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Gator Blades

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by RAlmaroad, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    I'm trying to find a better way of cutting LIVE OAK leaves which resemble dried holly bush leaves in the spring when they drop. Until now just been vacuuming them with the Snapper Hi-Vac and putting them into the landfill. I'm thinking that mulching them with a smaller machine and returning them to the ground would be more beneficial. The problem is that these leaves drop in the spring not fall just before greenup on coastal property. This is my own lawn--I do not mow for clients. They've got to be cleaned up before the lawn greens. I'm thinking that since the lawns are very alkaline (pH around 7.0)the decaying or mulch might be more helpful than putting it in landfill. I've read that Gator or Ninja blades cut the leaves very fine, but these are not normal leaves; they're hard and small. Anyone with any advise, please give me a note. Thanks
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776


    Oak leaves are one of the only trees not recommended for mulching back into the soil.

    Small doses are OK, but too many will change the soil PH.
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    That is exactly the point. Since pH is so high due to millions of years of shells (Calcium Deposits) inside the soil; pH generally is 7.0 and higher. We keep it in check by using ammonium sulfate as our N and occasional applications of sulfur, a little boost of leaf mulch would not hurt. It's the mulching using Gator blades that I was wondering about. Do they cut these small hard leaves enough to become mulch. During the summer we use regular very sharp blades and bag because of so much fungus. These leaves are the reverse of normal fall clean up in the north. There's one type that are falling now providing a chance for experimenting.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    I've never liked the gator blades personally. They do OK with leaves, but it's the waded grass that always ticked me off.

    If you did anything to help, an OCDC (discharge blocker) would probably be better to keep the leaves in the deck longer to chop them. That coupled with an almost completely flat blade (no lift to hold the leaves in the deck) would work.

    I use a dixie with x blades, and get great results chopping leaves. In the past I've done the flat blade with good results, and also a single set of blades with the the chain flail adapter (cap with three or four links of chain that slides over the spindle before the blade).

    Even with gator blades, I still think the OCDC is the main key to chopping up leaves. The longer you can keep them under the deck the better chopping you get.
  5. 5starlandscaping

    5starlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Just making sure your blades are really sharp and regular flat blades should mulch good enough. Mow the yard in different directions to evenly spread the clippings. Maybe bag one week and discharge the next. I would think the gator blades would not bag well so you would have to switch baldes when you wanted to bag. With flat blades you could have the option the bag and mulch, Like white garden said you could get a plate to block the discharge and they would mulch a lot better. You could take the mulch plate off easy too with wing nuts.
    I see you have posted a lot in the pesticide section. I also spray lawns. Its lot more exciting but you have to deal with a lot more complaints and problems. With mowing you cut the lawn, trim the shrubs, and spray weeds in the beds and most all customers are happy. With spraying if a lawn get a few weeds, or some fungus customers are blowing your phone up wondering why they are paying you so much.

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