Bagging Grass Clippings

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, May 28, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I asked the question on another thread about which is the best riding lawn tractor to cut a couple up to about 5 acres.
    The question here is for those who use bagging equipment on their riding lawn tractors, when cutting average length of grass weekly and how many times you might fill the grass catching bags or bins in cutting say an acre of lawn?
    I just want to start saving as much clippings for compost without making a huge job of collecting while mowing or raking.
     
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    2 acres of thick grass, alot of clover....average of 3 dumps...I'm guessing one dump is about 1/2 a cubic yard ???? Maybe 1/3. Altogether its about a cubic yard fresh but it shrinks quickly.
     

  3. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Too many variables....type of grass, amount of rain, etc.

    I have a Craftsman with two bins on the back. The main problem is clogging in the big tube that is supposed to carry the clippings to the back. If the grass is thick or juicy, it clogs.

    Other than that, I like it.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Dry grass with mixed clover. Height again average 3 inches.
    So, I'm guessing about 3 dumps per acre with a double binner?
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Perhaps we get a lot more rain here in s Minnesota. But, we get way, way more stops to empty with the 2 bin Craftsman. My wife just filled a 2 wheel trailer (25 bu) almost 3 times mowing the lawn once. That's about 3 acres or so. This time of year, that is one week's growth.

    --->Paul
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I get three dumps in about 1/2 of that acreage. When the machine blows the grass into the bins it's very fluffed up.
     
  7. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Should we be bagging? I hadn't thought much about it before, because we never kept up with composting well. But now that I'm making more of a concerted effort, I should. We have so much brown stuff for the bin (barn litter) that the grass clippings would be really helpful, wouldn't they?

    Ok, here's the problem... We've got a big garden tractor with a 60" deck that we mow with. I don't think there is any bagger attachment that would work with it, is there? Any other suggestions? Should I get one of those sweeper things? We've got an acre or two in grass probably. It does seem a shame to not use it in the garden.

    Sorry to hijack this thread.
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I'm leaning towards having a 9 bu. capacity 3 bin grass catcher on the back of a 48" cutting deck of a 24 hp lawn tractor or as close to something like that as possible. I need massive amounts of compost and the grass clippings for mulching/composting both (including lasagne garden beds). I figure the stops to dump them are good breaks to get off the lawn tractor. I've always cut grass without saving the clippings. I'm wanting to be able to get at least 300 bushels of clippings over the mowing season....or more! :yeeha: Yup. that's the goal.
    For fertilizing the lawn? I'm not that concerned because there is a fair bit of clover which keeps nitrogen in the ground for greening and also about one cutting in May and June to not use the bagger so that the thatch can sit on the lawn for fertilizer. That should be enough. I also want to see earthworms on the managed cut grass. Too much thatch gets in the way for that. If need be I would cook up some compost tea (since I would have a lot of compost) and spray that back to the lawn should also help keeping the crawlers happy! :D
     
  9. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A sweeper would probably be cheaper than the big trailer type bagger system you'd need....but not sure if they make a sweeper that wide.

    We didnt have a bagger for a long time and I would purposefully let the lawn get hish and rake up for the garden. Now with the bagger its and amazing work saver...and compost heater! Now I dont have to rake and I have little to no garden weeding by topdressing with clippings and barn litter (layer of grass then a layer of barn litter(goat) ) and it saves on water as well.

    There is also a way of making silage with them but my lawn has lots of dog, cat, goat poop so I dont bother. I think Ken S. was the person who wrote about using 2 trash bags and trash can with holes poked in it.... a few years ago in Countryside.
     
  10. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Moonwolf....I have to ask. Why on earth would you want to keep 5 acres of grass mowed? I figure about an acre of nice grass under the black walnut grove and then the rest gets brushhogged once a year.

    As usual, jsut my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    3 reasons:

    1. I am surrounded on 2 sides by bush and wild land. So the mowed area creates a buffer zone to help thwart bears or coyotes and such since those animals don't care to be 'caught' in open areas close to the buildings and house.

    2. Many, many bugs and mosquitoes which cut lawn helps keep them down and away to the areas where taller growth is by the bush.

    3. I want all those bushels and bushels of grass clippings for
    a. composting
    b. mulching
    c. vermiculture

    :D :yeeha:

    p.s. A neighbor stopped by today and looked at the cut area. He said it looked closer to more than 6 acres. Take into account that I cut an 8' wide walking trail swath down the hill and around to the woodlot entrance which is about a kilometer, so that might be another acre or two. The 'lawn' varies in thickness because some areas have more clover and some areas are pretty thin, so generally it cuts fast with normal rainfall. Over a weeks time I put in maybe 8 hours of cutting time for these areas.
     
  12. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    Maybe just buy a few old range ewe to mow the lawn, and add compost. Mow some half as often for more tonnage, and besides old ewes make great wildlife food

    We have been using grass clipping from our yard for mulch in the garden too. Works great, however we do not have a bagger so we let it get longer (10-14days) the mow it blowing in a few rounds then out so the grass is in windrows. I have seen more quack grass and weeds, but that could be from rotationally grazing the cows thru the lawn
     
  13. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    hay mw! you need a galagher (sp) fencer and wire to make padocks for two old cows.collect the exhaust for your needs and eat the cows come fall!! no where near eight hours of work this way ,outer perimiter is a barrier for bear (coyote if done right) other idea is a full size 50 horse tractor flailharvester and forage wagon. plus have tractor too log ,blow snow etc. never had much use for mowing lawns ,we have a one "pony power" mare that grazes off the odd terain that we can not hit with option two.
     
  14. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Moonwolf,

    While it's great to want those clippings for composting, etc., if you let the clippings go back on the grass you won't need to fertilize your grass. If you pull them off then you will eventually end up having to fertilize that grass.

    As others have pointed out, fence it and let some 4 legged mowers do the work.

    Coyotes won't care whether the grass is mown or not. Pretty much the same thing for bears. It just makes it easier walking for them. A couple of good guard dogs will be a much better investment in this respect than keeping a 5-6 acre lawn.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  15. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I disagree.

    I never have fertilized my grass. When it rains sufficiently, the clovers grow heavily and bring back nitrogen for the dry spells when the grass grows heavy.
    I could not afford to fertilize acres of lawn anyway.

    Coyotes and other vermin such as skunks and others have the advantage slinking in the tall grass less seen. At least if their presense is detected on shorter lawn, they won't be as able to get closer to the premises. They still do come up the highway and what not, but it would be more a problem with tall grass. Another feature in early spring when the tall dry grass is a fire hazard. It just takes a passing motorist with a hot cigarette butt to spread to the buildings if the grass was tall.

    I have the guardian and sentry dogs also. I agree with that part.