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How to make leaf removals quicker and more profitable?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smallstripesnc, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Unfortunately that's probably the quickest way. You can of course blow them through the gate and across the front yard. You could try to use your mower to plow them...even without any sort of plow on it. Just be careful not to start a fire. You can pull the tarps with your mower too.
  2. Chris Feenan

    Chris Feenan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    The things that slow me down on leaf cleanups are :

    1) Blowing leaves out of giant shrubs, overgrown beds, corners, etc

    2) Getting leaves out of huge pachysandra/myrtle/english ivy beds, Huge.

    3) Wind.

    All 3 of these things would be aided, in my opinion, if I could put down the blowers sometimes and pick up a loader intake hose. Suck them out of those overgrown beds,corners and ground cover beds instead of waiting for the blower to finally tease the last few out, only to have the wind blow them back in.

    Next year, I will mount a 12-18 hp loader on a wheeled cart. I will use extra long intake and exhaust hoses (20 ft each ?). The exhaust hose will plug into a 6 x 8 mesh tent stretched over plastic pipe frame. Laborers will put the tent together in 5 minutes or less when we arrive on the job. It will be set on top of a 8x10 tarp. When that tarp is full, it will be dragged to the curb and the tent will be set on top of another tarp .

    We leave the leaves on the curb and the town comes by every 2 weeks to suck them up with huge loaders. But customers don't want them sitting there too long because we have a lot of Oaks with leaves as big as your boot, and about as thick as cardboard. They blow all over the place if they sit there too long. But, chopped up by a mower, or loader, they sit tight and wait for the town loader trucks.

    This portable loader idea may sound crazy, but I will give it a try. If it sucks at sucking, I'll sell it, and I am only out the cost of a mesh tarp and some PVC pipe. Yesterday, I spent 4 hrs, alone (laborers laid off for winter) trying to blow leaves out of pachysandra and myrtle beds. Five of them, each about 6-800 sq ft (20 ft wide X 30 ft long) You tease them out, and get them airborne, but you are just teasing the same leaf out a few feet later. A 10 inch loader hose would have had that done in less than an hour.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Not crazy but I don't think you need to go to all of that. You can, where possible, take the wheel blowers right into the ground cover. You can use a big backpack blower like the top of the line Husky/Redmax, Echo and Shindaiwas. I will sometimes take the end tube off for better maneuveribility in and around shrubs and to blast the ground cover with as much air as possible. Then I just grab the hand-held shredder vac and get the last few. But a wheel blower or big backpack can and will get leaves out of ground cover fairly easily.
  4. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    i always thought about just mowing over ground cover like pachysandra with a bagger system to clean the leaves out. hands down would be the most efficient way to clean the leaves out, but i would talk this over with the customer first, letting them know they will come back if they already don't, just so that they don't think you are going to ruin their beloved ground cover.
  5. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    guess it depends on how picky you and your client are. I take the blowers through the mulch beds and shrubs at a "regular pace" and whatever comes out, comes out. the rest stays and will eventually decompose.

    I don't have any clients that insist on every last leaf being gone. there's always a few left in the beds or in and around the shrubs. there gone by spring.
  6. Chris Feenan

    Chris Feenan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I want to do this. I think I have seen mowers that are capable of being jacked up like a monster truck - specifically designed for ground cover beds. I may modify a 21" with bigger wheels so that you could just clear the tops of the pachysandra. A light pruning would do it good anyway.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I have used my extended hedge trimmer as a ground scythe for trimming Pachysandra and Ivy. It works well. It's not gonna grind the leaves up though. I have also run over perennial beds with my mower when they were totally out of hand.
  8. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i trim my parents ground cover twice a season using my kombi motor with hedge trimmer attachment.
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,687

    We use to do a 2 acre wooded nightmare that was a full acre of Pachysandra and Ivy ( that's right over 40,000 sq ft of it) with a complete oak and maple canopy. It's simply part of the job the thought of cutting down ground cover just as its about the only green thing left for the client never occurred to me. With a good back pack its really not that big a deal. You want fun I had one once that had a 30 foot deep crater with a stream running through the bottom all ivy with barberry's and prickers through out it and of course little sun light total canopy. I figured 21 hours of solid back pack work and I was with in one man hour on the estimate and would of beat it had it not rained the last 3 hours.

    I guess only us coast line guys still are at this because this thread seems to have fallen out of favor. I as of yesterday have 28 more clean ups to go that I know of but it can still grow from there and it usually does.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I just have some cleanups that I've done for the last few years that I need to call on. All of my regulars are done. I'm contemplating whether or not to put a leaf box on the dump trailer and go chaising piles and one-time cleanups. Honestly not felling very ambitous at the moment but I don't want my cash flow to dry up yet either.

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