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Pine Needle removal?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Mowerman2112, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Mowerman2112

    Mowerman2112 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    Have a client with 2380sq. ft of pine needles they what removed about 4in. in deep, have now idea what to charge? Alot of man hrs. should I charge buy the hr. or buy cubic yard, this is a large amount not for shure if I could break even on this one but is a good client. Still back in the seventy's on the pay scale! Ideas please, thanks Brian
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I would go at an hourly labor rate plus hauling.

    Why does he want the needles gone ??? Pine needles make an excellent mulch layer and helps to smoother out weeds. Even weeds that come up through are easily managed.

    If you were to get rid of them I would come up with a powered tine rake for a trimmer, (such as what stihl offers). Pile it up and put them on a tarp and drag the tarp to your truck and load it.

    When you are done take a bagger on a mower and just suck up the remaining for a clean look.

    Just make sure you price it correctly. Tell your client you can do it for X amount and if he balks at it, just tell him he can find someone else to do it for that price. Even though he is on a 70's pay schedule, he will probably stick with you if you have been doing his lawn for more than a few seasons.

    If he is mad and drops you, then so be it. Sounds like it's not worth much of your time anyways.
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,194

    At least pine needles are lightweight for moving. Are any in the grass?
    Even my Walker doesn't do a throrough job sucking pine needles from grass for the final cleanup.
  4. Mowerman2112

    Mowerman2112 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    White Gardens, great thought on power tines and tarp, they are just that type not thinking of all those weeds. There are a few needles in the yard not bad, my mower has a hard time with them also! They asked if I removed trees I don't, they thought 2grand would do it for 10 very large trees, maybe each one. Send a bid this week and not working for free! Thanks
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I have no problems sucking up and mulching pine needles with my mower.
  6. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Well what kind of mower are you using????

    I can see how a side bagging mower with good vaccum power could do it. The problem is the capacity and having to stop and dump 75 times to get the job done.

    I've got 2 to handle tomorrow but the accumulation is not that heavy and the lawns are frankly just old lady weed patches. I just mow it then use the mower's discharge to move the needles around. Move them to the middle then tarp the remainder and deposit in the woods nearby.

    I'm going to go find a video of one of those trimmer tine rakes in action.

    I have nothing near the blower power to move needles. Do push blowers work on this type of problem?

    By the way, what's with a good push blower costing $1500 and up these days? It's a 9hp engine, a light frame, some wheels, and a blower housing and wheel. That engine must cost a lot, as the low hp versions are pretty cheap in comparison. I could use one but for 6 lawns where it's needed the payback period is pretty long and all I hear is don't buy the weak ones, they're not worth anything.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    16 Hp Simplicity Coronet with bagging system and discharge blocker when I have the bagger tube off. I have to make a couple of passes but I can get them chopped up pretty fine. I do as stated above too, just try to make a couple of passes moving them where I want to first.

    The bagging system on my mower uses a replacement blade on the discharge side that is twice as wide, and the fins are twice as wide as a normal blade. So what happens is I get massive suction power without an added impeller on commercial models. The blade is also big enough to give me the suction I need without bogging the motor down too.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately it looks like I'll be needing a bigger mower this year so I'll save the simplicity for small back yards and fall cleanups.
  8. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,194

    In defense of my Walker, I just can't get every last needle that is caught in the grass without mowing way short.

    But, mowerman's main question was about the labor in moving these needles out from under the trees (I think) with not so many in the grass. He wasn't talking about sucking up all the needles under the trees.
  9. Jb3NH

    Jb3NH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    The shindaiwa power rakes work great for exactly this sort of thing. You could get rid of those needles on craigslist/farm and garden.. There might be someone out there with a couple rows of blueberries who would snap those up in a heart beat.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Oh, there is no way you could suck up all the needles with a mower. Pine needles tend to compact over time and you would at least need to rake them to fluff them up, and then mulch them three or for times and then use a large capacity trac-vac to get them sucked up without dumping every five minutes.

    At that point you might as well rake up the worst of them and then go over it with a bagger when you are done, or, at the least when you are close to done.

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