Serious Leaf Problem

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fordlawn, Sep 17, 2000.

  1. fordlawn

    fordlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I have one yard(0.8 acres)with 40 trees,white oaks and sugar and silver maples,that generates tons of leaves. Last year I removed exactly 21,600 gallons of leaves(1080 bags,yes I counted them)from this property with a JD245. Fortunately,there are 2 locations in the rear of the yard where I could burn the leaves(no curb side pickup available and I was not set up to offer off site disposal). It took me 8 visits over 5 weeks(38 hours)to complete the job. I quoted $1200 and have asked for $1500 this year--no response from the customer as of this date. I would hate to lose this account and am looking for any ideas from someone out there with similiar experiences on tips or ways to improve my efficiency. These leaves can get real thick,up to 6-8" deep,between pickups and mulching with the equpipment i'm currently using isn't very effective and makes it more time consuming to burn because of greater compaction. Any ideas. Thanks.
  2. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    That sounds like a rough job. Do the hours you mentioned include your time for hauling and disposal? If you are able to get 1500 this year your hourly rate ON THE JOB looks pretty good if you can maintain or slightly improve efficiency using current method - but again, are haulaway and disposal fees properly addressed?

    Burning doesn't seem to be an option due to time needed to tend the fire. I did a job similar to this one year - fortunately the leaves were dry approximately 6 to 10 inches thick in places. I had two guys on wheel blowers circle leaves into a central pile. When the leaves got too thick to move efficiently with a wheel blower, one guy peeled off and used a rake to assist blobs of leaves the rest of the way. We ended up with mountains of leaves as high as 8' covering nearly 1000 s.f. The customer had a shredder so we moved it along the huge piles and sort of 'rolled' them into the shredder.

    It worked for us but this was a back yard approximately 6000 s.f. When we were done, we had reduced that mass of leaves into a pile I would say about 4 feet high, 6 feet in diameter.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,492

    Blow them into more, and smaller piles, put a mulching plate on your mower (walk behind works best) and go from pile to pile. Lifting the deck up, starting at the outside of the pile taking 1/2 deck size "bites" out from the pile. Move in clockwise circles around the piles working toward the center of each. Go slow and let the mower do it's work. I've found that mulching blades work best, but I'm sure Gators would work well also. I can guarantee you will have less than 1/10th the material to remove than you usually do. Even with the leaf "shredder". Also, you may not be able to do it on this particular job, but many times, if the piles are small enough, (say around 10 ft. around by about 2 feet deep), after they're ground to dust, you can "walk them out" in rows and they'll about disappear completely. Sometime you can just take the backpack blower and shake out the area that the dust is heavy and it saves you from picking up all together. That's how I do about ALL my cleanups. Well, enough with Fall cleanup 101. Good luck with it!
  4. Scotty

    Scotty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Buy the JARCO leaf plow, blow leaves in windrows with wheel blower. Use leaf plow to move rows to truck loader or wherever you want. We use the plow on Dixie Choppers. Its one of those things, you will wonder how you ever worked without it.
  5. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    Welcome to Lawnsite Scotty, always good to see a Dixie Chopper guy join us. :D
  6. Five Star Lawn Care LLC

    Five Star Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,006

    in my eyes the only way to do fall cleanups is with a truck or trailer mounted leaf loader, we use wheeled blowers to gather the leaves into large piles then we just back the truck right up to the pile and start sucking. If the pile is not accesable wethe the truck then we rake the leaves onto giant tarps and drag them to the leaf loader. its quick easy and farely afordable if u do enough clean-ups.
  7. Chip

    Chip LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I have a customer that lives on a heavily wooded lot, never counted the trees. When I first started doing his leaves 10 years ago it took about 30 man hrs. That was just to blow the leaves and pile them in the woods behind his house. What I do now instead of waiting for all the leaves to fall I schedule more cuts in the fall and chop the leaves on a weekly basis. When all the leaves are down I do the final clean-up the grass is shorter, leaves blow better, and the job takes only 10 man hrs. It doesn't have to be perfect because I give the lawn 1 last cut. My price has gone up a little in 10 yrs but profit has gone way up.
  8. Toddppm

    Toddppm LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 268

    on one job we did last year we took the tailgate loader off the truck and put it at the egde of the woods and just shot the ground up leaves into piles then spread them out later. It makes some serious dust though if they are dry, so make sure the wind is not blowing towards the neighbors while they're out there raking!!
  9. Cutter1

    Cutter1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    The best way to do leaves, is to not do them. Sub all the big leaf jobs out!! :) Don't you wish it was that easy
  10. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,354

    Load them in the back of your truck drop tailgate and around midnight head down your local highway at 75mph that will take care of them, BEWARE you might get a $200 ticket for littering. It is a joke and do not want my local and state police thinking I advised this! If they wont pay your increase dont do it.

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