Leaf removal- tarps vs. ztr with vac?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MGB Guy, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. MGB Guy

    MGB Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I have always mulched and shot leaves into the woods on my yards with the woods, and put them on a tarp on those yards without. But do you all find it easier/quicker to use tarps and maybe get an extra helper, or to buy the vac? I'm debating on buying one, but I didn't know if it was save me time. I have to rake/blow the leaves up on the yards with a lot of trees in or to get the sticks up anyways, so I'm just curious if traditional/cheap way is better or not. Any opinions?
  2. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 779

    I think the biggest advantage of using a vac is just the amount of leaves you can haul away in one trip. time wise as far as actually getting the leave up I think the vacs take longer, but your time spent driving to dump leaves ads up really quick. I think a truck loader would be the way to go, but it's just a guess. I lived in a town where the city removed all the leaves from the curb so I havn't done that many leaf jobs since the home owner could just blow everything to the curb.
  3. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    i just mulch them all. that being said, the # of hardwoods around here is pretty low, mostly all pines.
  4. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Take a BIG tarp load it up and drag it with the rider to the truck vac.
  5. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Sorry, but this is another of those questions that does not have a simple one-size-fits-all answer.

    Where I am, the leaves start to fall a few at a time while the grass continues to grow. The first few "leaf removals" are actually late season mowings with some leaves getting mulched, or sucked up into a bagger.

    On the lawns where the trees finally reach a point of BOOM! and the leaves all come down in just a few days, it gets really impractical to expect a mower to be efficient in getting the leaves up. I'm talking about a layer of leaves several inches thick. Grab your tarps, rakes, and most powerful blowers and move those leaves in bulk into the trailer. I have had some lawns that filled up my 18' trailer with 4' high mesh sides, and the equipment had to wait in the back yard while I went to unload the leaves. Reducing the volume of those leaves by picking them up with the Z would actually take more time than the trip to unload the non-chopped-up leaves. For the same reason, I have never bought a vacuum leaf loader. Because I believe the time to move the leaves through it would be considerably more than the time to drag tarps onto the trailer.

    But if the lawn is small enough that even a thick layer of leaves is only going to fill up the bin on the Grasshopper 3 or 4 times, that is the way I go. And sometimes it makes sense to sweep the heaviest concentrations of leaves onto a tarp and drag that into the trailer, before going over the lawn with the Z.

    So you see, it boils down to judging each job based on your experience of what has worked best in the past, rather than seeking one answer you can apply to every lawn.

    BTW, I really envy you guys who live where the cities will come along the curb and suck up the leaves that you have blown off the lawn into the street. The best we have here, is that the city sends a lawn waste recycling truck that picks up BAGGED lawn waste. Only helpful to a commercial operator on very small lawns.
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

  7. Idealtim

    Idealtim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 939

    I know for a fact that some vacs reduce the mass of leaves 1:12. Weight is still the same though.
  8. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    So do leaf loaders:weightlifter:
  9. MGB Guy

    MGB Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    The vac that I am looking at dumps from the seat. Most of my yards have the woods next to them and the customers say just blow/them/dump them in the woods. I have some big 2 acre yards as well that have a tree here and a tree there. Just mulching or blowing still the best way? Just curious. And as far as you guys that just mulch them, do you get away with charging extra for going over the leaves a couple times each mow, or do you charge the same. Thanks for all input.
  10. Harvest

    Harvest LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    i just mulch them BUT there are not that many leaves here just oaks and they are only on the older homes mostly and i cut newer homes for the most part with young trees and less leaves

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