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Thread: OT- Riding mowers for sucking up leaves ?

  1. #1
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is online now Diamond
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    Default OT- Riding mowers for sucking up leaves ?

    This may be a serious breech of manly man-ness, but I know nothing about attachments for riding mowers...never used any "bagging" attachment on any mower. Already have Troy Bilt riding tractor like below and was wondering how the bushel attachment works....does it just collect what the grass cutting blades throw up the tube to the basket ? If so, seems like that wouldn't be effective enough for sucking up leaves. In terms of situation and leaf volume, 1 acre property, maybe two bedsheets full, do have a place to dump collection at back of property. So I might need a whole 'nuther rig with seperate suction capability ? What say ye ?

    Shop Troy-Bilt 20-HP Automatic 42" Riding Mower at Lowes.com

    http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?...llow&cId=PDIO1

    Btw, forget suggesting a leaf blower... just wouldn't do for this situation.

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    Bob49 is offline Aluminum
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    I have a similar catcher on my Snapper riding mower and use it every fall to pick up leaves. There is special blades that have a wing bolted on the ends that help with the suction some, but really create a blowing effect to blow the debris up the tube. The bag fills up quickly and with heavy piles of leaves, the deck sort of plows them ahead of it. I raise the deck when picking up piles of leaves, then lower it back down to really clean it. There's a knack to cleaning the lawn with it, but my mower does a pretty good job of it. I only hand rake stuff away from fences and the like. I have trees with large leaves like white and red oaks.

    The blade doesn't chop the leaves up though, so they go through nearly unmolested. I compost the grass clippings and leaves, so I run that through a compost grinder before going into my composters.

    Bob

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    awake is offline Stainless
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    Milacron,

    Are you only looking for mower-related solutions? If so, stop reading now.

    I am still experimenting with the best way to deal with my ever-increasing leaves each fall. (My neighbor planted a half-dozen trees a few years ago, all of which deposit the majority of leaves in my yard!) I have used a leaf blower with a vacuum attachment, and it works, but is tedious -- perhaps that is your experience as well, and why you said "no leaf blowers."

    However, I have a new plan for this fall -- yet to be seen if/how well it will work! I picked up a used chipper/shredder to deal with some brush, and it does a great job. It came with a bag, and is set up so that the large infeed can be lowered to the ground to take in leaves. I had not bought it for that purpose, but tried it recently on some large leaf "rows" against a fence that I had not had time to deal with. Wow! It does an incredible job of chopping up even wet leaves. So this fall, my plan is to set it up with the bag, running, and use the leaf blower to blow the leaves straight into it. We'll see if/how that works ... but I am anticipating that it will be an improvement over my current method!

    The ideal, of course, would be to join the chipper/shredder to a riding lawnmower, along with extra-large collection bags. Hmm, sounds like a good project for a machinist ...

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    I just put mulching blades on my 62" 25 hp "0"turn mower. chop them up and turn them into fertilizer. It saves you having to mess with emptying the bag as well. I mow about 3 acres.

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    robmc is offline Cast Iron
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    Put gator style mulching blades on your mower. They will chop up the leaves and make the vacuum attachment more efficient. In the future..... if you ever get a chance to buy a good used walker mower with the suction unit and box as one unit....... you will never believe how good it is for cutting grass, vacuuming leaves, etc. It has an out front deck and turns on a dime. I bought one as soon as I retired and got the snowblower attachment for it.

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    jkeyser14 is offline Aluminum
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    I have Troybilt like yours with a mulching blade. My yard is 1.25 acres with a lot of mature trees. The mulching blade doesn't do much to help once the leaves really start falling. I've got a "yard sweeper" attachment that the previous owner left and while it works ok, it really requires several passes to pick up everything and doesn't work on wet leaves.

    My neighbor has one of those baggers on his mower and he let me borrow the mower a few times last fall. It was a night and day difference and left the lawn looking completely clean. The vacuumed volume of leaves is only slightly more compact than hand raking however, so if you have a large yard like I do, you'll spend as much time "vacuuming" as you will emptying the bagger, but it is 10000x better than doing it by hand. I would buy one if he ever stopped letting me borrow it.

  7. #7
    projectnut is online now Cast Iron
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    I had a similar system on a Bolens tractor (Bolens was bought out by Troybuilt) and it did an "adequate" but not spectacular job. It did take a set of mulching blades but even then it only reduced the volume by about 30%.

    I ended up selling it and replacing it with a (now obsolete) John Deere 445 with a blower/bagger system. The blower/chopper fits on the discharge end of the mower deck and is powered by a belt from a second pulley added to the last blade tower. This system chops the leaves into pieces about 1/2" square so it reduces the volume considerably. 10 bushels of leaves are reduced to 1 giong to the bags.

    This may not be important if you don't have a lot of mature trees, but it greatly reduces the amount of time and space needed clean the lawn should you need to clean up a large area with lots of trees.

    Another option that does an excellent job is an Agrifab Mow N Vac. The vacumn/shredder is powered by it's own engine and the whole thing is mounted on a 26 or 32 bushel cart.

    Agri-Fab Tow-Behind Mow-N-Vac, Model# 55188 | Lawn Vacuums | Northern Tool + Equipment

    There are other less expensive versions that mount on your own pull behind cart if you happen to already have one. The nice thing is that it fits just about any tractor and holds a lot of material before needing to be emptied.

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    DR makes some stuff that gets with the program. the brush mower is very impressive. if you want to kill the engine you need to mow up a tire or 5 gallon steel bucket. the stuff you see on television does not do it justice, it will eat small trees for breakfast.

    My dad also has the brush mower and the vacuum he tows with a John deere lawn tractor and it picks up walnuts and any other mess you want gone.


    DRŪ Power Equipment - Leaf Vacuum / Lawn Vacuum - self propelled and tow behind Leaf Vacuum

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    RAD1 is offline Aluminum
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    I'll second the tow behind DR Leaf Vacuum, I've used it for many years now. what a labor and time saver.

    Rick
    oldbikerdude37 likes this.

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    S_W_Bausch is offline Diamond
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    Jeff is offline Hot Rolled
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    I've got a cart type bagger on a JD425. Right at the discharge for the mower deck there is a belt operated "fan". The belt is driven off a pulley on top of the mower blade spindle. I've got a couple acres, with woods on three sides, and 75+ trees in the yard. Very happy with the system. No way you're gonna mulch that many leaves.

  12. #12
    tmt
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    Walker mower, they aren't cheap. They even have one that will dump the grass catcher into the back of your pickup or a trailer without leaving the comfort of your seat, preferably a dump trailer.

    I have many trees, and this is the only one that will effectively do the job with not only grass but leaves. Cushman use to make the best one with a hydraulic dump, but they are no longer in business.

  13. #13
    AeroE is offline Cast Iron
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    I finally had to concede to getting all the grass clippings off my yard this spring. A week is needed to rake up windrows by hand, so that ain't happening any longer.

    I bought a sweeper to pull behind my Kubota utility tractor, and I'm happy with the results. Grass and leaves are swept equally well. This is the machine I bought: www.agri-fab.com - 44" SmartSWEEP .

    Don't install the goofy dump handle, use a short piece of rope tied off to the mower.

    This sweeper has two weaknesses. The minor one are the screws for quick takedown for storage; they aren't locked and I lost one during the second long session. The worst one are the spreader rods inside the bag made from non heat treated steel, about 3/16th's inch diameter. The rods are bowed and a heavy grass load can pull them out of their sockets. Annoying, but workable as it's not a constant problem.

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    kc5ezc is offline Aluminum
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    Milacron: Try the two pass method. Cheaper than the DR vacuum and may be better in some ways.
    First pass is with mulching blades onthe mower with the mower outlet blocked. In other words mulch the leaves. Works best when the leaves are dry.
    Second pass with a bagger on the mower and regular blades (I am to lazy to change the blades) to pickup most of the mulched leaves.
    Pile the mulched leaves together, keep them watered and you will get leaf mold for the garden.
    I use a craftsman mower and bagger. Not as good as a DR vacuum but $2000 cheaper.
    I have about 4 acres of leaves from oak and hickory. It does not get most of the acorns.
    John Burchett
    in Byng OK

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    MwTech Inc is offline Stainless
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    One acre, two bed sheets of leaves?

    Find a older 28" Hi-Vac Snapper with the rear bag.

    Cheap to run, cheap to fix, last forever.

    Will vacuum anything off the yard, clean.

    Store on its rear end rest of year(has provision to do this)

  16. #16
    Mulva is offline Aluminum
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    if you only have a couple trees, that mower attachments works fine, assuming dry conditions. (or at least that has been my experience with a cub cadet and nearly identical bagging unit)

    you will get occasional clogs when small branches get hung up in the flexible section connecting the bagger and the mower deck.

    if you have a lot of leaves, be prepared to stop and empty the unit SEVERAL times in one yard mowing. Its better to rake the dense areas of leaves and use the bagger for cleanup in that case.

    so in conclusion, not perfect but better than a rake and a bed sheet..

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    Cuchullain is offline Aluminum
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    Default O. T. Riding Mowers

    I have about 2 acres in the woods. I could and did mow the lawn with a small push mower but bought a rider in order to rake the leaves. Within days my entire lawn can be entirely covered, in some places up to 6 inches deep. What works for me is to pick a dry day and cut the grass??? several times without the bags. Then I put the bagging unit on to pick up the finely ground leaves. This saves endless emptying of the bags and the leaves compost very quickly.

    If the leaves are wet the bagging mechanism jams up repeatedly.

  18. #18
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    cash register is offline Aluminum
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    Let me start off by saying that I am in no way associated or own stock in this comapny, but the Cylcone Rake, is the best bagger you could ever get.

    I looked at them for several years and hesitated because I thought that $1500, was a lot of money for something for bagging grass and leaves. If I had known then, what I know now after owning one, I would have bought it right away.

    The suction is unbelievable, easy to use, it attaches to the mower with a rigid hitch system and has swivel wheels on the back. The new bags have velco, so no zippers to deal with.

    The lawn looks perfect and vacuummed when I am done. I use it almost every mowing now, and have had less weeds because of it, and no dead grass laying around on my 1.75 acres of lawn with Maples and Oaks. In the fall it picks up leaves and small twigs with ease.

    It is worth checking out. Customer service has been the best. I had to buy a new bag due to my error and it was shipped and I had it within 2 days. I also asked for some replacement buckles and they were sent no charge. fast friendly service, and a high quality US product!

  19. #19
    dsergison is offline Diamond
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    I thought this waas a machinist forum? don't you people make stuff like this?

    mines the one at the bottom, fabbed from a scrap fryer.

    Low budget rider leaf vac - WeldingWeb™ - Welding forum for pros and enthusiasts

  20. #20
    Ron of Va is online now Aluminum
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    I have tried it all. Mulching, bagging, raking, and blowing. They all suck.

    By far! The best way to clean up the yard to a presentable condition is to install a mulching attachment on your lawn tractor, AND pull a lawn sweeper behind it. The tractor chops up the leaves, and the sweeper picks up the majority of the small bits. Now compacted, the leaf debris is packed into the sweeper. The sweeper will hold as much chopped up leaves, as 5 or 6 loads of the double bags the tractor will hold. Sears sells the best sweeper for this because of the tall back.
    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...2&blockType=G2
    It does not do as good a job as the vacuum, and it will a leave a little leaf mulch on the yard, but barely enough to notice. I can do an acre of leaves in about an hour, with very little manual labor.
    Drive to your dump area, and pull the rope to dump, you don’t even have to get off the tractor.
    Last edited by Ron of Va; 07-06-2011 at 09:32 PM.

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