another question on removing leaves?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowisme, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. mowisme

    mowisme LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 898

    First..I don't have a big loader with vac- I do have (A) a Parker WB vac, but no longer self propell. (B) have a back-pack blower (C) 1-ton truck with a reg box (not flat-bed) and have tarp's of course. How would you do the leaves if they need to be loaded into truck and taken to recycle? (1) blow into piles then bag into large black plastic bags then load bags into back of truck? (2) use the Parker lawn vac..then dump the leaves loose from the parker bag into back of truck, then cover? If I blow or rake onto tarp..won,t get up onto truck. I also use 6.5x12 trailer but is loaded with equipment. Thanks- Geno
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    For you, a tarp would be the most efficient way, but you have to know not to overload the tarp. Work smart not hard. Let me ask this.....What are you cutting with? In most cases, a mower will move leaves much faster than a bp blower will. Now, here are a few time and work saving tips that I learned on my own , but don't let anyone else on here see them, ok? First, if mother nature (wind) allows, always work the stuff TOWARD the direction that it has to go. For instance, if your truck is out at the road, and you are going to be loading the stuff into the truck, then move it the stuff toward the truck. Now, this doesn't mean that you're going to be blowing or mowing the stuff all the way to the truck (More on this in a bit). First, do NOT waste time putting stuff into piles. This is an utter waste of time and energy.
    Ok,...there comes a line where pushing the build up of material, whether by blower, mower, or whatever, where the speed of plowing the material is outweighed by the speed of removal by tarping and dragging. In other words, once the row gets too heavy, STOP and go on to another row, or tarp it and drag (we use machines to pull) them out to the road or truck. If you are loading on a truck, load at this time, do NOT dump - just to have to re-tarp to lift in the truck. Now, when you rake this stuff up onto the tarp(s) to begin with, just lay the tarp next to the row, What you would want to do in this case, is row the leaves up in long rows (they don't have to be super neat and tight). Then, take a tarp and pull it along the length of the row. You push the stuff up onto the tarp with the rakes (or legs and feet if it's REAL deep and heavy - whatever works faster for the time). When you get that section raked up onto the tarp, you just pull the tarp down to the next section. Actually, pull it a little FARTHER than just "squaring it up" with the edge to the end of the row. Now, when you are doing this, DON'T FUSS with every last little leaf that happens to go under the edge of the tarp. After you pull the tarp down and away from that section, you will quickly backtrack and rake the little debris that was left behind up with no interference. Now, when you lay the tarp down next to the pile or row, leave about 6" or so gap, and STEP ON the edges of the tarp - pulling it tight to flick the leaves onto it. After this gets to be routine, you and your partner will be able to move right along with it and be very productive. You will get good so there isn't a whole lot of unnecessary moves. When the tarp starts getting a bit heavy, you drag it to the truck - trailer - field - or wherever you're going to dump it. If your lifting onto the truck, you twist your corners to your end up a bit and choke up on it, lift and swing the tarp (on two). This gets inertia up and saves alot of work. DO NOT stand there and "Ok, on three." That is too much wasted time. One swing saying "ok, ready?" "and DO IT" is on your two ( second swing). ....quick and easy.
    Another thing, when you are picking stuff up, always start from the FARTHEST point and work toward the direction that you are going to dump it. Why? Because there is no sense in picking up weight, then dragging AWAY from where you're going to dump it, just to drag it back again. I hope this helps, and this is the kind of thing that you just "learn" over doing it for years. It took me a LONG time of making "piles" before I realized how much time and energy I was wasting shifting stuff back and forth in directions that weren't productive. Skip that step and just rake from the row.
  3. mowisme

    mowisme LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 898

    Do I just mow one direction then? so the discharge is heading towards say the road? If so I just pull back for every trip across? On this yard I have in mind..I just walk it with a 21" LB. One other is a huge lot with ton of leaves behind building for about 15' wide by 125' long. then ofcourse a hill to drag the tarp up to get to the road. thanks Geno
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,924

    Runner's advice is spot on, ... I do not have a loader, so work "small time," with blower, tarps, and rakes. I use much of the same approach with blowers, tarps, and loading. I hauled out about 25 tarps this morning, from a large backyard. All leaves had to go through a 37" gate. I started at the furtherest point, pulling them away from the fence, then using my 8hp wheeled blower to start to move them toward the gate (even though the first ones were 150 feet away). I ALWAYS try to move them in the direction of the final destination, never sideways, and certainly never in reverse.

    In the case today, the leaves were large maple leaves, and were wet. The "roll" from the blower didn't get very big before a point of diminishing return. Out come the tarps, always using two or four 8X10s. Lay them side by side along the roll. These leaves were too heavy to rake, so I used a 4-tined pitchfork to get them on the tarp. No, the result was scattered leaves remaining, but "they will blow" when I refired the blower.

    The beds were cleared out as I worked my way to the gate. I never want to clear an area, only to return later and rake/blow leaves back out to that area. In other words, never make double work to clear an area. Do it one time only!

    The key is getting enough on the tarp to make the trip worthwhile, yet not too much weight so that I can still swing it up over the shoulder for a "santa" style carry. I didn't drag the tarps because to too many dog piles in the yard -- fearing I would drag my tarps through a few piles!

    I have a 5X10 trailer, with 12" wheels. This means the bed is only about 14" off the ground, and the top of the sides are about 48" off the ground. This sounds a bit small, but has great advantages. In this case, I was able to back the trailer up to the gate. Using a 3/4" piece of plywood, 36X36, I had a ramp from inside the gate to the trailer bed outside the gate. The slope was very small, making walking easy when carrying the loaded tarps. Also, as I got the rolls close to the gate (within 30 feet), I was able to use a 12-tined silage fork to push the leaves along the ground, across the plywood ramp, right into the trailer. I saved about 10 tarps by forking directly into the trailer. No, this is not easy work, but heavy leaves are never easy work!

    Having the wet/damp leaves, they packed very tightly into the trailer. The disadvantage of wet/damp leaves is they are heavy, but the advantage is they pack quickly and easily into the trailer. I really struggled to fork them out when I got to the dump.

    BTW, the 48" high sides on the trailer allow me to load "over the side" in some situations. For example, one property is about 15K sq ft to clear, but along a curved street. The leaves can be blown to the street, where I make a rough pile. Pulling the trailer next to the pile at the curb, I can load the pile over the side, rather than tarp, and load from the rear. I simple use two steel-tined rakes, one under each arm. Using them, I can make a "claw" taking full loads, placing them directly into the trailer. I say "place" because throwing them causes them to fluff out, making the packing more difficult. If the leaves are a bit wet or damp, them replace one rake with a pitchfork works well too. A large pile of leaves can be loaded in only a few minutes. It is much quicker than putting them on tarps, and hauling them into the back of the trailer.

    My point with the trailer descriptions is to show it is much easier to load than a flatbed truck, or a dump truck. I see people struggling with ladders to get themselves and their tarps into the back of a dump truck. Wow, ... that looks like real work!

    I have much to say about moving leaves with the mower, but will spare those comments here. It certainly has its place, and can be effective. Or, it can be effective in shredding them as one moves along, but that depends upon the blades, spacing in the passes, etc. I did one of those techniques later today too ... another busy leaf day here.

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