View Full Version : Need help deciding on my leave clean up method.

08-16-2004, 01:54 AM
Ok heres my situation:
I have to bag (paper bags 30gal) my leaves in order for the townships to pick the leaves up.

Now last year I mulched till it was to many leaves to do so. I used doubles mulched really good but had alot of blowout so the props needed to be cleaned by a blower anyways.
Ok so when there was a large amount of leaves we blew them into piles i ran the mower around the pile a few times side discharging chopping the leaves up reducing the size of the piles and making easier to pack the paper bags.
I found useing the mower bag it filled to fast and I'd have to empty every 10seconds.
SO my questions is. Should I buy a trac-vac setup just blow the leaves out of the beds and then run them over with the mower setup, then dump on driveway and shovel into the paper bags.

Or would it be a better idea to just blow the leaves into a pile and invest into a leaf loader. ( my reason against this... I have a S-10 pretty small truck if I make a box on it how many props can i do before empting.
Maybe I should get a killer dump trailer and make a box on the( but then again the truck limits me)
ok i'm going to leave it at that but all I want to say is no more packing those stupid paper bags completely by hand!

08-16-2004, 10:27 AM
Mulch everything with doubles, low lift on bottom, gator on top. Put skirting on the front of the deck to avoid blowout.

08-16-2004, 11:02 AM
Your S-10 should pull a dump trailer ok with the 4.3 liter. I'm not familiar with that truck but it would work if your not building a huge box and filling it real full of leaves. I know a guy pulls a 12' tandem axle dump trailer behind a Dakota extended cab. I think it is a V6 magnum. Check your towing capacity of the truck (owners manual or on the sticker on the doorjamb). Or for the price of a dump trailer, buy an older used one ton dump truck. In our newspaper there's a '85 Ford F350 diesel with a flatbed dump on it for $2500! It says "dump truck" in the title but in the description it says "flatbed" so it may not be a dumping bed, but still, get a dump hoist kit for $1500 and for $4000 you'd have a good hard working truck. I've seen trucks with a dump on them for under $4,000. Just older work trucks. But, a trailer might be better for you. Now, where will you be dumping these leaves at?

08-16-2004, 12:19 PM
My opinion... $cre\/\/ the paper bags!!! Even if you can't get a dump trailer, or trac vac to load the leaves, you'll be better off loading them onto a regular landscaping trailer with high sides and unloading with a pitch-fork. Time is money and loading into bags takes way too much time.

08-16-2004, 12:27 PM
Yep, if nothing else, just put some sides on your S-10 and load the leaves into your truck. Find a dumping pile and empty out there.

Sometimes the township / city will let you dump in their pile IF you're a resident. Most of the times not, unless you have a person that lives at that location (here in MN anyways).

If you have to find your own dumping site, then there will be fees that you will have to pay, most likely passed onto the customer.

Personally, I have 17 acres of land and have made my own compost pile over the years. If you have to pay fees, I can't believe it would be any more than $50 for your S-10. However, how far you have to go to find a dump site, that's another story.

Might be better off getting something like a "portable toilet" or something with a hole in it and rig up some way to hold the bag in place under it, so you don't have to be so exact with throwing the leaves into the bag.

08-16-2004, 01:00 PM
I've seen guys build leaf boxes on small pickups, it can work. Assuming you have a trailer, mount the vacuum on the trailer (either on the tongue, or at the front of the trailer), with the discharge chute into the bed of the truck. Although a large loader is preferable, depending on your situation an 8hp loader may work fine, and usually is light enough to move by hand. Also, the smaller loaders many times come with a frame designed for "tailgate mounting", which makes it easy figure out a mounting system.

Or, do it the other way around. Build a box on your trailer, haul equipment in the back of the truck.

You're still going to want to mulch the leaves first, so you can get more in the box.

With a change in the way you collect leaves, make sure you are charging correctly. If it is faster (probably), DON'T lower your price. Your investment in equipment and time has to be recovered.

08-16-2004, 01:23 PM
I would just bag'em and leave them for the owner to get rid of. Just my two cents. Good luck.

08-16-2004, 02:27 PM
I never had to use the paper bag method myself. Either I was able to blow them into the woods along the property or I put them into plastic garbage bags and left them for the town to collect. Sometimes I'd bring a dozen home for the compost pile or to dump in an area I'm filling in. If you've got a place where you can dump them, I'd try using tarps. Get 6 8' x 10' tarps and pile the leaves on them. Tie them up and load on the truck or trailer and take to where you can dump them. If each tarp isn't too heavy, it shouldn't be hard to lift then into the truck and then lift them off when you unload. Untie each tarp and shake them out. You could also try the mulching method first and then using the catcher to pick them up. I used a Grass gobbler(large size) with the leaf extender. Then take the loaded catcher over to the truck and dump it into the bed where you've layed a tarp. When you unload, just grab the tarp and tug it out of the truck. Might have to tie it off to something and drive the truck foward if the tarp is too heavy though. Last year I got a Lazer with the 2 bag Ultra-Vac. I mulch the leaves with dbbl. gators on my W/B, then run the Lazer over it to pick it all up. This works for me. I've heard good things about the Trac-Vac and almost bought one, but decided on the Lazer instead. Good luck.

Liberty Lawncare
08-16-2004, 02:41 PM
Originally posted by Remsen1
My opinion... $cre\/\/ the paper bags!!! Even if you can't get a dump trailer, or trac vac to load the leaves, you'll be better off loading them onto a regular landscaping trailer with high sides and unloading with a pitch-fork. Time is money and loading into bags takes way too much time.
Loose the paper bags. If you can get a 1 ton truck or a 3/4 ton put sides on it and unload with soil rakes and pitchfork untill you can afford a dump truck or kit.
I use a 3/4 ton truck with a leaf loader. I still hand unload but the truck can hold a lot of leaves.

08-16-2004, 06:15 PM
The bags is how the township picks up the leaves. So if I can leave the leaves at the customers house i have to bag it...

The dump I can goto is around 15 min drive with all the stupid lights and traffic...
My s-10 is rated at 6000lbs but the towhitch is only at 5000, so I don't think i could tow much of a payload in a dump trailer,

BUying a new dump truck maybe be an ok idea but that would also add 1grand in insurance for the year....
THats why i'm having such a problem deciding what to do.

Really I need to get a heavy duty work truck but the income will not support such an investment,

08-16-2004, 06:33 PM
Get a Cyclone Rake and the bagger unit for it you put the paper bags right in the bagger.


08-16-2004, 06:46 PM
try the meg mo mlades. Maybe 10 to 25 gal. per yard.

08-16-2004, 07:56 PM
I bought a 6x10 dump trailer. Twin axle 3,500 lb each. IF you have a 5,000 lb HITCH, you should be fine. Only 500 or less pounds goes to the hitch anyway. Most of load is carried by the twin axles. With a full load, it might be like the tail wagging the dog. WISH it was ONLY a 15 minute trip to the dump for me. More like 30 minutes each way MINIMUM. Depending on how far west in town I work, could be an hour each way. Just make sure you charge enough to pay for the dump & travel time!

Last year I used the tarp method. Blow them on to a tarp. We have a REALLY BIG ONE. Probably 10 x 20 at least. Drag full tarp to trailer. Put one side up in trailer (one man in trailer) hand far side of tarp up (second man get in trailer) and pull load of leaves up and into trailer. Tarp is now on top and leaves are in trailer. Pull tarp off & smash down leaves. I can get about 7 cubic yards in my 10x6 trailer (I built 18" high wood sides on it). I also added a roll out tarp cover to the trailer, so that when it is time to haul to the dump, I just unfurl it and the load is covered. That way I don't blow leaves out the back of the trailer all the way to the dump!


08-16-2004, 07:59 PM
I tried double gators, but had too much blow-out. I bought a set of SAND BLADES. THey are totally flat - no lift. They are sharp on all 4 edges. I double the sand blades with gators. Gave me an extra cutting edge and reduced the blow out. Also, when the leading edge gets dull, you can just turn them over and have the other edge all sharp & ready to go!


Turf Medic
08-16-2004, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by GrassBustersLawn
I bought a 6x10 dump trailer. Twin axle 3,500 lb each. IF you have a 5,000 lb HITCH, you should be fine. Only 500 or less pounds goes to the hitch anyway. Most of load is carried by the twin axles. With a full load, it might be like the tail wagging the dog.

What they mean by 5000 lb hitch is the total weight of the trailer and payload, not the weight the trailer puts on the hitch.

08-16-2004, 08:39 PM
If your on the north side ,pm me. my yard is on the north side of Edison and we might be able to work something out as far as disposal goes.

08-17-2004, 02:24 AM
Block the discharge either with a plate or full bag and grind the leaves into little ity bitty bits. Then make one last clean up pass over the yard bagging the leaves. Then ypu cn dump them into the paper bags or your truck.

Stripe This
08-18-2004, 12:03 AM
If I had to do leaves like that, I would shoot myself and leave the business immediately.

If you're serious about the business, treat it as such and make the proper commitment and purchases. Bags are for homeowners.

08-19-2004, 08:52 PM
So what do u suggest stripe??

08-19-2004, 09:06 PM
id just say you have ti raise your price ! THATS ALWAYS NICE ,,,,, GOOD LUCK!

Green Care
08-19-2004, 09:16 PM
Build a box along with a loader should take care of your problem.

10-21-2005, 12:31 AM
dont spend your money on a dump trailor to be pulled by an s10,no power and it wont stop for beens with a load on it...buy a used dump truck and put a colection system on it.

10-21-2005, 12:53 AM
I agree with Stripe,the day I have to start bagging and hauling leaves will be the end of the lawn biz for me. I mulch them into fine dust or if the owner wants them bagged they MUST have a on site dump or curb pickup. I aint hauling no dam leaves to the dump every day. However, your area may be much different from mine and can afford to pay you to do it the way you are doing it. Before you go and buy a dump truck or leaf loader make sure, and I emphasize this, that you can make enough to make it profitable and pay off your equipment. Big mistake I made and dont want to see anyone else make it. Make sure you have the acounts to cover the equipment!

10-21-2005, 12:59 AM
Mulch, mulch, mulch. I'll chase a leaf all over the yard before I'll bag another. I have yet to see a yard that I couldn't get rid of the leaves by mulching. My equip is lazer 48 inch with mulching kit. I use regular "flat" blades and still can get rid of the leaves. I plan to get some mulching blades for this fall, but they can't be much better. Get you some good dust masks and go to it.