Efficient leaf removal techniques.

Sometimes what seems like a simple straight forwards task, take for instance leaf cleanups, can actually be performed in many ways. Some ways will be faster than others which translates into less time spent on site and more money in your pocket. Here is a great example of that from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Multiple leaf clean up methods are discussed and you will see which way is more efficient.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone explain how they do leaf cleanups except for the generic answers like ‘rake them up’, or ‘I use a blower.’

No one ever takes the time to post exactly ‘how’ they tackle their leaves. There’s obviously more to it than ‘blowing them.’

  • So, what do you do with them after you blow them into a pile? Or don’t you blow them into a pile?
  • Do you blow them against a wall before gathering them, or is it best to blow them out into an open area?
  • Do you use a tarp of some sort? If so, what type? Burlap? A huge blue tarp? What?
  • Do you dump them into your truck/trailer loose, or do you bundle them and toss them in?

Some of us don’t have the luxury of learning by watching others. I’ve asked here before and I’ve seen lots of other people asking too, but I rarely see any truly helpful replies regarding leaf cleanups.

Help us noobies out, please!

I feel retarded having to ask, but while I have twenty plus years experience mowing grass, and can do all sorts of handyman stuff around the house, we don’t have trees nearby, so I’ve never even needed to worry about leaves before. The small amount that drift into my lawn, I just mow over and chop up. My clients, on the other hand, have LEAVES!

Fall Leaf Cleanup

Fall Leaf Cleanup

I often see comments about using a vac to suck them right into the truck, but keep in mind that many noobs don’t have the luxury of purchasing that type of equipment right off the bat, and many of us work alone.

I’d love to walk into my dealer and say ‘I’ll take one of those and one of those, and hey, THAT would make life a lot easier - gimme one of THOSE too!’ The reality is that it’s a struggle just to buy a good leaf blower.

Just looking for tips on the basics. Any advice is good advice.”

A second lawn care business owner shared “This is what I do:

  • Blow them all into a pile with my leaf blower.
  • Spread tarp out next to pile.
  • Use rake and rake as many leaves as I can onto tarp.
  • Then empty leaves from tarp into back of my truck.
  • If the truck fills up then I start emptying them into my trailer.”

A third shared “without a leaf collection system, the above explained is the only route. Where I live, most do it this way, however it takes so long. When I opted for a commercial vac, I had little to no competition and we could not keep up with demand so we bought another. Both paid for themselves the first season and I still had a healthy profit.

Another thing you can do is put high lift mulcher blades on your mower and go over the leaves twice, this will save a ton of room.

Ideally I like to leave the shredded/mulched leaves on the property and cover them with high nitrogen 30-0-0. It brakes the leaves down quick and the client can then use the compost next near.

Some properties we simply could not leave mulched leaves, we had so much business we simply passed on these properties, they were however few as I didn’t work in the city core, mainly bedroom communities which had large properties.

For years on my own property when money was tighter, I used a tow lawn sweeper, I still went over the leaves twice to mulch them up with my tractor then I swept and dumped, results were good to great.

Hope this helps. By hand, it really is a tough job to do.”

A fourth responded “we would never consider using a lawnmower for leaf removal. Maybe if it was just a few and we were already cutting. In my area leaves tend to get bad. I’m talking 5-15 yards of leaves.

We blow out the beds. Try to put all the leaves to one side of the yard, curb or a few piles. Then rake the leaves on to tarps or vacuum curbside with truck. After that you could go over the yard with a vacuum or mower with bagger to make it cleaner looking.

No matter what I tried raking works best. It’s just the slowest way of doing it.”

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