trimming forsythia bushes.....

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RLS2005, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. RLS2005

    RLS2005 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    I have trimmed forsythia bushes before, so I know that they are pretty easy. But what my question is how long do you think it would take you guys to trim it when it is about 334' long, I think about 4-5' wide. It's been at least 1 year since it was last trimmed. The one side (161' long) is really overgrown the rest is pretty overgrown. The homeowners usually do these bushes themselves, I think they stand on their Envoy and trim that way...they said it was a little out of their reach now. I think that at its highest point it might be about 10'. And there are also a couple of bushes around the house, no more than one hours worth of work. So this is how I broke it down....just want to see if I am in the right ballpark.

    Left side bush....161' long x 5' wide x 10' high = about 3 hours
    back bush.....85' long x 5' wide x 8' high = about 1.5 hours
    right side......88'long x 5' wide x 6-8' high = about 1.5 hours
    and one hour for the bushes around the house.

    then I was figuring on charging either an extra 1/2 hour or hour for going to the job and then disposing of clippings. Also a $30 dump fee.

    I just wanted to see how long people think they can do this job...I am not sure if I am being unrealistic in thinking that I can do it in this time period or if I am way off. Thanks for all your replies in advance.

    I know that your not suppose to trim forsythias till they after they bloom...but if I tell the customer this and they still want it done beforehand, could this possibly harm the forsythia?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Cut now and they will not bloom this year as you will cut the buds off.
  3. Norm Al

    Norm Al LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,227

    what about the clean up time? you have the dump fee but wont there be trimmings to clean up?
  4. RLS2005

    RLS2005 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    It's already figured out in the time...I forgot to mention that there will be 2 people, I am going to have a helper that will probably do the little bushes around the house and then after that just continue to rake clippings. Also as my arms and back get tired we can switch back and the way I will be using a pole trimmer and most likely a ladder.

  5. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    What do you mean by pole trimmer? Are you speaking about a cutter on the end of a pole with a pull-rope to activate the cutter head? Or are you talking about a hedge clipper attachment on the end of a string trimmer power head/shaft?

    I presume the second choice, but your comments aren't clear. If so, you should be able to do all the work from the ground, no laddering -- a huge time saver. Or, do you have to square them off on the top, and if so, what height? If you have to take much off, the debris will be huge. How close from the bushes to your truck/trailer? How to get the debris there?

    Also, I presume you are intending to "shear" them, not prune out dead wood, old stalks, etc. This is all hand work, a large time sink. This is really how they should be trimmed out, but few people do it because of the time.

    I have done some large hedges on long rows like this, but not forcythia. Your times seem reasonable, for two people.
  6. RLS2005

    RLS2005 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Hey Roger,

    It is the second choice..I dont foresee the debris being too much of a headache because I have a pretty good access to get them to my trailer. I am thinking that when I am done that it will be about 7-8' tall approx. I am thinking that I will spend very little time on the ladder if at all. I would get on there just to make sure that is squared off. Anyways, thanks for your opinion Roger. This is the biggest bush trimming job I will be doing and just wanted to get a reality check and make sure that I wasnt underestimating time. Any other advice would be much appreciated.

  7. urbanlandscape

    urbanlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 47

    One quick suggestion: instead of having your helper rake up the trimmings, put tarps on the ground. Let the trimmings fall on the tarps. Easy to load into the trailer and less mess on the ground.
  8. old dog

    old dog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 213

    Safety tip-don't walk around on tarps,they can be mighty slippery.Pitchfork
    the heavy stuff onto a tarp,then rake the small stuff.On most pruning and shearing jobs your helper will have as much time in cleanup as you will in
    making the mess.Wait until late April-you will have the blooms and get 'em
    trimmed early.Be aware they can grow 4 to 6 feet this year.Forsythia should
    NEVER be put in as a proper hedge!!!
  9. RLS2005

    RLS2005 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Thanks for all the response...I have never tried to use a tarp along the hedge that I am trimming but it is definitely that I will start doing as long as I am not on a ladder. Thanks again for all the input.

  10. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,218

    Your time break down seems to be right on. Clean up will take longer than you would think. Id say 2 hours to clean up and then dump time.

    Should bring a "day" rate easy.

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