We live on 3 acres in a very rural area, with numerous mature trees. Late October to the first week of December is "Leaf Month" here. I kid you not
. If we didn't pick up the leaves there would be no grass when winter was over.
Over the years I think I have tried everything when dealing with the leaves:
- hand-held gas leaf blower
- backpack-style gas leaf blower
- bagger attachment on a typical lawn tractor's 42" mower deck.
- raking the leaves onto tarps and dragging them to the garden.
Each of these has their place. I should add that we are allowed to burn leaves, so that is our disposal method of choice. Once they are collected we take them to the garden and burn them. Please don't suggest we till them into the garden, grind them up, or mulch them. The volume of leaves precludes that. And, recycling is not available here. Even if it was we would go broke filling hundreds of bags to have it hauled away.
Last fall we bought a Cyclone Rake
. In fact, we bought their largest model. It is towed behind a lawn tractor or ZTR mower. In our case, that is a Kubota tractor with a 60" deck.
Here is a photo of the product we bought, lifted from their web site. I don't mention the price to brag about it, but the price shown below can easily exceed $2k with the addition of a few necessary options.
Bottom line: This is the best $2k I have spent. What took us days
now takes a few hours with this machine. The darn thing just does exactly what they claim it will. And, with a bigger deck it cleans up even faster.
The old lawn tractor's 42" deck with attached bagger filled up with a single pass across the yard. The Cyclone Rake handles many times the volume. And, because it shreds the material again after it goes through the mower deck, the volume is greatly decreased. The downside to that is it's more difficult to burn. That is why this year I'm getting their option power unloader. Check the web site for that. I'll pull up to the woods across the road and blow all the material from the hopper into the woods.
We still use the backpack leaf blower for getting leaves out of corners, blowing sidewalks clear, etc. The Cyclone Rake does not pivot behind the tractor - it's a fixed setup. Think of driving a Winnebago around the yard and you'll get the idea.