Leaf cleanup situation

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by BrunoT, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Here is the situation. About 3000 sq ft of roadside lower quality lawn. Leaves have been blown out of about 6,000 sq ft of woods and into lawn area. Lots of sticks, mulch fragments, and pinestraw mixed in. Conditions are dry with light winds, but vehicles flying past at 55mph can cause some gusts.

    There are somewhat more leaves than it appears in the photos, they are piled about 2.5 ft high further from the camera but the angle seems to hide that.

    Describe in reasonable detail what approach and tools you would take to clean this up and how long you would estimate the job to take.(including final cleanup and debris disposal time if any). There are heavier woods about 100' away from the midpoint of the lawn that you 'could' dump stuff in if you dispersed it, but there's a lot of tanglefoot to get through (chest high briars, fallen limbs, a ditch to cross, etc) so you'd probably spend more time doing that than using another method.
  2. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Here are pics to help



  3. bmoorefield

    bmoorefield LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I would use a leaf/debris loader and pull the large sticks to the side and load them seperate so they dont get lodged in the intake hose. With 2 people it looks like it would take less then two hours with a few blowers, rakes, and loader. From the looks of the pictures it stops at the mailbox. Its difficult to determine how many loads that would be from the pictures, and I dont know what you have to load them...Pickup truck vs. 14' Dump trailer with high sides.
    You could always blow and rake onto tarps, which would obviously be more labor intensive. What type of eqipment do you have? It may be worth contracting it to a larger company.
  4. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    I should have clarified, I have already done the job. I was curious to see what the various techniques used require in terms of time and effort. I thought it would bring some perspective to why some people use the techniques they use. I'll show some after pics and give my time later, I didn't want to distort the replies doing it right away.

    The lawn is dormant bermuda with weeds in it, mowed at 2". It's a rural area, about 30 min from the nearest dump, if that matters.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The way I would do it is first I would wait for the customer to call me and then after I have all the information I need
    I would go take a look at it, only after I've taken a really good look would I come up with an estimate that I would give to
    the customer, then the customer can decide as to whether they want me to do it.

    Oh good, then you don't need me anymore.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,555

    I would take our 48" Scag with full mulching kit on and raise it to the top and back over the leaves with blades operating. Then I would keep lowers the unit until they are reduced to nothing. I have two properties that are almost a mile long with trees on it and divided roadway with trees on it. All mulched.
  7. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Actually, you were never needed <G>

    It took me a whopping 23 min on the lazer z hp, including a final pass with the blower. To me it beats hours on my feet dragging them around or thousands spent collecting them. And the customer likes paying $23 for the extra time on-site vs $200 or more I'd charge to collect and haul them off. It ain't perfect, but it ain't too bad, either.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  8. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,336

    Id throw the mulch plate on the Grasshopper and keep going over them till they dissappear. This is with gators too. If it needed to be perfect I'd make one more pass bagging them, again with the Grasshopper.
  9. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Took about 4 passes, mostly to break up and disperse the taller piles. Once they're low enough they grind up nicely. What looks to be brown clumps of leaf fragments is dirt from bare spots. I included a closeup of what is left. If you can imagine it w/o the weeds and dormant turf it isn't a bad look. It does leave some hardwood mulch bits in the lawn, as blowing the slope kicked some into the grass. A final pass with a nice vaccuming mower would get most of them up I think.

    It looks better on thicker maintained turf, so I included a shot of a real lawn the day after a moderate amount of leaves (2 weeks worth) were mulched in one pass, again with a closeup.

    I have other mowers that would drive over that and leave it looking like a forest floor. They lack the vaccum power and mulching ability of the Exmark.





  10. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Drive a mulch mule past that - what is it about 150 yards??? You could suck them up in 10 mins tops and roll on down the road with about 5% of your cargo space filled up. What did you make for that job? $23? - if so should have charged more. What did you make to blow them down the hill?
    I like the exercise/format you used - don't get suckered into divulging your methods (too soon) cause topsides doesn't want to play nice.

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