Leaf clean-up, help out a homeowner!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by walds11, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. walds11

    walds11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Thanks to all who responded to my leaf blower suggestion post. I am going to pick up a nice packback soon or in the spring.

    I moved into a new house in September. Almost a 1/2 acre home with a good amount of bushes/hedges and a fenced in backyard. The property does not get too hammered with leaves, but still a good amount that I did the front yard twice and the back yard twice so far. My township requires us to put the leaves in special leaf bags for pick-up, which is the biggest pain. I just blow the leaves in piles and then go around and drop then in the bag by hand. I am pretty much done, except for the leaves in and around the bushes/hedges and other odds and ends. Any suggestions, tips or efficient ways to do this clean-up? Blow 'em out, rake 'em out or just pull 'em out by hand? What about a blower vac...just suck 'em out of the bushes?

  2. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,793

    Go out and get the biggest backpack blower you can afford. If we come its going to cost you good money so dont go cheap. blow all leafs out and into a pile tarp them drag to the bin
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,698

    Blow them out.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,951

    If I understand your description, you have beds with a variety of plants, shrubs, etc. The suggestions for blower work is fine.

    We have found a combination of blower and rake (at the same time, working together) works best in most instances. Some material won't blow very well, apart from blowing out too much mulch. And, some material will blow out, if loosed with the rake. I do not use a backpack for beds, rather a hand blower (Stihl BG85).

    If the plantings are close, with little room to work, too little room for a standard rake, we have found great use of an adjustable rake.


    It is easily changed from only a few inches wide to 22" (24?) wide. However, in the tight spaces, the narrow width enables you to get to places a standard rake will not permit. We never use it at full width. Also, the handle length is adjustable. A short handle will often work better in tight quarters than a fully extended one. We have had ours for several years, so it has seen much use for cleanups. However, it has held up well, without bending, breaking any parts.

    We have also found Ames steel-tined rakes work best for most raking operations. They work better than plastic ones. Again, they will last for a very long time, under very heavy usage, IF (again, IF) they are not mishandled.

    One other point -- keep up with the leaf fall. We usually clean out our customer's beds multiple times over the Fall season. We do not wait until all leaves are down. If one waits, usually the leaves will get wet, making their removal from beds more difficult. Of course, the volume of leaves will be more if you wait until season-end.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,690

    I agree with roger it is plenty good to use that Stihl hand blower to get leaves out. You can usually get into places that you can't get to with the big backpacks. Why don't you just mulch the leaves instead of trying to bag them? If you think the mulch isn't good then take the bagger and vac them up with mower. Don't bother getting some type of vac device they aren't very good.
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Exactly my advice,mulch them with your mower and a mulching blade and use the mulch in your flower beds and throughout your tree's driplines(not up against trunks or bases of plants)
    Leaves are the food of tree's and plants..they are ment to break down and feed the soil..when you throw them away you are throwing away the nutrition for your landscape.Save them,mulch them chop them use them and or compost them..
  7. walds11

    walds11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Getting the leafs out of the beds/bushes/shrubs/hedges is a royal pain in the a**. I guess it takes time and patience. I am definitely scrapping the electric blower and buying a gas blower.

    I was initially thinking of buying a backpack blower. I can just strap that sucker on a blow away. Which is more versatile for a homeowner, a handheld blower or backpack blower? I was thinking of buying Echo PB260L or PB403 for a backpack or PB200 or PB210 for a handheld. I like the idea of having the option of using the vac feature on a handheld blower. My local Echo dealer has a Kawasaki packpack blower which is similar to the Echo PB260L for $209. Not a bad price I think. Any suggestions?
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Try a rake then.
  9. fishinpa

    fishinpa LawnSite Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 293

    I live up in Bucks County and recently had a similar dilemma. We have a hand held gas crapsman and it just doesn't "git it" for 1/2 acre full of leaves.

    I shopped around and found a 41.5cc Redmax 4401 on sale for $309.00 As much as I'd like to have more cfm's, this thing does pretty much kick a$$! I just couldn't spend any more at the time. The confidence factor for me was that it came with a 2yr homeowner or commercial usage warranty. It may not be the best for beds close to the house, but I was able to get a curved nozzle which helped tremendously.

    I'm not affiliated with the place I bought it from so I won't mention where unless asked.
  10. walds11

    walds11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Fishinpa, I live in Blue Bell, Montgomery County. I assume your 41.5cc Redmax 4401 is a backpack blower? How many CFMs is it? I have been researching Echo blowers and they list CFM at the housing and CFM at the pipe. The Echo PB-403 is 335 at the pipe and 830 at the housing, max air speed 154mph...$299 That is probably more than enough. The PB-260L is 335 at the pipe and 460 at the housing, max air speed 156mph...$269 This one is probably right one for my usage, but maybe better off spending an extra $30 for more juice, but it is about 8 lbs heavier.

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