For those that bag: How do you handle the debris?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FrankenScagMachines, May 14, 2006.

  1. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Please post pics of your rigs or good details!

    I'm seriously thinking of next year offering a premium service for higher end lawns or customers that will get the lawn bagged every time for a higher price of course. I will just dedicate a couple days a week to this premium service and run the regular route the rest of the time. I have an UltraVac QDS for my Lazer which is awesome on leaves but for grass it just dumps straight on the ground. I am probably going to be getting a dumping flatbed for one of my trucks this summer and was thinking of just building a ramp on the front of the trailer or back of truck that just folds out quick and back the mower right into the truck to dump. Wouldn't be too bad. I've also seen setups that have a large hopper (I think franniedog had one on a cabover with landscape bed) with another small hopper you dump into and it went up a candy-cane pole and dumped into the big hopper, which dumped using a conveyor belt. Kinda neat but a little complicated.

    I know a lot of guys are using bagging type collection systems and dump into the truck (i've done that before) but I hate stoppin the mower, getting off and handling large heavy bags and its messy you can't keep clean the grass is the stinkiest part of this business (other than dog turds yuck). I'm not a wussy I just don't like bad smells.

    So for those that do a ton of bagging lets see your setups. Thought about just getting a loadhandler for my pickup and making a ramp and using that setup but i'm probably going to do a dumping flatbed anyway.

    Thanks
    Eric
     
  2. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    I have a F350 with an Omaha landscaper hydraulic dump body. Side access door, drop down rear tailgate with barn door style swing out upper rear doors.
    We bag just about every lawn all the time. This set up works great for us.
     
  3. qualitylawnmanagement

    qualitylawnmanagement LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    Hey Eric, why didn't you get the 3 bag system? Would of been much easier just pick the bag and dump. Also how did you like your ferris you had? Did it bag tall lush grass good? I was over at my simplicity dealer and I saw the cobalt, same as ferris's 2000. I havn't mowed in almost a week and the grass is tall cause of so much rain we had. I don't like to mow when it's wet cause of more chance of rutting in the yard, so I need a good bagging Z mower. Also how do you like your exmark? How does it do bagging tall grass, and leaves? What are the pro and cons between your ferris you had and the lazer you have now?
     
  4. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    dkeisela, thanks for the reply. So you just dump the leaves from a bag off of the mower right into the truck? Do you have to climb a ladder or how do you get that high? Or do you have a Walker with a high lift kit?

    Michael,
    The primary use I usually have for a collection system is for leaves, in which case the collector fills up real fast and you dump at either the curb for city pickup, or in a pile to suck into dump truck (back when I still had my dump truck and leaf vac) I had the 3-bag bagger on the Ferris (IS1000Z 52" 23hp Kawasaki). The UltraVac is so much of a better design its amazing. It NEVER clogs EVER unless you overfill it. This is largely due to two reasons:
    1. The blower is a whole 'nother design... On the Ferris, it uses a vertical paddle wheel to grab and paddle the debris upward. This doesn't disperse clumps, just grabs them and throws them up through the tube. The Exmark UltraVac blower "fans" the air, it doesn't even touch the clippings as far as I can tell. This frees up horsepower, and when a clump comes through, the air helps to disperse it just a tiny bit instead of pushing it all together in one glob. The airflow is more even and consistent with this system.
    2. Just inside the hopper/upper bag hood area, there is an elbow to direct the clippings to the other side of the machine. On the Ferris the elbow is too tight and often would get clogged right there. On The UltraVac, its more open and gradual and I've never had it clog there.

    The ONLY time I've ever had the U-V clog is by overfilling it. It just won't clog any other way... The Ferris did fine you just had to go slower in thicker stuff (leaves or grass) to prevent clumping. In leaves, going over it all once discharging then again to bag prevented clogging but cost more time (also saved time dumping) I liked the bags for leaves (except having to get off and dump them) because you can dump them on top of the truck. I hated the bags for leaves, constantly getting off to dump. For leaves I LOVE the U-V, did i mention its AWESOME! dump and go don't gotta shut it all down and get off, take time to dump, it will run circles around anything with bags... And, due to the blower and elbow design you can run it alot faster even in heavier conditions. In leaves you can go a good speed with it without clogging. Oh and my friend has a Scag Turf Tiger 61" 27hp liquid cooled with the Clamshell Scag collector system he uses on leaves, it has a similar blower to the Ferris, and it will clog easier like the Ferris, and it sticks up too tall catches alot of trees (but its narrower than mine) he has had a couple tiny issues with the lever and latching mechanism... we've used each others machines during leaf cleanup operations where we combine forces so this isn't just an observation from afar, its a bonafide opinion and fact from experience.

    Haven't really done much grass bagging with the U-V. The whole U-V system is much lighter weight than the Ferris Fast-Vac as well. The hopper unit weighs just a little less than the bag hood assembly on the Ferris. The blower unit weighs at least 20# less if not more (the Ferris one was ungodly heavy) Today I mowed our hilly 2 acres with the U-V and dumped the clippings in our garden. I've been trying to mow twice a week here just so it stays nice, even though its been so wet, so it wasn't super tall but I ran it probably 7-8 mph on the flat areas, maybe 6 on hills... the extra weight slows you down just a tiny bit as with any machine especially on the hills. But the U-V is very effecient and doesn't rob much power from the machine compared to any other system i've seen and used. Anyway its been raining for the last few days here off and on, so the yard was definately wet and the grass was soaked. Didn't clog once, did a real nice job, the U-V packs both grass and leaves very nicely and evenly. The QDS is awesome, just the fastest easiest collection system ever made period. I could go on and on about that thing. But with the U-V on, it is heavy and on a wet lawn you can tell a difference. However the machine does ride nicer with the extra weight on it (noticed that with the Ferris too) softens the ride cushions the bumps with the extra weight on the tires haha... and the extra traction is nice.

    Just wish there was an easy way to get it into the truck and out of the truck. Here's a pic of a setup I found on the Lawnsite picture forum from a while back, I probably will do something similar to this setup..

    dump bed truck 003.jpg
     
  5. qualitylawnmanagement

    qualitylawnmanagement LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    Thanks Eric for the information. I have a trac-vac on my chopper, and does OK in grass, but once leaves come it worth less. It leaves a little strip of what ever I am bagging right between the chute and the mower deck. And for some reason this only happens on Dixie choppers so far of what I have heard. Once again thank you!
     
  6. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Not a problem, glad to help! I'd really like to have the bag setup for the UltraVac, but also keep the QDS dumper hopper, so you could use the same blower and weights but swap out the catcher parts, in summer use bags for grass, in fall use QDS for bulk leaves! Ok tomorrow i'm callin the dealer to price the bags and bag hood peice... probably a lot of moolah...
     
  7. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    We use barrels - dump the grass into the barrel then into the truck, up over the side or through the side access door. Sometimes we just climb up on the rear tire but I just noticed an auto parts store here has a step that you slide over the rear tire of a truck and allows you to climb up there. I've also thought of having a ladder welded or bolted onto the frame of the dump box.

    Yes, it's kind of a drag having to dump into barrels and then into the truck but for us, it's just habit and another part of the days work. Some outfits around here use canvas tarps, especially on bigger properties. They space them out and dump the grass right onto them then the truck drives around after everything is said and done and picks them up and tosses them into the truck.
     
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Thanks for the info. Sounds like my old method 2 years ago (bagged one day a week or as often as needed)... when I had my Ferris with triple bagger...

    I had a 89 F350 with 7x12' flatbed, 18" sides (removable, 2 sections on each side), would just throw the clippings up on there usually could dump without climbing into the truck. If we weren't doing a whole lot of yards that day, I had a old slide in/screw in plastic truck bedliner I would set in the back of the flatbed and dump into that. At end of day, unhook trailer and hook a strap to the bedliner full of clippings and pull it off with the ZTR, once it gets to the back of the bed it will just tip over and dump itself. You may have to pull it over the top of the pile to get it all out but its a peice of cake and wayyy easier than pitchfork (hated that bout killed my allergies and asthma to deal with all that stinky moldy crap)... That was about the best setup for the money that I could see having, or now with my QDS I would have built a ramp like I pictured above and dumped into the truck, except now I don't have a flatbed truck and my pickup bed isn't wide enough to do this really :( Just got off the phone with my dealer's parts department they're going to find the parts i'd need to make a UltraVac triple bagger using my QDS blower and tube and call me back. probably going to be outrageous i just want a price lol....
     
  9. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    i know several compainies around here use big craftsman tow-behind sweepers on their mowers and ZTR's to collect the debris.
     

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