sweetgum balls giving my JD fits, please help!


LawnSite Member
I have a John Deere 737 ZTrak. Recently taking on several accounts with a more than normal supply of sweetgum balls has been giving me fits. They are lodging in my mule drive pulley thus causing havoc on my belts. I can usually stop in time to dislodge the ball but it a trmendous nuisance/time waster. Any advise as to what to do? Thanks. James


LawnSite Silver Member
how are they gettin into the belts and pulleys?

sounds like a design flaw to me.



LawnSite Member
No on the knee deep, as I pass over the top after cutting,. they kick up into the pulley located just behind the mower deck. I've solved some of the problem by push mowing where they are in the largest quantities and idling down and raising my heighth where they are fewer in numbers but time is money as we all know and I'm not at all crazy about push mowing anything. JW


LawnSite Senior Member
I have one(thankfully) property with alot of those things on the ground and they ARE a hassle.They don't mulch worth a damn and each time you run over them your tires press them into the ground where you have to remove them by hand.They get all underneath my decks and lodge in impossible to reach places.
I'm glad they're finally off the trees.


LawnSite Member
Charlotte, NC
Try to work out something with the owners so you can charge to remove them. Old fashioned raking is the only good way to get them up, unfortunately. And don't underbid the job. Figure your labor x $/hr. and add 20% 'cause there's always more than you think. I learned the hard way a few weeks ago. Also, be careful mowing over them 'cause they will break a window in a hurry! Good luck.


LawnSite Member
Hardwick, MA
Can you talk the owners into having an arborist micro-inject the trees with Snipper to prevent gum ball production (in the future)?

Less hassle for you, they get a neater lawn... everybody is happy.