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Clippings are a pain in the !@#

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Joe2920, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Joe2920

    Joe2920 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I use all Walk-Behinds.. the only problem is the small grass catcher now that the leaves are falling I am doing lawns with even an inch of leaves and emptying the bag every 2 min any techniques I should know about .. I was considering leaving all of the clippings with no bag then using a blower to make a pile?
  2. SPSnh

    SPSnh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    yes, either use the blower to pile the leaves and load them....or go over the leaves 1-3 passes side discharging, then bag them. cutting the leaves down in size will makes things a ton easier.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    These are all without bag, and Hi lift blades:

    If there exist wooded areas, several same-direction passes with the chute facing the woods 'herds' leaves and clippings in that direction. Generally, I can get at least 2, usually 3, and sometimes 4 same-direction passes going before the pile gets too heavy for the blades to deal with. I do this WOT and full stick, since when I reach the end of a pass I have to ride back 'empty,' I take that opportunity to double-cut the area I just went over 1-2 passes ago.
    Takes a little longer, but not much... No bag, no bs.

    With the customers where you can get away with it, certain bushes provide a decent cover where if you ride a couple of circles around it with the chute facing the bush, the leaves get piled neatly under (and around) the bush. Obviously this doesn't work for mulched areas, however, azaleas and boxwoods are two types of bushes who appreciate the low ph soil that comes from decomposing leaves. Thou obviously it has to look neat, so watch how big the pile gets and you have to be your own judge here, if it doesn't look right, then don't do it, so to speak.

    Riding over them 3-4 and 5-6 times also mulches them, but I only do this with really light leaf cover (dunno, but no inch lol) due to the before mentioned ph-reducing effect leaves tend to have on soil, grass is not a low ph lover.

    Backpack blower and if it gets worse, the pushblower also does wonders.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Another thing that people do for your type situation is just let the bag fill up (preferably with light leaves - not grass clippings). After that, just keep going. The full bag wll allow the stuff to just get ground up better under the mower. Now, ....this is NT true mulching and should not be confused as that. It just allows the stuff to not discharge, thus getting much more chopped up. After that, the material can be either bagged or just windrowed and picked up with a tarp. If you windrow it, do NOT put it in piles (unless you're goinmg to use the mower to grind the material up further for hauling purposes). This way, you are not wasting time piling material that is just going to be harder and heavier to tarp because the pile is higher. If you leave it in a row, you just walk along the length of the row, and put it up on the tarp. the row should be narrowed as much as possible (cleanly) by means of lowering the mower rpm's/lowering side discharge chute. Anyway, when you tarp the stuff up, move briskly, and DON'T fuss with the last crap at the edge of the tarp! Just pull the tarp down to the next section, and you can quickly catch that little bit that was left back up. Also, start at the point farthest away from the truck (or dumping area) with the empty tarp, and work you way toward the emptyin area. This way, you are pulling less weight - less distance.
    Anyway, now I am getting into micro-technique, and we could go on all night....these are the sort of things that come with experience....
  5. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,873

    This time of year, why not install mulch kits on your mowers?
    I have one on my wb and it works great in the fall. I usually don't have to bag until the leaves get really thick mid to late Nov.
  6. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    get an OCDC and then you can grind them up, or bag. also look into a larger bagger like an Accellerator...

  7. parkeeee

    parkeeee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    I strictly mulch leaves. I have found that even the big piles can be attacked when done in smaller bites.
  8. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    What DRM said. The Accelerator bagger with Leaf Extender reduces the numbers times you have to stop and empty. The extender comes off first and empties separately, then the main bag, so you don't have to lift a ton.

    There is also a Trac Vac made to fit wb's but it's 4 or 5 times as expensive. A Rubbermaid 44 gal. container sits above the belt cover and there is about a 5 horse motor on the vac.
  9. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,873

    Only thing you have to be watchful of, is the weight of the bagger plus extension getting too heavy and throwing off your deck, making the cut uneven.
    I have the accelerator, but no extension and it works fine for me when I finally have to bag the leaves.
  10. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    That's for a fact, Grasswhacker. On wet leaves using the extender the mower will list to starboard causing uneven cut. On dry I've had no problems.

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