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I'm guessing this would be the spot to start a topic about Leaf Removal...or in my case, leaf "management". I have 5 75' Oak Trees that shed like crazy (I learned this past fall the hard way). I have 1/2 acre, and get some leaves from a neighbor. To be short, I get a crap load of leaves.

 

I have a John Deere Sabre (cheapo HD brand John Deere - 38" deck which is perfect size for me) with a bagger attachment....the bagger got clogged instantly, and I got mad instantly when trying to suck up leaves.

Question #1 - would a pair of mulching blades had made a difference?

 

Since the bagger wasn't sufficient, I resorted to an electric ($50 HD special) Toro vacuum/blower, and a lot of sweat and tears with me, and a rake. I eventually got my hands on a Little Wonder 6HP push blower...but I had very bad luck with that. I think I was using it on windy days, and it was counter-productive.

Question #2 - has anyone have luck (good or bad) with Little Wonder blowers?

 

I have since done some research, and have decided I need a leaf vacuum of some sort.

Question #3 - has anyone used a push leaf vacuum?

 

Finally, I'm eyeballing a tow behind kind...but don't want to drop $1K...I've seen some homemade, DIY specials on Youtube...but no series on how they built the pull behind leaf vacuums.

Question #4 (the question I'm most curious about) - has anyone built, or even used, a pull behind leaf vacuum? If so, any thoughts, tips, advice???

 

I'm using these models as reference:

http://www.cyclonerake.com/classic.htm

http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-soft-top-vac-riding-mower-attachment/p-07125012000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

 

I'd probably go with the Craftsman if I bought...that way I get points...lol. However, I think I could figure out a way to fabricate one of these, but want to know if it would be worth it.

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There are a few people around here that have some larger lots I'm not one of them. How old are the blades on the mower you might want to find some really sharp mulching blades first. When it clogged were the leaves dry or wet?

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DR,

 

The blades were new. The leaves were mostly dry. I didn't just try it once, I tried a few times, and would have to go over small piles to not clog the outlet pipe. The bags would fill up almost instantly, which is the main reason I stopped trying to bag it all. I could control the blockage, but couldn't control the bags filling up so quick...it was quicker to rake!

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Sounds like you're having the same issue I was a couple years back. I live in the country now and the only real leaf accumulation is at the edge of the property.

Vacs are a pain in the ass and I generally spent more time emptying the bag than I did vacuuming.

Here's what I recommend trying before you drop a bunch of money for the ability to work yourself to death.

Put a set of mulching blades on your JD. That will benefit you all season long.

Secondly, get yourself one of those pull behind lawn sweepers. Google shopping reveals a 38" Agri-Fab brand with good reviews for $218. You can get a push model for +/- $150, but piss on that shit! Conductor is lazy by the time autumn comes calling and will gladly spend $70 to sit on his ass for a couple extra hours now and then.

It won't be perfect, but if you want perfect, you can do a finish run with a blower/vac and be at a much, much, much, more manageable level.

BTW: I grew up with a White Oak that was close to 90' in my back yard. I can't imagine 5 big ones like that. Good luck man!

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I guess when you say you have a crap load of leaves you really mean it! Another option is a really good backpack blower and then something else to suck up and mulch the leaves except that comes really close to the cost of one of those leaf suckers!

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Yeah, I guess the only option is to adopt 3, 12 year old guys, and put them to work!!!

 

I definitely need mulching blades, no question. I was looking at the lawn sweepers as a compromise, and hearing some input from Conductor adds weight to that argument.

 

I'd be more than happy to do a drive-by every night after work for 30 minutes, and dump the results. This would save losing 3 entire weekends!!!

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I can answer #2 real well. I do some landscaping here and there(right now i have several accounts, 3 residential and 4 commercial(yes 4 commercial im in heaven) but anyways my dad purchased the same model little wonder that you have. He owns a fittness gym which has  a mile nature trail which is cover with trees the whole way....well anyways he bought this to blow that off.....it does wonders We use it at the house the past couple weeks because the leaves are starting to fall, we have a little under an acre, crank that thing up and do a few passes and it blows all the leaves where you want them. So now i keep it on a trailer for when i do lawns and on the commercial properties( one is the gym) I use it as its main use as a parking lot blower and then again it does wonders. If it is a windy day, its a lost cause, especially if you are blowing into the wind. I wait a day till the wind dyes down and it does wonders. I have never had a problem with it, its a commercial tool.

 

Also invest in mulching blades as stated above. 

Hope this helps

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I have a partial solution....I got an estimate on taking down the 5 Oaks...1 would be $600, and the other 4 would be $750. Plus an additional $150 to grind each stump.

 

I think we're going to take 2 down in late February / early March. That should help!

 

And btw...those prices are insanely low for my area! Especially considering the size of the trees...guy said I'd get about 2 cords of wood per tree. He's a friend of the family, and is doing me a solid with the low prices!

 

I'll still justify getting some type of leaf vacuum in the fall...lol

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DJ - This is what works for me. I blow as many leaves into the yard from the flower beds and bark mulched areas as I can. Then I ride over them and mulch them into little pieces. I then do a second pass with the bags installed and collect the leaves that way. 

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  • 1 month later...

2 trees gone...$1800 for 2 trees taken down, and 3 stumps ground. I should have taken a picture...the shorter, straighter (healthier looking) tree, had a 6" diameter hole in the stump. It was only a matter of time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Brandon, I agree.

 

However, there are still 3 MONSTERS in my yard that will shed plenty! As as result, I'm going to take Conductor's advice, and start with the leaf sweeper.

 

I do wish I had a justifiable excuse to get a tow behind leaf vacuum...but I don't have enough excess $$$, storage space, or open landscape to justify it....too many turns will make it more trouble than it's worth I think in my yard.

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  • 5 months later...

Have a looksy at my new answer!

 

I got it off a guy I know from high school...paid $300, and it's practically brand new. He took it on as a trade, and has no use for it.

 

I ran it for 45 minutes this past weekend...I think the carbon is cleared from it now! I think the nozzle is partially clogged, and/or gets clogged very quickly. The hose has tremendous suction! I'll keep you all posted with how this works!!!

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