Keyword Site Search

The Latest in Debris Management
Making It Easier to Clean Up

By Greg Frank, LC/DBM

The Latest in Debris Management

The Brave, Walk Behind Blower, by Great Northern Equipment, has adjustable and reversible handles which are rubber mounted to reduce hand and arm fatigue from vibrations. The large 17", 8-blade aluminum impeller produces high volume and velocity output to make cleaning fast, easy and efficient. This model also features a foot activated front discharge that instantly directs air forward.

The Latest in Debris Management

Pictured is the SWB-480 walk-behind rotary broom with the Leaf Collector addition by SweepEx. It features a 48" sweeping width with variable brush speed and a three-speed transmission Honda engine. The brush can be angled five different ways in order to reach diagonal curbs and walls. Other attachments, such as the Debris Collector Box and the Debris Shield, can replace the Leaf Collector making the task of debris management even easier.

In the simplest definition, landscape debris is nothing other than inorganic or organic trash that isn't intended to be part of the landscape project. This can include everything from leftover sod, leaves and twigs to plastic wrap from supplies, plant pots and broken concrete.

When questioned what her company considers debris, Jessica Reber, of Harper Industries, Inc., adds these few items to the list: "grass clippings, thatch, leaves, pine cones, pine needles, litter and even monkey pods in Hawaii."

The Virginia Cooperative Extension estimates that typical yard waste is composed of approximately 25% tree leaves and limbs, and 75% grass clippings. Additionally, the EPA approximates that yard waste accounts for 18% of the refuse that we historically have dumped into landfills.

Currently, landscape contractors have a wide range of debris management equipment at their disposal. We all know of rakes, leaf blowers and brooms to collect debris, but there are also industrial-style vacuums, high-output push blowers and dustpan/trashcan hybrids.

Debris Blowers verses Leaf Blowers
One of the pieces of debris management equipment that may seem a little redundant at first is the push blower, tow-behind blower, or debris blower. At first glance, it could appear that one of these industrial strength blowers is nothing more than a glorified leaf blower. However, debris blowers can actually host a few advantages over a regular leaf blower.

The Latest in Debris Management

This is the MultiLoader, manufactured by Harper Turf Equipment of Harper, Kan. It has a 32.5 horsepower Kohler carbureted engine and is designed to suck up and shred leaves, sticks, grass clippings and other small debris. The shredded debris is then blown into the back of a loading truck for easy removal. The hose is 12" wide and 10' long.

The Latest in Debris Management

This is the Catchy Can, a hybrid between a dustpan and a trashcan. It was the brainchild of Robert Garcia, a landscaper-turned-business owner from Southern California. The original goal behind the Catchy Can was to eliminate the need to carry both a dustpan and a trashcan; reducing the amount of tools that a contractor purchases, hauls and maintains. Within the past year, reports estimate that around 15,000 Catchy Cans were sold to landscapers and gardeners. It costs $44 and holds 32 gallons.

For starters, they are considerably more powerful, with noticeably higher wind output levels. This can assist in clearing away debris, whether it is wet or dry. They also have the obvious advantage of being quicker and less exhausting then standard backpack blowers.

Of course, leaf blowers have pros of their own, including being easier to store and maintain, costing considerably less to purchase, being more user friendly and possibly being easier to fix. In most cases, it could make more sense to use a leaf blower for a small residential lawn instead of powering up an industrial-sized blower.

Cut Down On Cost, Labor and Debris
The Walk Behind Blower by Brave is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to saving time and labor. In a comparative study between a standard backpack leaf blower and a similar piece of equipment with almost identical wind output speed by another manufacturer, the high output blower was more than twice as fast in clearing a 40' by 40' area of leaves. According to the study, a typical handheld leaf blower took 20 minutes and 16 seconds to clear the 40' by 40' plot; a backpack blower took closer to 17 minutes to move all the leaves, while the high powered blower, with output speeds hovering around 200 mph, took just 3 minutes to entirely clear the area of debris: saving roughly 17 minutes over the handheld leaf blower. MSRP for this piece of equipment is $1,499.

Unveiled in the beginning of this year, Harper Turf Equipment's "MultiLoader" is a 837-pound, large vacuum with a 20" serrated impeller that reduces larger debris into smaller pieces. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $7,875 for the MultiLoader and $1,500 for the associated trailer.

The best practice for this type of equipment is to create a pile of lawn clippings, leaves and other small debris located close to a road and have one person operate the vacuum nozzle while another person drives the truck. This saves time and makes it much easier to get debris into the back of a truck.

The Latest in Debris Management

Pictured is the Wet & Dry Floor Blade by One Pass Water Blade in Hollister, Calif. It features a patented, silicone "Y-Blade edge" that is able to conform to ground surface irregularities and costs $32.95. It can be used similarly to a regular broom; however it has the added benefits of working well with liquids and being easily cleaned.

The Latest in Debris Management

This is the Lawn Debbi by IBBZ inc., of Loomis, Neb. It is a dumping insert that includes a debris loader and its website states that it will work on "most lawn trailers with minimal modification." The Lawn Debbi can be removed when not in use for added utility. At the push of a button, the loader will empty itself.

The Lawn Debbi, by IBBZ inc., is another helpful piece of equipment that can cut down on labor time. After backing a lawn mower full of clippings up to the Lawn Debbi, it is able to load and unload all of its contents with the push of a button. The hopper takes around 30 seconds to load and 40 seconds to unload.

It can be mounted onto a truck and removed when not in use. The base model starts at $6,999. Steve Wahls, owner of IBBZ, relates that contractors telll him that the Lawn Debbi "paid for itself in one season."

Composting Best Practices
The United States Composting Council has in-depth construction guides for several different types of composting bins on their website, Their basic receptical is designed to be a portable wood and wire-composting bin that is 3' tall by 4' feet long and 4' feet wide. The reason that the bin is made lightweight and portable is because when it comes time to gather the compost from the bottom of the pile, the bin can be easily taken apart, or picked up and moved, to allow access to the underneath composted material.

The EPA provides this list of things that can be composted: fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, nutshells, shredded newspaper, cardboard, paper, yard trimmings, grass clippings, houseplants, hay and straw, leaves, sawdust, wood chips, cotton and wool rags, dryer and vacuum cleaner lint, hair and fur and fireplace ashes.

One alternative, if you don't want to create your own composting site, is given by Brian Campedelli, a landscape contractor and owner of Pioneer Landscapes in Massachusetts. He relates that a local farm in his area is happy to take his leftover organic debris and turn it into compost for mulch and fertilizer.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, September 2018.

Filed Under: DEBRIS, LC/DBM
Widget is loading comments...

Search Site by Story Keywords

Related Stories

June 27, 2019, 4:23 am PDT

Website problems, report a bug.
Copyright © 2019 Landscape Communications Inc.
Privacy Policy