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thoughts on biweekly mulching in the fall

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by zackvbra, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. zackvbra

    zackvbra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 554

    last year I bagged, which was pretty good, but I was not making enough money as I hoped, because when I asked my customers if they needed it, they would say no, and only get me to do it only twice or three times. and it was a PITA only because I would have to haul all the leaves with a tarp on my open trailer, and sometimes it would get so full me and two guys couldn't pull it off, and sometimes I would have to get the spare mower at the house and tie a strap to the tarp and pull it off with the mower, sometimes I would rip the tarp and have to shovel and blow the leaves out. and I would always have to leave my mower at the customers house while I went off and dumped the leaves. it was a huge pain!!

    well, this year im thinking maybe ill just get a mulch kit and get my customers signed up for biweekly mulching in the fall and winter, for only a little bit more than what they would pay for a lawn cut. and just tell the people that call for a leaf removal that they must be sign up for regular service in order to get a leaf removal, and that should weed out most of the really bad ones. this should ensure me some regular income that I didn't have last year, because the way I did it was on a as needed basis, and that was a mistake.

    is this a good idea? would this leave too much work on the table?
  2. trock

    trock LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 430

    So your just going chop up the leaves and leave them on the lawn that will look bad, very unprofessional. What will you do to the leaves in beds?
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    It depends on what kind of leaves you have... around here we could easily get away with mulch mowing maple, poplar, cherry and willow leaves because the yards will never be clean for more than a few hours until next Spring...
    They digest quickly and do excellent work for the soil and the turf... Michigan University has a study published that they conducted on their grasses and mulched in Maple leaves 6" thick down to where the grass was not being suffocated and by the following Spring they were gone and the grass was doing excellently...

    Being "Professional" means being wiser than the H.O., more efficient and cost effective... Hauling away leaves is not more "professional" than mulching them in... I haul away pine needles and oak leaves, because they ONLY kill grass before they break down into plant food... But the others can be mulched quite well,,, especially if it is done weekly as part of natural mowing routine so as not to build up too much... :)
  4. clydebusa

    clydebusa LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,660

    Here in Tulsa we can mostly get away with blowing leaves out of the beds. Mulch and wind roll the leaves and pick up the choped up leaves. There are exceptions when too many trees for the small lot. Years ago you could offer this at a little more cost. But that changed and it is mostly done with the cost of a normal cutting.
  5. SteveOGrady

    SteveOGrady LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Bi weekly......so you are coming 2 times a week? -or- Bi monthly meaning (2) times a month. That's my favorite mistake. I forced a city once to throw out lower bids and hire me because the bid specs said bi-weekly and thats what I bid. I was the only one that noticed it. All the other bids had to be trashed except mine for not following the specs. I spent the winter having my crews mow nothing twice a week. I love govt work!
  6. SteveOGrady

    SteveOGrady LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    And we never bag. Just mulch here. I can count on one hand how many bagger units I've seen on LCO trailers in 20 plus years here.
  7. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,855

    Here's what you do, cuz I made that same mistake early on. Don't mulch, keep bagging.

    Do not let these people dictate when or how often you do it. You set a schedule? They agree? Then that's the schedule. They want to skip? You start charging by the hour not the job. I had a customer try and hose me by making me come AFTER hurricane sandy to bag up her leaves. I said yeah that's fine, but I'm canceling the price we agreed upon now that you're changing the schedule.

    I'm a real nice guy, am friendly with all my customers, and have a great relationship with them. However, I do not put up with BS and I kindly let them know this from the start. Helps avoid these situations.
  8. We haven't bagged or picked them up in ten years or more, when we were young and dumb we did, but now just mulch them.
  9. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,855

    No one mulches in the northeast. I'm curious to see what these lawns look like after mulching.
  10. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    I find early on I can mulch the leaves but once larger drops happen it depends on the property. Sometimes it turns into a bigger mess but I have lawns (only a few because my focus is on landscape) where they look just fine from mulching. I found I could mulch them up and then put the bagger on collecting more in less trips. Maybe it takes about the same time but it's less volume if I haul away.

    I ended up finding a very old but well taken care of leaf loader for cheap (I'm talking old enough no parts are available). It helps on two properties where the leaf drops are quite large. It's no brand new billy goat loader but saves time. I see other guys around me use lawn tractors with those towable leaf loaders for their clean ups. I think they finish mow with their regular mowers but the lawns are spotless when they are done!

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