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View Full Version : OT - Leaf/Lawn Sweepers



lynnl
10-29-2005, 09:11 AM
I'm thinking about getting a lawn sweeper to deal with the falling leaves this fall.
But can't decide whether to get the tow behind (38" width) or the 26" push type.

Of course there's several considerations: Storage, maneuverabilty, capacity, etc. I'd think the smaller one would best deal with depressions and variations in the terrain, and working around obstacles. But never having used one, or even watched one in use, it's kind of hard to anticipate just what regrets would follow either decision.

Any of you use them, or have any thoughts to offer?

Cecil Walker
10-29-2005, 09:25 AM
Lynn: Have you considered a mulching attachment for your mower? I threw my bagger away about 10 years ago and put a complete mulching attachment on, have never regretted it. Got a new Z trak (John Deere of course) this year and did the same. Just a thought for your consideration, worked well for me but everyone's conditions are not the same.

timz1999
10-29-2005, 09:48 AM
My dad had one that hooked to the back of the tracktor the only thing i can tell you is that it did not work very well. we were allways messing around with it ( adding weights) and could never get it to work right. maybe they have emproved them by now.
another option is to get the vac system that has a trailer with it and a seprate motor. it is a little pricey but it works like a champ and most have a hose that you can use for cleaning out the flower beds.

lynnl
10-29-2005, 10:38 AM
This mulcher you're talking about Cecil, is that a separate atchmt added on down stream from the deck? ...or in place of?

The mower I have (J.D. LX176) has the mulcher deck & blades. It does a good mulching job with the grass and just scattered leaves. But I have quite a lot of trees, and within the next 2 or 3 weeks the yard'll be covered several inches deep in leaves, mostly poplar, sweetgum, and some maple and hickory. I'd think even mulched, I'd still have a pretty heavy layer of debris.

In the past I've just raked and used a blower to corral the leaves. That works pretty good, but is a little more labor intensive (and a lot louder) than I like. Then after gettin 'em into piles, I have to load 'em into a cart (wheelbarrow) and cart them to my compost bins. ...I'm also a gardener.

As I said, I've never actually seen the sweepers in use, but my daughter and her husband have one, and she said it worked great.

(added) I'm sure those motorized vac's would do a good job, but that's a little more than I wanted to get into, both cost- and storage-wise. It seems like I'm already up to my ears in gadgets, to the point that just storing and maintaining them is a full-time job.

I once heard someone comment, that if ancient man had raked his leaves, then we'd not have the coal reserves that we do. (That was advanced as a case against bothering to rake them of course. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif)

[This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 10-29-2005).]

Cecil Walker
10-29-2005, 11:36 AM
Lynn, to answer your question, it was the mulching deck i was talking about, if you have the mulching deck, mulching blades, and the discharge chute completely closed off, and cutting at a slow speed then you need something else. I have oak, hickory, sweet gum, and some pine, the mulcher does a good job for me with the exception of pine needles. Sometimes I have to go over the yard 2 times to get the residue particles fine enough (dust). I have a few neighbors that do use the lawn sweeper, does a good job once you know their limits and quirks. However, be prepared for the sweeper to require as much work as the bagger. I just preferred to ride and mulch rather than be continually be dumping a bagger or sweeper. Well, i just confirmed that i'm lazy. I do have a large yard (5 acres) but only keep about 2 manicured as required by SWMBO. These are just my preferences for whatever that,s worth, you may have a totally different set of circumstances, good luck.

Bill Pace
10-29-2005, 12:32 PM
It depends on what youre trying to pick up...to a huge degree. Light, fluffy leaves,(say, Maple)-- the mulcher works great, heavier leaves (say, Oak) the mulcher will get strained, and then, there's the horrible pine straw, it'll really take something potent to handle that mess---I speak with first hand knowledge. I did some pretty extensive research to solve my Pine straw problem, I have 80 large pines along with Oak, Maple, Gum, Elm, etc on 2 acres. The walk behind, vacuum only, of the Home Depot kind, are a pain in the a##,-- when getting full, want to tip over and get quite difficult to maneuver, then dumping is a bi#$% plus, they,ll only pick up stuff that a mulcher would take care of anyway. For my pinestraw, I,m using a Cyclone Rake, this is the pull behind the mower, trailer kind with a independant vacuum motor. With mower deck set low and throttle wide open, throwing straw/leaves out, and the large vacuum of the trailer sucking it up, it works very well. I'll have to give the Cyclone a plug, and say their system is better than the other mfgrs I looked at, better vacuum, easier manuevering, easier dumping, etc.
It's still a pain in the butt!!
(No affiliation with Cyclone, just a pleased customer)

3 Phase Lightbulb
10-29-2005, 02:41 PM
I drive over them and mulch them with a riding mower (A cover closes the output). Once I'm done mulching everything, I mulch everything again into powder and wait for the wind to blow the powder into the woods. My yard is completely surrounded by trees so I get tons and tons of leaves. Sometimes 1 foot thick on the ground.. I just keep driving over them until they basically go away http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

-Adrian

andy_b
10-29-2005, 08:19 PM
i do about like most of the others stated. my yard is surrounded by trees (and there are trees in the yard). i just drive over the leaves with the mower (an old Deere 110). i don't have any fancy blades or special blocking plates on the mower deck discharge.

i could see where a problem may develop if you have a 1' thick pile of leaves that laid in one spot all winter and maybe it would kill a patch of grass.

andy b.

Your Old Dog
10-29-2005, 09:05 PM
3Phase, Andy, my brother-in-law insist your technique but I can't imagine it doing so. I have 8 humongous elm and oak trees in the front yard. Does the grass come up decent in the Spring if you inundate it with leaf clippings? I never had a golf course lawn but it always looked good from the road and no mud spots. I'd hate to loose that look.

Some time ago I wanted to build a blower for my utility trailer to drag behind the mower. Then I found out that the arc welder I was going to remove a gas motor from would work if one connection was repaired!! That put the brakes on that project!

RAD1
10-29-2005, 09:50 PM
I take care of my leaves the same way that 3 phase does. I have lots of maple and ash and the leaves pile up to damn near afoot in places. I've tried just about everything to clean them up and i have found that just running them over two or three times with the rider mulches them up just fine and does'nt harm the grass. If anything the mulched leaves feed it.

J Tiers
10-29-2005, 11:13 PM
The only two things that work for me on leaves, are a rake (good) and a hand blower-vac (hard work).

The vac is OK, but a pain with oaks that drop sticks.... advantage is that it does chop up the leaves a bit.

Rake always works, but really is a pain on larger lawns. Raking local piles onto canvas, and then hauling them in the canvas to the shredder is how we do it.

To put this in perspective, I have a smaller lot, but we go and get leaves from the neighbors (we are gardeners).

All the raked leaves go through an old Sears 6 HP shredder before the compost bins get them. But the vac'd ones don't need it, they are pretty torn up, and compost fast.

That said, I'd suggest you consider the vac type, gadget opr no. Odds are that it will leaf-chop enough to get the composting going fast. The sweepers won't do that.

That's assuming you don't shred before piling.

Your Old Dog
10-30-2005, 07:11 AM
I know this may sound stupid but if you do all this grass cutting on cold dry days it works better than early in the morning. I had a rear bagger years ago and it pulverized the leaves into damn near powder if they were dry. Doing it in the morning always got me lots of jams in the rear bagger tube.

SGW
10-30-2005, 07:40 AM
I've tried a bunch of stuff, from hand raking onto a tarp (an astouding amount of work) to driving my pickup truck around the yard and loading the leaves into that (better) to a vacuum attachment on my lawn tractor and blowing the leaves into a pull-behind cart (current system and not too bad).

I got the vacuum attachment for the tractor quite a few years ago. Even then it was pretty expensive and I got the samllest one they sold, which blew the leaves into a 50-gallon plastic trash barrel that sat on a frame on the back of the tractor. When the leaves got really deep the barrel would fill up after about ten feet. I'd have to do 40 or 50 loads for the entire yard, so it seemed like I spent more time emptying than I did filling.
Eventually I made an enclosed pull-behind cart out of scrap lumber and hardware cloth and adapted the vacuum to blow into that. Now it takes about cart 10 loads to do all the leaves. When the cart gets full, I just haul it up to the woods and unload it with a 6-tine pitchfork.