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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

How do you remove pine straw from under pine trees other than using a hand leaf rake? I have one property that has several pines that are shedding their needles, causing a considerable build up in the surrounding area resulting in no grasses growing under them.

I have seen various pieces of equipment that is pulled behind a lawn tractor/atv.
I do not want to buy something that does not do as advertised.
What really really works for you, and was it really cost effective ?

Thanks,

Hawgcaller
 

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I have several of these properties. What works the fastest for me was I took my deere ztr with the mulching kit and gators and go over it. The deere deck (one of the few things good about a deere) was it ground the staw up real good. Then I would go back over it with the exmark ultra vac and bag it up. Since I no longer have the deere I now take the exmark and windrow it with gators. As I work my way in towards the middle of the yard I will throw the ultra vac back on and bag it up. The last thing is I do if the yard is not super big I will take the BP blower and blow it into piles then pithcfork it up. I then take the straw and sell it to other clients that need the straw. I have seen a lot of folks on here who have use different methods that also worked well for them. I tried one of those agra fab sweepers and that think sucked big time on pine straw. Make sure though that you charge enough for this extra work. Anything beats the heck out of raking!!
 

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I agree that a bagger on the mower is the simplest solution. If you can't get the mower under the tree than I blow it onto a tarp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I too tried the mulching technique to not much success. The needles seem to be woven together, resisting the vacuum created by my John Deere, even the ones on the drive way seem to stick to it. What is lifted create such dust , but not much removal. It would take several passes to achieve any small results.

Using the bagger was also about as ineffective as mulching. It is evident that something will need to physically lift the straw up, allowing any lift(vacuum) to get under it to be able to pick it up.
This is why I come here to see if anyone had used anything that is effective that is cost efficient, time-wise. I understand that it could be just as costly to simply rake it up, but all the extra time this requires could be more effectively used on another property. Dollar-wise, for the customer I think the cost would be about the same. I am just wanting to limit man-hours on this project.

Thanks for your help so far.
 

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Let me ask you this, what kind of deere were you using and what kind of bagging system. I had a deere LT133 before my ztr and the mulching kit and bagger on it was totally useless. Another machine I used that worked great (if you have plenty of room to turn in) was a cyclone rake. This thing would suck up straw soaking wet and stuck to the ground. It did not matter if it was six inches deep would suck it up. If you are using just a basic bagger that just throws the straw into the tube without some powerful suction then no it won't work. I raked up a pile of thick wet straw when I first got my ultra vac just to experiment with it. When I eased threw it got every piece the first time. Tried the same thing with the cyclone rake and it was awsome. However, due to being to cumbersome for my properties I sent it back for a refund. I will say that if I still had some of the yards I had my first year in biz, 3-4 acres of pine trees I would have kept it.
 

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We have much smaller areas to deal with and plants in the mix to so big equipment is not an option. We let them get thick then roll them up like a big sleeping bag. As mentioned above they have a tendency to weave themselves together like a mat. So the roll up works, well you just have to cut/pull out a circle around the shrubs. It goes very fast but I wouldn't want to try it in a forest :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use a JD 727A, I do not bag, so I borrowed a neighbors bagger to see how effective it could be. It (the bagger) was effective on his lawn so it was a viable test to try. Its going to take a piece of equipment that was designed with this type of chore in mind. It may be a cyclone rake, but I have never taken much stock in those types of items lasting under commercial use.

I'm all ears to what really works.
 

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I had a 717 which is the same version of your 727 except a 48" deck and 19kaw. When I ran gators and the OEM mulching kit it woud turn straw into dust. In real thick straw I had to make more than one pass but did a fantastic job. When I got the cyclone rake I hooked it to the 133 and the 717 to experiment. It did a great job on sucking up anything you threw at it from limbs to thick straw to pine cones. I don't think there is a real easy way to get rid of straw, I have just experimented over the years with different setups.
 
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