leaf removal equipment options

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Cleve99, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Cleve99

    Cleve99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I live in an old neighborhood with old hardwoods and mostly old neighbors. I think I can fill a need AND make a little extra money removing leaves.

    The lots in my neighborhood are about 1/3 of an acre. I think I have about 4 options for getting the job done but can use some advice.

    1. A rake and a tarp (effective but time consuming).
    2. Bag them with my lawnmower (this works well on my yard but I have to empty the bag dozens of times)
    3. Buy a used Billy Goat (or similar) push lawn vacuum
    4. Buy a used Billy Goat debris loader and a trailer. Blow all the leaves to where I am parked and suck them up with the vacuum hose and use the trailer to catch the mulch.

    My questions are basically based around the last 2 options I mentioned. How much more area can I cover with one bag on a lawn vacuum compared to one bag on a regular push mower. I assume the bags are bigger and the leaves get shredded up better with the lawn vacuum. Is the improvement significant enough to warrant buying a used unit for around 5 or 6 hundred dollars?

    With my 4th option, I know I would be potentially tying up close to $3000 depending on the unit and size of trailer. Do the debris loaders shred the leaves up finer than the leaf vacuums?

    Please excuse my ignorance on the topic. I'm just trying to figure out if it makes sense to invest money into something that is specifically designed to handle leaves.

    Any other thoughts/suggestions are welcome. Thank you very much for your time.
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,510

    How deep do the leaves get there? On a good thick lawn i can mulch 6" of leaves into the lawn and leave it looking great. By Spring you would think all the leaves were bagged and the tiny leaf particles actually helped feed the lawn as they composted down to nothing.
  3. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,472

    A big ZTR or commercial wb can mulch down 6" of leaves but I doubt the push mower he's working with will. There really isn't a quick/easy way to do leaves without proper equipment.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,510

    Yeah thats true. I guess i was just giving him another option to consider. Ztr w mulch kit. Could come in handy during most of the rest of the year as well.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,546

    Mulch them up with whatever mower you have and be done with them. And if the customer is picky and wants to pay more then rake the mulched leaves up and put them in a bag. Then use your bagger to finish it off.
  6. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Befor you invest money in equipment, find a place to get rid of the leaves after you collect them. Forget about a Billy Goat vac unit for collecting leaves. And $ 3000.00 won't get you much leaf equipment, trailer, leaf loader, push blower, hand blower.
  7. rsmith1002

    rsmith1002 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I agree. Mulching the leaves with a ZTR works great. One additional thing I do at my own home and for a few of my clients is to blow the leaves into a long row near natural areas, muclh them with the ZTR, then blow the mulched leaves back into the natural areas. Looks fine and once spring rolls around, we'll probably be puting out pine straw in the natural areas. This has been a huge time saver for me compared to bagging them......I dont do that anymore......unless the customer is willing to pay amuch higher rate....just my two cents
  8. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Speaking of mulching leaves, I have a snapper pro 26/52 with the mulch kit on it, I have noticed that I get a bit of a windrow on heavier leaves with it. Is that normal, or is that something with my piece.
  9. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    here is my suggestion, what and why i do it as well. it works with most any set up you have.

    i throw the catcher onto my mower and make one pass over everything, not emptying the catcher until i'm done. when the catcher is full it mulches the leaves up a bit.

    i empty the catcher and make a second pass collecting the mulched up the leaves.

    then i'm usually done. if the leaves are a little thicker it might take a third pass.

    in my neck of the woods people don't like the leaves pulverized into the ground because it leaves a brownish tint to the turf.

    oh and i do this on a weekly basis for my clients so the leaves never get too thick in the first place.
  10. Jacobcammack

    Jacobcammack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I like to chop up the leaves really fine with my lawn mower, then go back with the bagger and pick the mess up.

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