What do I do with all the Leaves?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnmowingboys, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. lawnmowingboys

    lawnmowingboys LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Our city has a new rule...All yard waste must be placed in a plastic container. Leaves may also be placed in a plastic container or left in the street for collection.

    And for further clarrification, a plastic container is not a plastic trash bag!?! The city workers apparently are not paid enough to empty trash bags into a trash truck!

    What do I do with all the leaves? On smaller properties I will blow leaves off of the lawn first (into street, of course) then mow grass. I hate doing this, the leaves blow back into the yard and it takes the city about 3 weeks to suck them up. On larger properties I suck them up with a bagging system. While using the bagging system, I am always getting grass clippings in with the leaves. Believe it or not, the grass is going crazy, 7 inches of rain in last 2 weeks and it's 70 degrees today. Wow, Southern Indiana! Of course. most clients have 1 or 2 plastic trash containters, that they put trash in!

    Furthermore, the city will let you bring all the clippings and leaves to their recycling facility; however, only during the hours, 7 AM to 3 PM. The city's recycling facility is not located near any lawn I take care of and I work past 3 PM.

    Do I dump the leaves and grass clippings in the street? Throw them in the back of the truck and take to city recycling the next day, while they blow all over the place when driving there? Call a farmer and ask if he has a sink hole that needs filled? or dump in mayor's yard?

    I am looking for suggetions. Keep this thought in mind as you answer.....It rained 4 inches one day last week and 2 inches one day this week. Half of the city streets were flooded because all of the leaves had been blow or raked into the street gutters. Will the city ban leaves in the streets next?

    What would you do with my leaves?
  2. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    I don't know what kind of mowers you are running, but I'd look into MegMos or dedicated mulching kits to eliminate the bulk of the leaves. I can't believe you can put leaves in the streets / gutters there.Around here, that's a $ 100.00 first offense fine, no warning. If that's not an option, try to collect them as best you can,collectively, and make a trip to the muni dump early one morning before starting your route. That's a lot of rain to deal with, best of luck.
  3. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    One city here--Fayetteville, AR--put in a similar policy. Except they require the "biodegradable" paper bags for lawn waste. What a joke! These bags hold half as much and cost over twice as much, and split easily when you try to stuff them. And Fayetteville does not have a service to pick up leaves that have been blown to the curb.

    And their recycling/compost facility is only open 2 days a week, and like yours only until 3:00 in the afternoon, and like you, I don't have any accounts ANYWHERE close to that part of town. AND they charge a fee to dump.

    So that has seriously raised the price I have to get for picking up leaves, and seriously reduced the number of customers who hire me for leaf removal. And on some of my lawns with huge oaks, maples, or sweet gums, there is no way mulching the leaves will ever get rid of them, or satisfy the customer,

    So for those people who have still wanted me to pick up leaves, I will pack the trailer until full, leave the equipment at the customer's house, make the trip to the compost facility by 3:00, and try to charge accordingly.

    I generally scoop large piles of leaves onto plastic tarps, drag them into the trailer, stacking one tarp on top of another until I can't pull another tarp up on top of the pile. I use a Grasshopper front mount on lawn areas, and back into the trailer to dump on tarps. The leaf volume is reduced by at least 80% using the mower. The use of the tarps makes unloading take about 1/10 of the time it would take to scoop/blow/rake leaves out of the trailer.

    But like I said I don't do nearly the leaves in Fayetteville that I did 6 years ago. What do my customers do with them? My guess is a lot of them use the Johnny Scrub Guys who come in and work for $10 an hour per man. We have a ton of them here.

    The work is extremely sloppy--lots of stuff left in corners, etc. and I get the detail work done in the spring before or with the first mowing.

    Whatever. I'm disgusted with the whole deal.
  4. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Mulch them. They provide valuable organic matter.
  5. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,432

    Here we either blow them to a big pile near the curbline and the town will come by and suck them up.Or we can haul them to the recycle center for free but they close at 3.Not much else you can do you cant just leave them all over the lawns.Mulching blades helps alot.
  6. Freshcut Lawn Care

    Freshcut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    We currently have access to the city compost here 24/7 as we have paid a deposit for the key to the locked entrance. This works very well for us and we are only 15 minutes away from any of our customers. Some people are messing up this great set up, as they are apparently dumping garbage, lumber, etc. as well as loaning out their keys to family members. :realmad:

    As usual, it only takes the minority to mess it up for the majority. The city is ticked off and wants all the keys back by seasons end! :cry:

    They are not sure what they are going to do next season!


    In any case, to answer your question....I would take them with me and dump them the next morning right at 7:00 a.m. sharp!

    We use large clear bags and load up our 18 ft. trailer and dump them at the compost site (sometimes the next day)!

    Why not try a tarp over the pile in your truck. This should contain the majority. I wouldn't leave them on the side of the road; especially if the customer had just paid extra to clean them up! Plus the fact they may be plugging up the sewer system seems to be a bit of a problem!

  7. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    Your sitting on a gravy train of a situation and your asking what to do with the leaves! Put them in the street. Our town of Edison,NJ used to pickup piled leaves at the curb line and that was great, Then they stopped and now we work harder. Take advantage of the situation while you still can.
  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    We do not have the plastic container rule but the do allow curbside dumping during the spring and the fall for collection. Why on earth would you not consider dumping them in the street? If you blow them there and dump the grass on top they will stay for the most part. If not, mulch them up to reduce tham and dump them in the street.
    Leaves are a pain to remove to the dump as is grass or anything else. The only way that I would take anything away is for a very good extra amount of maney. That is between you and your customers. If they want you to remove them then it has to be worth the inconvenience that it causes you. I'm gonna figure that it is a major inconvenience.

    We used to have 24/7 compost area too and the same thing happened here Freshcut. Problem being that they did not give anyone the key, they hired an old dude to sit there on certain days for a few hours to babysit the dump. Now it is really a pain to haul anything away so it all gets put to the curb. One way or another the city gets the stuff but some bad eggs ruined it for everyone.
  9. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    Install a leaf box on your truck and get a loader.You now have a great reason to charge your customers more for leaf cleanup and disposal.Blame it on the city.Fill the box up during the week and unload it once or twice each week.Add disposal fees to your billing.Send out a letter first,outlining the city's new policy and the new charge.
    Another idea is to buy plastic containers and rent them to your customers on a per month basis.Fill them up and let the city dispose of them.
  10. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822


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