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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by shaneth, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. shaneth

    shaneth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I am a general manager for a medium sized facility maintenance company in Michigan. We currently handle about 1/2 million dollars in lawn maintenance per season and are continuing to grow. This past season has been difficult, however. One complaint that we've had is regarding excessive grass clippings on the lawns. We use discharge chutes and mulching decks and have tried every type of blade on the market except for those discs with the 4 replaceable blades (can't remember the name). We are constantly looking for ways to improve our services for our customers, while keeping our prices competitive and relavant. One option that we're considering is bagging clippings on certain properities, most specifically large condo developments. In doing so, we're concerned with how much time will be spent disposing of these clippings and how much we will be disposing of.

    I know that many of you will have opinions on how we can provide better services, however I'd like to keep this thread specific to how much additional time bagging takes on say 1/3 or 1/4 acre lawn with a 9 cu. ft. containment system and how many times one would dump this or how full it would get. I'm not trying to come across as being prideful by not wanting general opinions on dealing with this issue, but we all have our opinions and myself and other managers travel throughout the country on business every year and see a lot of variation in the methods and types of environmental conditions in different areas of the country that would impact the way a company maintains properties. Thank you very much for your feedback on bagging, this helps a great deal.

  2. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Shaneth- Obviously if your leaving clippings then the grass is too tall to mulch, and I'll bet it leaves a big mess using a side discharge. We bag from the first mow until usually late July and start back up again in late Sept. It doesn't take us much longer to bag than it does to go over the lawn again. On a property about that size even if the grass is a little longer, maybe an extra 5-7 minutes, and thats probably dragging it out a little. Hope this helped :waving:
  3. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    What type of mowers are you using. Bagging adds quite a bit more time I have found and we quit doing it years ago. On lawns with excess clippings, we mow once, then raise the deck a 1/2 inch and go over it again. That method works for good dispersing grass and saves you a headache with bagging.
  4. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    If you guys are there every week, this has to do with your operators. It's all about skill deck height, and in Spring double cutting is inevitable. Also you might want to cut back on Nitrogen, and use more iron to cut back on somr top growth. Bagging is not neccessary
  5. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    No one said this job would be easy, LOL I'm sorry but I don't see where your saving time going over a lawn again and again. Plus if and when you miss some pyle of grass its going to stick out like a sore thumb the next day. By the sounds of it some of your customers already did. Just go the extra 1/16th of a mile and seperate yourself from a scrub and a professional. payup
  6. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    I think most of us do anything BUT catch clippings. If it was me, I'd have two crews try it both ways and see how it works out. Get your best and worst crews to do this and you'll probably have a good idea whether it's worth catching the clippings.
  7. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    I don't really have an answer to your question because we don't bag. I do have one thing to mention that a lot of people do on here, have you tried using double blades? 2 blades on each spindle? Here is a link to Eric Elm's website: http://www.elmlawnsite.com/double_blades.htm it has some good info on it about running doubles.
  8. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    The four blades on a disk you were asking about are called Meg-mos. Check out their thread at the top of the thread list page. It's a sticky thread called advanced chute systems. They can answer any of your questions related to their product.
  9. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,309

    I use Walkers with the large hopper. On the lawns you described we can dump every other lawn with normal growth. In spring when the grass really gets growing 1 per lawn. If you have the right set up bagging doesn't take that much more time. We have a Chevy dump body and a trailer with a ramp on both ends. When the hopper gets full we just back onto the trailer and right into the dump body, takes very little time. We fill the truck every other day and dump at the recycling facility that is a mile from the shop.
  10. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    Since we switched to Meg-Mo's, it has virtually eliminated all of our double cutting. Nobagger, I was simply stating my experience with bagging. You may have a different approach. Most of the lawns we did double cut were only 8000-12000 square foot, so it did not take a lot more time to double cut.

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