Methods and Machinery for Leaf Pickup

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by azlelawncare, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. azlelawncare

    azlelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Leaf blowers, leaf vacs, leafloaders, tarps, bagging, dumping... Where to start? Where to go? I am just getting started and am looking for the right direction the first time. I'm not that big, but will be.

    Where do you use a leaf blower and or leaf vac?

    Are they no-brainers to purchase?

    What is the time savings over tarps and raking?

    Lot's of simple questions, any experienced help to reduce my learning curve would be appreciated!!!
     
  2. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    Welcome to LawnSite! - do you have a dump insert or truck? - if so.. IMO I would get a leaf vac.

    we use a load-handler on a 2500hd. we can fit a lot of leaves in the back with the sides. we chop the leaves with the mower, then suck them up with the mower, then drive the mower to the truck and unload. very time consuming and to make it work well, you need to have someone in the truck unloading the bags. removing the leaves is a breeze with the load handler its just the getting them into the truck thats a pita. I was looking at getting a dump insert for my truck this year, maybe getting leaf vac if i can afford it. the leaf vac would make our lives a lot easier. blow all the leaves to the front of the yard and your done.

    leaf blowers are a must for clean-ups. we have a br600, i love that thing! light weight and powerful. now if your just starting out, im going to assume money is a factor in what you purchase. so going out and spending 2000 $ on a leaf loader isnt feasible. what kind of equipment do you have now?
     
  3. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    [​IMG]

    now that wasnt filled to the top, but the loadhandler took all of that out with no problem. only a small amount left behind.
     
  4. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,335

    Right now I use a Echo PB603 BP blower to clear out beds and such, then use my 42" Walker MCGHS to pick up the leaves. Dump them into rubbermaid bins, then into the truck. Works well, will probably use the same setup next year. Also use a 50" Dixon with a catcher, but it looks like it may be replaced with another Walker this season (MTGHS 48"). Also hope to have a dump insert or something before this fall. Sure make life a lot easier...
     
  5. azlelawncare

    azlelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Raven386,

    Thanks for the info. I was not familiar with the unloader until now. It is a great concept and I can see how that makes life easier. I currently have a 1/2 ton (too small) pulling a 16' trailer, a 52" Huster ZTR, 34" Gravely ZTR, 2 push mowers, three line trimmers, eder, handheld redmax blower.

    I have been wanting to get a large backpack blower and will do so.

    Sounds like the optimal operation is blow, vac and get a loader.

    Onthe vac side, is it better to suck it up with a bagger for the mower or get a lawn vac? I am not personally fond of multi-use equipment.

    Anyone out there really think they have the one right way to do it? What's the investement?
     
  6. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    no one has the perfect way. every situation and every lawn is different. and every LCO has their own way of doing it. theres no right way and theres no wrong way. whatever works for you.

    search for some posts about "lawn vacs" there has been quite a few threads.

    If i was you, I would get a load-handler put some sides on your truck and there ya go. When you have the customer base and the finances to get yourself something bigger with a dump insert or whatever. Then I would get a truck loader.

    Hopefully we will take a video of the load handler in action when we do some more clean-ups. its a huge time saver. we used to load up the truck and then have to rake out the leaves taking us 30 minutes everytime we unloaded. now all we do is go to the dump, take out the tarp and equip, drop the tailgate and unload the leaves. takes us 5 minutes. you can do clean-ups fine without having a truck loader, its not essential. it will make your life easier. but you can most certainly get by without it IMO.
     
  7. azlelawncare

    azlelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Raven,

    Thanks for the input. Sounds like a direction I may go.

    I have a 1 acre lot with quite a few leaves (not like the Northeast, but alot for North Texas trees). I told the customer I was going to bag them, but it really is more than the city is supposed to pick up.

    Also, would it be faster for me to bag or to load and haul to the dump 15 min away at $5/yrd?

    Do you use a leaf plow or blow onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the truck? I am thinking about fabricating a leaf plow for one of my Z's. What do you think?
     
  8. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    it depends on the job... last clean-up we did we blew everything into a huge pile in the backyard, then raked onto the tarp. before we had the Z we used to run the leaves over 2+ times and then bag them. so tedious with those small baggers on the w/bs. now with the ultravac and Z so much easier, holds a lot of leaves in there. (check out our pics here ... http://s250.photobucket.com/albums/gg244/10ehappygrass/ ) took a picture of the bagger completely full also some pictures of the mower in action.

    - I was looking at a leaf plow that someone had for sale here, just cant justify spending the extra money. It would help to get all the leaves into a pile to load them into the truck or use a leaf sucker. now i dont know if bagging or loading them into the truck would be faster for you. do you have someone working with you?
     
  9. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    like i said before, theres no perfect way. each job will be different, and over time you will learn what works the best for you. theres also a picture of what the loadhandler looks like on the truck..hopefully we will take a video of it next time we unload leaves.
     
  10. azlelawncare

    azlelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thanks for the photos! It sure helps. I have one guy working for me, but will have a couple more on this job.

    Is the primary moving of leaves with a blower and not rakes without the Z? Trying to figure out how to tackle the job.... Just hit it with rakes onto a tarp and bring to the truck and load up? How much better would a back pack blower be? How much better with a wheeled blower?

    Just getting started and feeling my way through it.

    Thanks.
     

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