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Love the mowing..but what/how to deal with..?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowisme, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. mowisme

    mowisme LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I really enjoy the lawn mowing season. Being out doors and being your own boss has some benefits. BUT..as a solo at 55 years old and a rather new hip- I dread the fall leaf removal. I must be doing something wrong on my procedure in getting leaves off the yards. I seem to do A LOT of racking- more than I care to for sure. I racke out the flower beds (and blow) and seem to be pulling a lot on tarps. What is a good easier plan: less racking/ less tarp pulling/ best procedure (maybe more often before they build up? some kind of vac? ) ..opinions please. Thanks guys- Geno
  2. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I'd suggest a BillyGoat vac and a mulch kit on your mower.
  3. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    woah, wasn't ready for all that. :confused:

    hows about one of those shredder/chippers. One you can rake the leaves right into... shred em' up and reduce the amount of tarp usage and trash bags.

    Personally, I dislike raking leaves as well.... backpack blowers are usually glued to my back during the entire clean up. Parking lot blower helps for volume and wide open yards.

    Otherwise, a Billygoat vac might be good for ya.
  4. Hometown

    Hometown LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I also am a solo and here is what I have found to work well. I hardly use the rake much most of my leaves I blow out of beds into the yard area where I can get at them with my grasshopper with my collection system on it so then I just mulch them up and dump in a pile at my trailer. On my trailer I have a billy goat walk behind vac (8HP) that I have converted to a truck loader with their loading kit attachment and suction hose. So then I just suck up the pile into the truck at each account. The only time I tarp anything to the trailer is out of backyards that the grasshopper won't get past the gates into, but even then I use a blower to windrow it into piles that get tarped. Also over the last 5 years or so I have been careful not to take anymore residential properties that I are not accessible to the whole yard by my ztr. This makes it somewhat easier for me. Hope this helps.
  5. grassaholic

    grassaholic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Sounds like you need a really good backpack blower. I can't even remember the last time I used a rake. Everyone has there own opinion on who makes the best backpack blower so my vote is for a Stihl BR600. The Redmax 8001 is also a good one, although it's considerably heavier than the Stihl. As far as a good procedure goes. I blow the leaves out of the beds and other areas my mower can't get to [no rake involved:cool2:]. Then I fire up My Walker and pick up all the leaves [no tarp involved]. The Walker does a great job of picking up the leaves and only plugs when the leaves are super wet and thick. In those rare cases thats when I have to get the old tarp out. I just make a big pile next to the Billygoat vac on my truck and suck it up when I'm done. Basically over the years I've aquired 3 different pieces of equipment to eliminate the labor involved. A kick azz backpack blower, good collection mower, and a good leaf vac to get stuff from the ground into the truck.:drinkup:
  6. mowisme

    mowisme LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    Ok..Thanks..Looks like I need to start by getting a 'good' back pack blower. Then as $ permits..get a BG to suck up the piles. A collection for my mower(s) probably not a option right now- all walk-behinds and a Surfer. but If I can blow to center of yard-then suck up into BG bag..or chop up and tarp..will help. Be nice if I can blow all the way to truck-then suck right up into it. I do have a old BG vacumm (parking lot) but don't work well on lawns because of small swivels up front. but maybe put on truck/trailer?? again- thanks -Geno
  7. LawnBoy89

    LawnBoy89 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 967

    for the heavy tarps i wrap the front around the deck handle and hold it with my hand and drag it with my ZTR works great
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    It sounds like you need a change of process. The former ways of rakes/tarps, although they still work, may not be the best for your situation.

    I too am always looking for better ways. I don't have a new hip, but am 66. That makes me at the far end of the spectrum, not as fast as the quickest horse, not as strong as the hard-body youngster, but perhaps more head-strong.

    Your steps sound much like mine for some properties. Others I have been able to make more extensive use of mulching. I do not have a large-scale bagger (e.g. ZTR with triple bags, Walker mower, etc.). But, there are those places that require the leaves to be hauled away (too many beds, relative to the turf area, turf areas too small and too tight). I only use a hand blower (Stihl BG85), and raking, to get the leaves out of beds. Then the leaves get raked onto tarps for getting to a trailer (some cases, nearby woods). I use 8X10 tarps, and the "Santa" over-the-shoulder packing style. Yes, that gets to be work.

    Also, I have an 8hp wheeled blower to move the leaves toward the removal point (e.g. toward the trailer). In some cases, the row of leaves can be taken close to the trailer, where I use rakes and/or forks to get them into the trailer, thus skipping the tarps. Also, the wheeled blower enables me to get larger piles or rows for doing the tarping when that is necessary. The combination of hand blower and wheeled blower give me what I need, without a backpack blower. I keep reading about the need of a backpack, and I have thought long and hard, "... why and where would I use it?" The hand blower is enough power for bed work, without taking out mulch. When I get the leaves to the open area, the wheeled blower is far more powerful than a backpack blower. So, I've determined a backpack would be of no use for me.

    Since your situation sounds similar to mine, my next step would be to get some piece of equipment to vacuum the piles, shredding them for smaller volumes, and making it easier to get the debris to the trailer or truck. I have resisted this approach because I think my tarping method is far quicker. I see others with baggers, spending so much time emptying the bags. My major time sink with the tarps and whole leaves is the time to pack them in the trailer. Shredded leaves would pack more easily.

    Contrary to what has been said here, and elsewhere, I don't dread leaves. It is just one more chance to work the property, when the mowing is done, or nearly done. Sure, it is hard work, but the challenge of devising a strategy for the day (e.g. leaf cover, wind conditions, dampness) is always interesting. My attitude is to approach the leaves to overcome them, get them removed with the least amount of time and effort, and leave the property looking good. It is no good to take a defeatist attitude toward these jobs.
  9. grassaholic

    grassaholic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    I keep reading about the need of a backpack, and I have thought long and hard, "... why and where would I use it?" The hand blower is enough power for bed work, without taking out mulch.
    You could blow the leaves out of the bed much faster and with less fatigue. You don't have to run the BP at full throttle all the time so no worries about blowing too much mulch out of the beds. I know the handhelds can make my arm really sore from holding it all day.
    I see others with baggers, spending so much time emptying the bags.
    Emptying a Walker is as quick and simple as hopping off the seat, lifting the door open on the catcher, and tilting it back to dump. Takes all of 3 or 4 seconds. The debris from the catcher is already mulched from the blades and the blower that puts the debris into the catcher.
    there are those places that require the leaves to be hauled away (too many beds, relative to the turf area, turf areas too small and too tight). The Walker is very compact and lightweight compared to other ZTR's. The situation described is exactly why I run Walkers. They can really suck up thick piles of leaves in some tight areas. I rarely get the tarp out anymore and I've got several accounts that get buried in leaves. I'm not tryin to say your method is wrong. It's actually exactly how I used to do it years ago. I didn't buy all this equipment all at once either. It took years of adding a piece each season to speed things up so I can do more accounts.
  10. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks but my Echo pb 6000 will move HUGE piles quickly inc rocks, dogs, even small children. Try it. You'll never go back

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