What do you do with all your clippings?

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by blakerugg, Feb 18, 2010.


What do you do with your clippings?

  1. Bag, dump on site

  2. Bag, Haul away

  3. Mulch

  4. Discharge

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    Same here. I wish people would realize that turf, even just cool season turf, grows differently all across the country. The further south you are growing cool season turf the more growth per week you are going to have generally. I have lawns I only fertilize 2 times a year that still must be bagged most of the year because if we didn't there would be windrows of cut grass, and double or tripple cutting dosn't magically dissapear. Especially when it's wet all the time from the dew like it is here until about 11 or noon every damn day. I can cut and bag in a lot less time that it takes to double cut, and that's more true the larger the lawn. Not to mention the less cleanup when bagging, no clumps to blow, no grass clippings in the landscaping, nothing sprayed on the a/c unit and the fences and house. Please don't preach either (the discharging only guys) that you can keep the clippings off of everything...
  2. joel29m

    joel29m LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 647

    Not true!!!!!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. CrazyBlonde

    CrazyBlonde LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  4. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    You do realize there are HUGE differences between the turf where you are in louisiana and the turf in kansas?? Understand that I'm not talking about Bermuda or Zoysia here... I understand those ARE southern grasses and both are as thick or much thicker than TTTF. But they also need special care, and bagging if you do them right.

    Cool season grasses are MUCH thicker than southern grasses and usually contain a higher moisture content in the leaf. Unless they are only growing an inch to two inches a week you are going to be working at it hard to try to "hide" the clippings.

    And mowing ONLY when the turf is dry? I'd love to, trust me. But it's simply not possible here. I don't know if everyone has dew or not, but it's horrible here most of the time. The grass is saturated pretty much every morning and I'd say the "average" time before the grass is getting dry enoough to be considered "dry" is 10:00 to 10:30 am. That's average... Sometimes its soaking wet till about 11:30 even. I don't know anyone that can be in this business full time and not cut all day and make money. If I started at even 10:00 every morning I'd not get done until dark every day. No thanks. I do love the few mornings we get when it is dry... It's so nice!
  5. joel29m

    joel29m LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 647

    Yeah I know, but if you were from here, not true!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Yes the biggest hurdle to upselling the benefits of mulching clippings is the home owner, neighbor kid and low quality mow & blow leaving clumps of wet clippings all over the lawn - mess under the truck and trailer - clippings stuck in the driveway cracks. This is the mental image they see when we say side discharge or mulch.

    This is an education process - most people want instant results - spray those weeds/kill off beneficial micro organisms - grass isn't green enough dump more fert on it - and reset the sprinkler to water every day with a short grass combo...then they blame the lawn guy for not bagging. :dizzy:

    I try not to get too preachy or pushy with proper turf health issues with clients but I do plan on publishing a nice brochure on lawn health tips for all my customers and putting it on my website at some point. Also a HUGE upsell for regular annual aeration. Bi-annual for those who lean more heavily towards a chemical dependent lawn. This year I'm throwing in a Free Fall aeration for all my new clients. Even at that one of my new customers questions the need for it even though it will be a no extra cost. Does it need to be done every year? They will spend a ton of money on fert and herbicides but resist aeration.....and then when you aerate they rake up the plugs themselves after you leave. :hammerhead:

    There are tons of Walker mowers in my area and many LCO's are making multiple trips to the dump every day. I'm currently looking at getting a Toro Grandstand which of course has the Turbo Force deck which is commonly agreed to have the best cut for clippings distribution. Wish me luck in turf evangelism.
  7. CrazyBlonde

    CrazyBlonde LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    Nice post!

  8. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,142

    I know the 1/3 rule. If I was able to do that or something close I would mulch. Believe me, I would rather not bag. Its a pita. It is pretty much industry standard here that you have to bag. The guys with a pick up truck and trailer might let it fly...but it looks like crap and you definitely notice when you drive by. Most of the year on a nice lawn...it is 5-6 inches when I go to cut it(sometimes higher)AFTER ONE WEEK OF GROWTH. It would be impossible for me to let that fly, believe me I have tried. Then like the other guy said, with the dew in the morning and occasional rain and wet grass to mow. You would understand if you cut up here. Like I said if I cut 2 or 3 times a week, we could easily mulch. I haven't met a person yet who wants me to cut their lawn that much though. Therefore....bagging it is. we cut at about 3.25 inches. Most guys cut right at 3. some at 2 1/2 and some at 3 1/2. I am on the high side and have had quite a few people ask me to cut the lawn shorter. I do not adjust my cut heights, mainly because a I only have a two mowers with quick adjust. Just the way it is. I also have a $40 minimum per lawn.
  9. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    we typically mulch, but we do have one customer that requires bagging. Additional times we may bag are in the spring when there are a lot of weeds. We may bag to remove the seeds, so they dont spread...but only when asked to do so, and there is typically a charge to do so.
  10. KnK

    KnK LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Don't bag , have not in 20 yrs , do homes from 400k to 1.7M , had a conversation with a friend who runs 2 crews and bags all spring , he says part of the reason they are not making enough money is all the time, effort, wear and tear on equipment that goes with bagging and dealing with clippings, not sure why you would want to deal with that?

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