View Full Version : Bagging lawn clippings in plastic bags

12-14-2002, 03:18 PM
I'm a solo operator, working all residential properties. Some owners require bagging the clippings. Usually I need to haul away the clippings, take them to the dump (and pay for dumping). This is time consuming. However, a few will allow me to put their clippings in plastic bags, leaving them at the curb for their regular trash pickup.

I've not found an efficient way to put clippings in plastic bags. I use a 33 gal trash barrel, line it with a 0.08" liner, secure the top with a bungee cord around the top of the barrel. I put about 25 gallons of clippings in the barrel/liner, pack tight with my foot, then tie off the top with a wire twist tie, turn the barrel upside down, shake out the filled plastic bag. I put a new plastic liner in the barrel and repeat the process. I have learned that making two "setups" achieves some overall time savings.

There must be a quicker way to do this. To be sure, the extra time it takes is far quicker than putting the clippings into barrels, hauling away, then later hauling the clippings to the dump. However, I feel others may have a better way.

Some thoughts:
(1) Different bag holder; I've seen a bag holder made of 3/8" (?) rod that folds.
(2) Use a 39 gallon plastic liner; gives generous unfilled top allowing the top to be tied off in a knot, forget about the twisties.

Other ideas? Thanks,


12-14-2002, 04:13 PM
the only time i bag is during leaf season, are u charging extra to bag? did u emphasize to them the disadvantages of bagging? if u insist on bagging can u dump into the back of your truck?

12-14-2002, 04:30 PM

The one I bag is 8,000 sq ft. and I dump my metal grass gobblers in back of truck on tarp. I then make a weekly dump run with other stuff like shrub trimmings. If not too much I use dumpster at my mini storage.

Bagging as in plastic or the paper one. NO!


12-15-2002, 01:14 AM
Here is what I have done. First, I drilled 1/4 inch holes all around a 44 gal plastic trash can. I use 55 gal drum liners 2 Mil thick "Do It Best" brand. I fill the can then pull up the liner and it is only about half full. I continue to fill the bag then twist the top and wrap with duct tape. I lay the can on side and roll pulling the bag out of the can. Without the drilled holes in the can the suction would hold the bags in the can and you cannot pull it out. I take the bags back to my home and keep them until I get about 25 to 30 bags 40 to 50 lbs each then take to the dump in trailer. At the landfill I have to cut each bag open and empty because plastic bags cannot be put in the same area. I only bag in the spring when I am scalping yards and first time cut has lots of weeds and seeds and customer has no place to dump on property. I charge about $15 extra when I bag in this manner. I too would welcome an easier way to do this. It is very time consuming.

12-15-2002, 01:33 AM
Put that grass back where it belongs! I usually side discharge or mulch, even though some customers require me to bag the clippings. It almost looks the same exact way as if it were bagged, and it is helping the lawn by putting nutrients back into the soil.

Mueller Landscape Inc
12-15-2002, 12:18 PM
When we first started we would haul everything away. But now that dump charges are so expensive we always leave the debris either in the customer's cans or in bags. Most of the communities that we serve have special cans for recycling yard waste. Also, we have been experimenting with mulching the grass. Mulching is not the norm in southern California, but so far, the customers have not been concerned as the finished product looks like it was bagged. I believe that is because we are mulching with Exmark's mulching system which is truly awesome. However, we have not found a 21" mower that works well as a mulcher, so those yards that must be cut with the 21" mowers are always bagged. As a side not, I have noticed that the properties that are being mulched are staying green all season without fertilizer. These are customers that are not paying for fertilizer. I know that putting nitrogen back into the soil by mulching, but I must admit that I was skeptical at first until I saw the results first hand.

By the way, our profit margins have increased considerably on those properties that are being mulched and we have not had to have any price increases as a result.

12-15-2002, 04:49 PM
When I made my post, I should have been clearer. I did not want to rehearse the same old topic, to bag, or not to bag. Let me assure you, I hate bagging as much as all the rest, and resist requests. However, in the residential neighborhoods I work, most properties have part or all clippings bagged. Most homeowners that do their own mowing bag clippings, so expect a contractor to do likewise. I've converted some to mulching mode. I only have one that is all bagged, then only in heavy growth times. The others are bagged in the front, around the house only. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments regarding the nutritional value of the clippings, but the homeowners aren't easy to convince. If I refuse thier request, they will just move on, finding another who will honor their request.

My interest here was to hear if anybody else has the same issue. Sure, if $$$ were no object, I would have different equipment and just dump into a dump body, take to the dump and pull the lever. Being a small operator, I must work with what resources I have.

Thanks for the inputs here, and e-mail that I've received privately on the subject. Any other input would be appreciated.

Mueller Landscape Inc
12-15-2002, 04:56 PM

Can you get large burlap tarps. We used to use burlap to haul everything to the dump. They do get heavy because of the added weight but that might be a option.

Sorry to have gone off topic in the last post.

12-15-2002, 06:15 PM
The earlier post about the can with holes in it is the best that I've used. I too have clients that insist on bagging, but I insist that they are responsible for disposal. I have had none turn me down on that respect. If your clients insist that you bag and dump then you must insist they pay you for that service. I charge disposal, labor and equipment (truck, trailer) when I have to dump. Otherwise you work for free.

12-15-2002, 07:57 PM
Drop the customers there obvesly not worth the time! :angry:

12-15-2002, 10:47 PM
If you must bag, you need to get what is called a Lawn Funnel. Its looks like a green barrel with the bottom cut out. It fits inside of the bag, it holds the bag up and open. When the bag is full, just pull out the funnel and tie up the bag. It is a real time saver.

12-15-2002, 11:05 PM
Interesting Greenman. I had never heard of that.
So I did a search and I believe I found what you are talking about.
Does it look like this?


I'm not sure I understand though. From the description, it says it works with paper bags. Would this also work for plastic? :confused:

We don't have a need for a funnel, just wondering.

12-15-2002, 11:15 PM
You beat me to the picture! I was in the process of posting that same pic just when you did,lol!

Yep, that is it, but I have never used paper bags. I use 39 gal. trash bags or bigger. I mainly use mine to put trash in. I always keep it (with a bag in it) in the corner of my trailer, to throw trash in. It is great for putting shrub clippings, too. I see guys with barrels. Those barrels have to be picked up and dumped. The Lawn Funnel eliminates that. It is one of the handiest tools I use.

12-15-2002, 11:16 PM
My small mowers can have the bagger on while I'm mulching. So basically the bag comes along for the ride when I mulch. Works for me

12-15-2002, 11:17 PM
Wow - I used to bag until I realized the importance to the health of the lawn to leave the clippings there, but when I did bag, I used the JD power flow bagger, and just put the plastic 33 gal bags right in the two recepticals of the bagger itself. When they were full, just pulled the tye wraps up, tied them, lifted them out and placed on the curb. j

Thanks, Brad