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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In SW Connecticut. I'm surrounded by mature trees and have a few in the front yard myself. My neighbor has two enormous maples trees on the road they started dropping and blowing down to me around October 15th. I have Japanese maples that just started slowly dropping their leaves in the past 2 weeks. On top of that there are oaks that do whatever they want, an overgown magnolia and some Norweigen maples will still green leaves.

I would like to continue push mowing and will probably overseed again in two years. I'm running a 21" EV and also a EV handhed blower with many batteries, both Makita. My wife is going to kill me if I follow these practices again next year but it is looking like 6 weeks of constantly clearing leaves. I've be hauling tarps and bagging and I'm exhausted. This is not fun. And this is just the front yard. Backyard is easier to blow into woods but still another 12ksqft.

Any recommendations? Can I hitch a sweeper to my push mower? Is there a leaf vac I could push like once a week that will shred the leaves so I'm not making a dozen trips to the piles in the back?
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are just too many leaves to mulch them consistently. I will mulch if the cover is light but I'm getting massive coverage every couple days. I picked up a push gas machine but it needs a part. Hoping this rig will at least help me move massive piles deep back into the woods next year. Plenty of neighbors let the leaves sit for longer than I am comfortable wit, although with my geography (downhill and down wind from mass neighborly trees) I get it the worst.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey man. I feel you. I have the exact same size lawn and am surrounded by maple and oak on all 4 sides.

The amount of leaves that I get is staggering and in no way can you mulch those in. I tried ut one year, I had sections of grass just matted down with leaves. Grass died, not possible basically.

Since I have trees on all sides, my aim is to usually push the leaves into the tree line.

Eventually I would advise you to save up for a much bigger mower with a bagging system. It's worth it.
Thanks @uts . I can definitely implement this strategy in the back yard pretty easily. Front yard is a little trickier but I get the logic behind it. Really want to get a EV ZT with nice bagging system but those are still primo bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I live one town away from you and know your situation well. Back in the days when I did the leaves myself, I had both a push and backpack blower, but even those weren’t powerful enough to move the leaf piles once they got to a certain size. I now use a landscaper, and he uses 3-4 people working together to get all of the leaves into the woods.

Here‘s a suggestion that you probably won’t like: wait until Spring to clean up the leaves. Here is my rationale:

- Some oak trees won’t drop all of their leaves until new growth comes out in the Spring.

- No matter how many times you clean up, the wind will blow more leaves onto your property anyway.

- The leaves will dry out and be much lighter in the Spring, making them easier to blow into the woods..

- A lot of dead branches & other debris will fall on your lawn over the winter anyway, so why not just do one medium-difficulty cleanup rather than several difficult ones?
Big part of the problem is that I overseeded Sept 10th and leaves started falling a month later so I was paranoid about getting enough sunlight for the babies to get them to thicken up. I think part of the reason my front was in such bad shape is the previous owner was probably not so diligent about leaf cleanup or tree pruning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This year I got a riding mower with a big double bagger. 42" deck. Does a good job of just sucking up the leaves and I dump in the woods, or you can bring to the street. Sometimes you might have to empty often, but still pretty easy work since you are just sitting. Also keep the grass short so leaves just blow off of it.
I think this where I am headed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
With as much property you have, a 21" EV literally doesn't look like its cutting it. Something like the 30" Timemaster would help speed the process up and provide power to mulch the leaves properly.
Hey @macattack . This push blower comes with a 28" deck but it isn't very enjoyable to cut with. I should probably try it with mulching and see how it does. The mechanism to switch the attachments is broken so will need to wait until next year.

Ideally I would get a 42" ZT for time crunch and leaves and then just push when I feel like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I hate to be "that guy" but EV ZTRs are still way too much money IMO. You can buy a gas powered ZTR of the same or better quality, with a bagging system, and still have enough money saved to take the wife out to dinner every week for the next year.
It seems like everything is a ton a money these days! I'm really keen on staying away from gas engines as much as possible going forward. Hopefully prices drop as there is more adoption for residential use-cases. In the meantime I'll be saving while pushing (and complaining)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If it's for convenience reasons, something like a ZTR/Lawn tractor isn't nearly as troublesome as handheld equipment. For most, I think battery handheld is fine, even if it does come at a bit of a premium over gas equipment. But $5,500 for an EV ZTR vs $3,200 for an equivalent gas unit seems like an eye-watering premium to pay. That said - a shiny new EGo just showed up in my neighborhood, maybe he'll let me try it out. You know, for science!
I think it is part convenience, part being scarred from inheriting an old SCAG on my old property and all it put me through. I also like the quiet and the feel of electric - crazy I know. I hope your neighbor is willing to lend it out for science! Would love to get your impressions :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I feel your pain as I have a fairly wooded lot with fully grown Oaks and Maples. Mulching the leaves into the yard would leave a 4” thick layer over the lawn. It’s hard enough to grow grass in this much shade, I don’t need to smother the grass that I’ve been able to grow. I’ve tried a dozen different methods over the years and have finally settled on my current method. The first step is vigilance, the earlier in the leaf season and the more frequently you can work the yard the easier the task is each time. I blow everything into either the street or the driveway depending on the wind direction. Then I mulch mow them on the hard surface. I find it to be less stress on the mower, and me, and it allows for the leaves to be mulched much finer than if in the yard. I finish up with a push broom and snow shovel and get things bagged up. This gets me down to around six bags per session as opposed to 25+ if un-mulched.
Thanks @mapes101 . Yeah the 4" layer is a real thing. I think this approach would work really well on my front yard since the drive runs the whole stretch on one side. Right now I've started to settle on blowing them into a huge pile along the tree line barrier with the neighbors propetry until the rest fall down. I'm going to try mulching that pile on the driveway and see how the mower handles it. Maybe I can haul it with 1 or 2 tarp drags!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
@wiltonlawn I used to have a lawn surrounded by trees like yours, and used to blow the leaves onto tarps and then compost them or drag them to the curb where they would be picked up by the municipality. This approach got the job done but was terribly labor intensive.

Eventually I stumbled on the Accelerator grass catcher. I could go over the lawn and suck up the leaves and the mower (equipped with gator blades) would chop the leaves into little bits. This reduced the volume of the leaves considerably, probably well over a factor of five. In fact, the volume was reduced so much that I just found a small spot at the back of the yard and piled all the bits there. By the next fall the bits were largely decomposed.

The amount of time required was probably a tenth of what I spent blowing the leaves onto a tarp. So it was a big win both in terms of shrinking the volume of the leaves and in terms of the time needed to deal with them. Your Makita, being a rear discharge, probably can’t be adapted to accept an Accelerator catcher. But if you can swing the purchase of a side discharge commercial walk behind you might find this a viable solution.
I do have a 28" troy bilt that might be able to accept the smaller sized catcher. I guess I don't understand the Acclerator advantage vs the type of side-catcher that came with it? Is it pure size or ease of dumping? I am going to look into Gator blades for it better mulching.

Hauled a few tarps from my leave pile on the front driveway because we were hosting Turkey day and needed parking spots. Still for a got couple more trips from various piles under trees before all is said and done. Its probably already about 5ft tall.

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