/suggestions are welcome. Thank you very much for your time.

JDiepstra
11-28-2011, 04:33 PM
How deep do the leaves get there? On a good thick lawn i can mulch 6" of leaves into the lawn and leave it looking great. By Spring you would think all the leaves were bagged and the tiny leaf particles actually helped feed the lawn as they composted down to nothing.

Patriot Services
11-28-2011, 05:14 PM
A big ZTR or commercial wb can mulch down 6" of leaves but I doubt the push mower he's working with will. There really isn't a quick/easy way to do leaves without proper equipment.
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JDiepstra
11-28-2011, 05:22 PM
A big ZTR or commercial wb can mulch down 6" of leaves but I doubt the push mower he's working with will. There really isn't a quick/easy way to do leaves without proper equipment.
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Yeah thats true. I guess i was just giving him another option to consider. Ztr w mulch kit. Could come in handy during most of the rest of the year as well.

ed2hess
11-28-2011, 06:50 PM
Mulch them up with whatever mower you have and be done with them. And if the customer is picky and wants to pay more then rake the mulched leaves up and put them in a bag. Then use your bagger to finish it off.

gene gls
11-28-2011, 07:14 PM
Befor you invest money in equipment, find a place to get rid of the leaves after you collect them. Forget about a Billy Goat vac unit for collecting leaves. And $ 3000.00 won't get you much leaf equipment, trailer, leaf loader, push blower, hand blower.

rsmith1002
12-13-2011, 09:47 PM
I agree. Mulching the leaves with a ZTR works great. One additional thing I do at my own home and for a few of my clients is to blow the leaves into a long row near natural areas, muclh them with the ZTR, then blow the mulched leaves back into the natural areas. Looks fine and once spring rolls around, we'll probably be puting out pine straw in the natural areas. This has been a huge time saver for me compared to bagging them......I dont do that anymore......unless the customer is willing to pay amuch higher rate....just my two cents

ReddensLawnCare
12-16-2011, 10:32 PM
Speaking of mulching leaves, I have a snapper pro 26/52 with the mulch kit on it, I have noticed that I get a bit of a windrow on heavier leaves with it. Is that normal, or is that something with my piece.

yardguy28
12-16-2011, 10:42 PM
here is my suggestion, what and why i do it as well. it works with most any set up you have.

i throw the catcher onto my mower and make one pass over everything, not emptying the catcher until i'm done. when the catcher is full it mulches the leaves up a bit.

i empty the catcher and make a second pass collecting the mulched up the leaves.

then i'm usually done. if the leaves are a little thicker it might take a third pass.

in my neck of the woods people don't like the leaves pulverized into the ground because it leaves a brownish tint to the turf.

oh and i do this on a weekly basis for my clients so the leaves never get too thick in the first place.

Jacobcammack
07-05-2014, 05:05 PM
I like to chop up the leaves really fine with my lawn mower, then go back with the bagger and pick the mess up.

AMC32
07-05-2014, 05:50 PM
I'm also looking into equipment for leaf removal in the fall but I was interested in the cyclone rake. Does anyone have any opinions on them or a better way that may be cheaper?
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gene gls
07-05-2014, 06:05 PM
There is no cheap way of doing leaf removal and being efficient. Cheap is a rake and a tarp. You have to design a set up based on your equipment at hand and methods that are available to you. Leaf disposal is a big issue in a lot of areas.

I had an old cyclone rake that came with an old riding mower that I bought years ago, worked good for a 3.5hp unit. They are designed more for riding tractors and on site dumping.

AMC32
07-05-2014, 06:08 PM
There is no cheap way of doing leaf removal and being efficient. Cheap is a rake and a tarp. You have to design a set up based on your equipment at hand and methods that are available to you. Leaf disposal is a big issue in a lot of areas.

I had an old cyclone rake that came with an old riding mower that I bought years ago, worked good for a 3.5hp unit. They are designed more for riding tractors and on site dumping.
I have a gravely proturn 460 which in my opinion is pretty heavy so would a used cyclone rake on craigslist be a good way to go as long as it's in working condition?
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caseysmowing
07-05-2014, 08:38 PM
There is good money in leaves but you have to spend the money to make it. Really depends on properties far as what equipment you should buy. Bagger type equipment doesn't work for my properties but a leaf loader is a must. Bags are a joke no matter what size property you are doing.
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gene gls
07-05-2014, 08:58 PM
I have a gravely proturn 460 which in my opinion is pretty heavy so would a used cyclone rake on craigslist be a good way to go as long as it's in working condition?
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Have you sent for their free brochure? A new cyclone starts in the area of $1200.00, depending on model, and goes up to $2200.00 or so. You need to read up on them and think about how you are going to hook it up to a Z machine and what will be involved in the use of it. My info book lists the unit as being 7'6" long. Picture your self with it in a fixed position, mower and cyclone, 12 + feet long unit . Have you tried to back up a small utility trailer hooked up to your Z unit? Buying a used cyclone could be a good deal if you find one in good condition and know what the model sold for new. Replacing parts could put you over the price of a new one in a hurry. It will be a "learning" curve for you which ever way you go.

appalachianoutdoors
07-21-2014, 09:26 PM
There is good money in leaves but you have to spend the money to make it. Really depends on properties far as what equipment you should buy. Bagger type equipment doesn't work for my properties but a leaf loader is a must. Bags are a joke no matter what size property you are doing.
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Agreed..we never became efficient and very profitable until we had about $8K-$10K alone in leaf equipment or things that could be used on leaf jobs. Otherwise, you will work a lot for not much profit. Sorry, no real easy outs on leaf jobs.
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redmax fan
07-21-2014, 11:46 PM
anybody use one of these agri fab lawn / leaf vacume units - http://www.usfarmer.com/#archived-equipment/Mowers_-and-_Cutters/Lawn_-and-_Garden/Agri-Fab/LAWN_VACUUM/Agri-Fab_LAWN_VACUUM_99174/

smlc451
07-21-2014, 11:54 PM
I have a 16' trailer with 4x10 sheets of plywood around the entire thing. We blow all our leaves into a pile, rake onto tarps, and throw it in the trailer. We can do 2-5 cleanups a day before dumping, all depends though on how bad the yard is.

redmax fan
07-22-2014, 12:27 AM
we never blow into a pile as first step because theyll fill truck up much faster . where as if first step is leaving them as they sit and running over them a few times before using mower to then shoot them into piles your able to fit alot more on truck plus its less raking . then after we rake up leaves into tarps we give it a final cut with bagger on

smlc451
07-22-2014, 12:00 PM
that works if you have a nice mower like that or a tract-vac system.. we don't so we just blow and throw into the trailer. Most of the yards we work in are so weird shaped or on hilly terrain you couldn't use a mower if you wanted.

xstatikplus
07-25-2014, 07:08 AM
Chop leaves down with mower blow into a row leaf plow into pile then blow to clean up remainder of row leaf plow onto tarp toss in trailer and stomp when it starts getting full. But like others have said that's after investing money into things.
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echo
07-25-2014, 07:08 PM
Never used a cyclone rake.

Leaf plow, leaf loader, wheeled blower, big backpack blowers.

The guys(there will be plenty and most all from southern climates)that tell you to mulch them with the mower, bag them up, and blow the mess, have no clue when it comes to what a large amount of leaves really is...and certainly don't know what's it like in cold, wet, icy conditions.
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2 Cycle
07-25-2014, 09:06 PM
Blow to leaf sucker. Tom our leaf sucking stooge sucks them up. We say thanks tom and then we drink beer when job is complete

ducnut
07-26-2014, 08:27 PM
anybody use one of these agri fab lawn / leaf vacume units

I have a neighbor of a property I care for who has three different shredder-vacs. One of them is an Agri-Fab and he said it's junk. They're "local" to us, so there's a lot of it around. He said his Cyclone Z-10 is in another league. The next neighbor to him, also, says the same. He's got an A-F and Cyclone.

I sent a message to Cyclone about mounting options on my X-ONE. Within an hour, one of the reps called me. He walked me through all the options and recommendations for my business, assigned me ref#, and sent out an info packet. They have a 12-month trial period, so there's no risk. I'll be ordering mine, this week.

AMC32
07-26-2014, 08:43 PM
I have a neighbor of a property I care for who has three different shredder-vacs. One of them is an Agri-Fab and he said it's junk. They're "local" to us, so there's a lot of it around. He said his Cyclone Z-10 is in another league. The next neighbor to him, also, says the same. He's got an A-F and Cyclone.

I sent a message to Cyclone about mounting options on my X-ONE. Within an hour, one of the reps called me. He walked me through all the options and recommendations for my business, assigned me ref#, and sent out an info packet. They have a 12-month trial period, so there's no risk. I'll be ordering mine, this week.

For the trial period is all of the money due up front and then if you end up not liking it you can get a refund or how does that work?
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ducnut
07-26-2014, 08:49 PM
For the trial period is all of the money due up front and then if you end up not liking it you can get a refund or how does that work?

IIRC, you have to pay the freight back to them. But, yes, you pay it all upfront.