Leaf Removal ideas

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by LawnMowerKing10, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    I agree that not every situation can be handled with mulching. Show up to a neglected place with a season's worth of leaves on it and you're not going to make it look pristine with a mulching mower. You might make a good dent, however. (but who has expectations of a pristine lawn when they let leaves sit for several weeks on it?)

    But there are routine situations where the mulching mower will do great. Even if you have to make a 2nd pass over a lawn it will still take less time (and more importantly effort) than bagging or blowing/tarping them. I think a big issue out there is that many mowers simply do not mulch leaves well. They lack vaccum or the ability to turn them to dust. Of 3 brands I own, only the Exmark works well enough to handle leaves like this. So if you think it doesn't work, maybe you have not found the right mulching machine yet. Mowing height may also be an issue. If you have to mow the lawn at 3.5-4" you may not have the suction needed to mulch them.

    In the past, due to the lack of a high capacity bagging system, I have had to handle large accumulations with only a lazer z and mulching kit. It certainly isn't a one pass thing, but given dry conditions and several passes, it can be almost miraculous how they seem to disappear. You can still see leaf fragments and even a few matted whole leaves, sometimes more than you'd like, but when that happens you grab the blower and quickly disperse the matted areas and go over it one more time with the mulching deck.

    I think ideally you'd mulch one pass then collect on a last pass on high end properties and get the best mix of time/results. Mulching first can help you pack in more leaves before emptying, as bagger systems alone may not reduce the volume enough. Unfortunately not everyone has the equipment budget or trailer space for two different machines to do this. The idea of making the first pass w/o a mulching kit isn't bad at all, but I want a mulching deck around for the lawns where I don't need to bag at all.

    I have mulched piles waist high when I've had to. I always worry it will not work, but with enough time I leave satisfied at the result. I think a real key in all this are mowers that really have the vaccum power to mulch well and when bagging suck even fragments up. My experience is that not many can do this. They cut grass fine, but you need a mower deck that will pull leaves up out of wet soil.
  2. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,057

    I agree with that. I will be using a recycler mulch kit this year. Not just a baffle over the chute. The recycler kit is supposed to resend everything back through the blades to shred them up better.
    I never bag anything but thats just me. If you spread the thicker piles out first before you mow it will help. But if you blow it all into a big pile first mulching will never work.
  3. kylecal91

    kylecal91 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    I would like to see some photos of the lawns you guys do leaf removal for. The places I remove leaves at have so many trees you usually don't get any direct sunlight and if you don't clean the leaves up at least every other week the grass will start to die (what little most of them have) I'm talking serious woods here where you can't even see the ground unless you clean the leaves up 2 times a week or more.

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