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Need a good semi-pro lawn vac

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by FastRedPonyCar, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. FastRedPonyCar

    FastRedPonyCar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    We have trees completely covering our property and last fall/winter (our first in this home) was absolutely awful for us because we simply were not prepared for it. It's our first home with any sort of tree coverage.

    There are 3 large water oak trees in the front yard which dump millions of the small leaves all over our yard and pretty much cover everyone else's yard in the culdesac if we don't pick them up at least once a week (no one else has trees in their front yard except us so we feel bad when the whole circle of homes has leaves from our yard)

    And we also have 4 massive sweet gum trees in the back yard dumping not only their leaves but the sweet gum ball seeds.

    Neighboring property adjacent to our back yard is virtually all trees as well so we get leaves from all of that on our property.

    Last season we were out there every weekend endlessly bagging with rakes and each weekend, we would have well over a dozen or more bags. It was exhausting work and the lawnmower was totally useless.

    It dawned on the wife and I that a high quality leaf vac/mulcher is far more valuable on our property than a lawn mower (I've only had to cut my grass 3 times this summer due to the shade) but last fall, even after a couple of days after we cleaned up the leaves, so many had already fallen again, it was as if we hadn't picked ANY up.

    So I'm basically here asking for suggestions on a high quality lawn/leaf vac that is durable enough to get used at least a dozen times per year and strong enough to pick up all the sweet gum balls. I don't mind spending between $1k~$1300 if I can get something that isn't going to break easily or have bad customer support. My wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of october so the last thing she is going to be able to do is rake leaves for a few hours every weekend and the thought of doing all that raking by myself is enough to make me cave in and spend the cash to get a good vac.

    A local power equipment place sells the billygoat products but the reviews on those seem mixed?? which is surprising considering what they cost. There's a guy a couple hours north selling a craftsman brand vac, self propelled for $450 with only a couple hours of use on it but I question whether or not it will be powerful enough for what I need??

    I know that patriot has a similar offering as well as troy-bilt, cub kadet, Ariens, etc. Little wonder is a bit out of my price range though and the pull behind a riding lawn mower versions are also not an option.

    I don't mind the unit not being self propelled as my property is mostly flat.

    Thanks for any help/suggestions!
  2. ernie_h

    ernie_h LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I don't know the size of your lot, but I don't think you'll find many folks here using what you're looking for (a walk-behind lawn/leaf vac). That said, I would consider looking into a good gas-powered backpack blower. You could save yourself the majority of the raking, and at least blow the leaves into piles that would be easier to bag (or, perhaps, mulch with your mower?). It would also make clean-up after those few times you have to mow a lot faster. [for comparison, I have a few acres, lots of post oaks....I usually just mulch them with a mower with or without blowing them into small piles first]. Just a suggestion, but I don't think you'll find a decent lawn/leaf vac in that price range and you might find the blower to be a lot more useful to you. FWIW.
  3. mallio

    mallio LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 50

    You might want to price hiring a pro to do this for you. Then at least you would have a baseline as for the cost per trip and disposal. In my area there are a lot of Cyclone Rakes. If you have a small lawn tractor or ZTR to pull it. The Cyclone Rake is a long package as far as weaving around trees. But they do the job. I wouldn't recommend a push type lawn vac they get heavy espically if it is damp.
  4. Rwinfrey

    Rwinfrey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I run a cyclone rake they are great for the money and they go up tight to the wall.....

    BIG NICKY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    as a home owner you may also consider a lawn sweeper they seem to do the trick for most of the leaves around here. they are available in a number of sizes from 36-48 push type or 48- i believe 54 tow behind for the lawn tractor. just run them over and go dump the catch.

    here is a little video of one from agri fab (im not pushing a brand )that was just the only one that wasn't super shakey
  6. mallio

    mallio LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 50

    We generally make 4 passes at leaf clean up. Not unusual to have 2 inches of leaves on the lawn each pass. The cyclone rake is the only thing that works well here. We had in the past tried powered baggers with little success. We reload in the street from the cyclone rake and then haul leaves to dump site. I am always looking for a faster way of doing clean up but so far the cyclone rake has outperformed anything else I have tried. Our leaf cleanup last least 6 weeks in the fall and 1 trip in the spring and if we have to clean abandoned lots for the city

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