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Leaf control with riding lawn mower or push behind vacuum?

  • Riding lawn mower all the way!

    Votes: 44 95.7%
  • Suck it up and use the vacuum!

    Votes: 2 4.3%
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

As of a few months ago, I am a first time home owner.

I have 5 mature oaks on my .7 acre property as well as some other leaf shedding trees.



As some of you may know, I recently bought a riding lawn mower. I also have a 6hp Craftsman push behind yard vacuum that the previous owners gave to me to help with the leaves. It works quite well. but is not very wide.

My question is, what are your thoughts on using a riding lawnmower deck to mulch/ blow the leaves into a corner of the yard for pickup vs using the yard vacuum.

My thoughts are that it's less work and more fun with the mower but the acorns and such are probably not very friendly to the riding mower deck. Plus, the tractor will need a bath afterwards to clean off all the dust and junk and I've already turned off my outside water (sprinkler system winterized). That means I need to tap into an indoor water source to wash it off. Not a problem really as my wash machine hook up is right near my garage, but a slight inconvenience.

What do you think - riding lawn mower, or leaf vacuum?

PS I'll make it a poll just for fun.
 

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I mow the leaves around the house and the rest of my 2 acres I let God take care of them.......As for the acorn,I have a walnut tree that I mow last and they clean my deck out really good.......John....:fing32: :fing32: :fing32:.
 

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I would get some mulching blades for the mower. Then make a hitch to pull the vacuum with the mower. You could convert a trailer pull behind later.
 

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I used to round up the leaves with a Swisher sweeper, and don't get me wrong, it did a wonderful job. But with an open lot I own right next to me, I was constantly on the sweeper every night during the fall. The sweeping I didn't mind, because it was seat time. But every night all those leaves had to be hauled 3 miles out of town to the city's compost pile. So I sold the sweeper to a friend and installed a homemade mulch plate to my lawn tractor. I haven't regretted it since and I feel the mulched leaves are beneficial as fertilizer for the lawn. Just my take on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I mow the leaves around the house and the rest of my 2 acres I let God take care of them.......As for the acorn,I have a walnut tree that I mow last and they clean my deck out really good.......John....:fing32: :fing32: :fing32:.
Haha, good point on the deck clean out :) Mine is pretty clean as I have been using the washout port, but still a good point.

I would get some mulching blades for the mower. Then make a hitch to pull the vacuum with the mower. You could convert a trailer pull behind later.
Interesting! Hmm. I'll have to think about this one a bit more...
I assume I would need to cover up my deck discharge? Do the mulching blades make a big difference? I suppose it saves the edge on the cutting blades by having a dedicated set...

I used to round up the leaves with a Swisher sweeper, and don't get me wrong, it did a wonderful job. But with an open lot I own right next to me, I was constantly on the sweeper every night during the fall. The sweeping I didn't mind, because it was seat time. But every night all those leaves had to be hauled 3 miles out of town to the city's compost pile. So I sold the sweeper to a friend and installed a homemade mulch plate to my lawn tractor. I haven't regretted it since and I feel the mulched leaves are beneficial as fertilizer for the lawn. Just my take on the subject.
Nice, what did you make the mulch plate out of?
 

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There are special mulching blades that chop up the leafs more. You could just mow throwing in to the unmulched area that would make for a smaller pick up area with the vacuum.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are special mulching blades that chop up the leafs more. You could just mow throwing in to the unmulched area that would make for a smaller pick up area with the vacuum.

Thanks Don - would I need to cover the deck discharge with mulching blades?
 

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How about a third option, that being a sweeper? I sometimes sweep when the leaves are damp so that more fits in the hopper. Later into the Fall, I drop the blades lower and scalp the lawn, mulching up whatever leaves are left and sweep up all of it. That cuts down on the amount of thatch and snow mold but makes for a very large compost pile.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How about a third option, that being a sweeper? I sometimes sweep when the leaves are damp so that more fits in the hopper. Later into the Fall, I drop the blades lower and scalp the lawn, mulching up whatever leaves are left and sweep up all of it. That cuts down on the amount of thatch and snow mold but makes for a very large compost pile.
That would be cool, but I'm pretty much 'at my budget' for the tractor this year. Sounds slick though.
 

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Well... you didn't say this was a short pencil job. Put down a big tarp down wind and "herd" the leaves onto it with the side discharge. Lift the "full" tarp by the four corners and the leaves are "in the bag".

I've got a couple of acres cleared and am surrounded by forest so get a lot of leaves. My mulch pile once compressed gets to be as big as of a full size pickup. You can see it in the following thread.
http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=67125
 

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Instead of my all-in-one tractor/mulcher/leaf vacuum bagger... if I had the 2 you have, I'd opt to herd the leaves into small areas and vac 'em up. Even without a mulcher setup on your tractor the more you run over them in circles towards the discharge side the smaller the pieces get. Then it's a more efficient go with the vac, smaller pieces allow better filling bags.

I have a giant oak, 3 Norway maples, 2 white pines and a row of fine needle spruce on half the acreage you have and all of their byproducts go up the bagger chute on the tractor. BTW, don't worry about the smaller twigs and acorns, they compost along with the leaves (if you compost) they won't hurt the deck at all.

You have the required equipment, you just have to experiment with what will work the best and easiest for what you have. I like the big tarp idea also, it could be a real time saver if your vac is relatively small. I'd "pin" the corners of the tarp with 3/8" rebar (cheap @Lowes/HmDpot) and blow them right on to it.
 

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Catch the leaves when they are dry and mow/mulch and they're gone into little bitty pieces. No mulching blades needed and the deck gets cleaned.
 

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Jay, my mulch plate isn't really a plate. It's 1/4" hardware cloth that I formed to fit over my discharge. It's held on by the chute at the top and heavy duty zip ties at the bottom. It restricts airflow a bit and keeps the leaves inside the deck so they get chopped into itty-bitty pieces.
 

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Unfortuately,I could only vote for one--needed to ck both.I use a Snapper HiVac with a catcher,chop,suck and their gone to the garden!I've got leaf drop that'll be up to your knees in no time.Guess that's why I don't do much winterizing,it's an all year thing around my place.
 

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What kind of tractor did you get? Some will have a " mulching " chute discharge cover that clips right on. All you need to do is slow/ stop the air a bit, and use high lift blades like the Gators as suggested.

Oak leaves are tough, and often it requires a couple passes over them to mulch 'em up, but that just means more seat time.:fing32:

Push around a yard vac on nearly an acre? With trees and woods all around? I did it . ONCE. :bonk:
 

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My JD STX38 has high lift blades, really shoots the leaves well......I just blow them on to the garden where they get tilled in....a lot get ground into the lawn on the way.
 

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I mulch weekly until the oaks drop their leaves, then there are just too many. Then it's a couple weeks of bagging, except that the bagger will fill in about one pass across the front yard. So my procedure is to keep driving after the bagger is clogged, mulching the entire yard, then I empty the bagger and start another pass picking up the mulched leaves. Two passes reduces the leaf volume to a manageable level. It's still a number of trips to the compost pile even with the triple bagger, but it sure beats raking!
 

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It's still a number of trips to the compost pile even with the triple bagger, but it sure beats raking!
Just about anything beats raking.:biglaugh::tee:
 
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