Things to Tell Your Clients about LELE:
- "You'll have a greener lawn because as leaf mulch breaks down over the winter it naturally fertilizes the soil."
- "You'll end up with a healthier lawn because leaf mulch improves soil structure and soil biology."
- "It also helps improve drainage and water retention."
- "We won't have to make vehicle trips to pick up and dispose of all your leaves, so it's better environmentally."
- "It will be quieter because we use our blowers less."
- "It's safer because there will be fewer leaf piles spilling over onto neighborhood roads."
- "Keeping leaves out of storm sewers helps to protect water quality in our streams, lakes, and rivers."
- "Grass-cycling during the growing season provides similar benefits for lawn fertilization, soil health, and labor/cost reduction."
How LELE benefits your business:
- With LELE I need fewer hours of labor on each property, a smaller crew.
- I can save money by eliminating tipping fees, by avoiding the cost of purchase and maintenance of specialized equipment such as vacuums, and by reduction of seasonal fuel requirements.
- Since LELE helps me keep my costs down, annual increases of my client's autumn cleanup bill are more reasonable, when required. So my profits are not impacted.
- Within a year or two, the benefits of mulching-in-place can be seen on the properties that I manage.
- I can effectively respond to my client's concerns about ensuring a more sustainable, healthier future.
- I can promote and differentiate my business as 'environmentally-friendly' and 'green.'
How to Mulch-in-PlaceMulching leaves involves switching to mulching blades (the Gator Mulcher blade is preferred by most landscapers) and closing your mower deck's exit chute so that the leaves stay in the deck for another rotation so they get chopped into smaller pieces. With the right equipment, you can simply mow leaves into lawns. Deep piles of leaves can be also be mulched and any excess shredded leaves blown onto landscape beds, avoiding the necessity of bagging or hauling leaves off site.
Watch these short videos about LELE techniques, equipment requirements, and mulching issues as told by professional landscapers. Also, read the LELE FAQs for more detailed information, including this FAQ outlining recommended equipment for professional landscapers.
LELE in 30 seconds!
General overview of LELE equipment and process (3:46)
Dealing with deep piles of leaves & leaves on pavement (1:04)
Need to learn how to LELE? Attend one of many local training events by professional landscapers who have experience providing LELE services to clients wishing a "greener" property management solution. Trainings available this fall are listed on our schedule of Events page.
Some simple recommendations on successful mulching for landscapers:
- SLOW DOWN! Mulch mowing is different than grass mowing.
- Install mulching blades (e.g.; “Gator" blades) on mowers.
- Close the mulch plate on the mower deck.
- Keep your mower blade well-sharpened.
- Mow grass high through the fall so that leaf shreds can settle between grass blades.
- Adjust the blade height to 2.5-4 inches high.
- Mulch when leaves are dry or semi-damp, whenever possible.
- Take on no more than 2/3 or 3/4 of a deck's width of material at a time.
- Face discharge to the work-to-be-done side for easy re-grind when necessary.
- If required, multi-pass to shred leaves completely (around 1" square is target size).
- On subsequent passes, use a criss-cross pattern over the lawn to minimize rutting.
- With deep leaf piles, raise the front of the mower to "attack" into the pile, then lower deck back down. Repeat this "raise & lower" chopping technique as required. (Hint: a counter weight on the rear of the deck helps reduce the effort to raise/tilt the chassis.)
- Blow excess leaf shred on surface of turf across a wider lawn area to even out. Excess shred can also be blown into nearby landscape beds as a mulch.
- Collect, then mulch-mow excess leaves next to a 'target area' where you desire to use the mulch.
- Utilize the "rolling chop" technique to maximize crew efficiency. (See details here.)
Landscaper Testimonials"I've been mulching leaves for at least 20 years and the soil you create by doing this is unlike any other. Leaf mulch is more nutritional and safer for your property. Most commercial mulch is the by-product of dead trees - who knows what they died of? Leaf mulch comes directly from your property and does not contain any foreign elements." - David Duarte, Five Brothers Landscaping
"We try to never remove leaves from clients' properties. I mulch 100% of the leaves on my properties, although 70% is acceptable, if you have tough conditions like steep slopes or rocks. The new equipment for landscapers really has made this possible. You can perform the same autumn cleaning in the same or less time as the regular weekly grass cutting time and that's it. You never touch those leaves again. Plus it leaves the leaves where they should be - providing nutrition to the soil." - Tim Downey, Aesthetic Landscape Care Inc.
"I have been mulching leaves for the past 4 years. What inspired me was the impact to the environment, the time savings and money savings that results from this method." - Anthony Vulpone, Vulpone Landscaping & Lawn Maintenance
"I started mulching leaves in 2010 and saved $400 a week in overtime, plus more than $1,000 a week in tipping fees. Mulching leaves on site is so much faster and more efficient. And it's good for the soil." - Sean Ryan, Ryan & Ryan Landscaping
Landscapers who provide LELE services:
Purchase the recommended equipment & accessories (Gator Blades, Vulcher) and get helpful advice concerning their proper use:
|Mike Debartolo, Masonry Depot|
34 Evans Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
See our LELE Toolkit for program logo, yard signs, and bi-lingual "How To" cards that will prove useful for marketing your "green" services, inform your clients, and help ensure your crews are properly trained.