Several manufacturers offer other design innovations that facilitate airflow, which, in turn, reduce the likelihood of clogging.
For example, Wright Mfg.'s Turbo 10 Grass Gobbler is a high-capacity catching system designed to fit all Wright Stander, Sentar and Velke models. The Turbo 10's three intake venturis and perforated steel panels lift grass, leaves and debris away from the walls of the catcher. This increases velocity, resulting in much tighter packing of debris, while also eliminating the need for PTO fans and ductwork. Furthermore, the curved front of the Turbo 10 directs grass and debris to the back of the catcher, which also helps prevent clogging.
Packing a punch
Debris packing is another important feature of a good collection system. Obviously, the more leaves and clippings the hopper can hold, the fewer the number of stops you must make to unload.
Large-capacity, empty-from-the-seat hoppers are helpful. Design features that finely shred debris also make a difference. For instance, Scag's vertical blower design on its rear-mounted catching systems provides enhanced debris flow between the deck and hopper. Plus, the all-steel, balanced blower blades help shred the leaves and clippings for tight debris packing.
Getting rid of clippings should be relatively easy—as should mounting your debris-collection tools. Whether it's a catcher, blower, chipper or plow, "Implements should be quick and easy to interchange," Stucky says. "They should be durable, carrying a warranty that matches the power unit they are to be used with. Most importantly, they should be designed and engineered to become an integral part of the unit, not just an add-on or afterthought."
Aside from the more obvious vac collection systems and leaf blowers, several companies offer other debris-collection tools that can turn your mower into a fall cleanup workhorse.
JRCO Inc. offers the height-adjustable Model 480 Leaf Blade Plow, featuring a 55-inch width and stainless spring steel tines for anti-scalp. The company's Model 601 Blower Buggy is designed to hold most walk blowers on the front of zero-turn riding mowers. Both products attach quickly with the JRCO Universal Mount Bar.
Grasshopper says its dethatcher implement allows you to dislodge stubborn thatch, leaves and pine needles, and vacuum them up in one pass.
Walker's chipper/shredder attachment mounts on the Walker GHS tractor. It uses the GHS blower to discharge chipped material into the grass catcher for clean, easy debris removal. "With this implement on a Walker mower, you can quickly move the chipper to the trimmings, instead of having to drag the trimmings to the chipper," says Walker Mfg.'s Tim Cromley.
Getting back to the old standby, the vac collection system, remote handheld vacs are a nifty add-on that allow operators to clean hard-to-reach areas, such as under shrubs or in flower beds. Products such as Trac-Vac's Remote Pickups and Grasshopper's Remote Vac make it easy to switch from vacuuming with the mower deck to remote vac operation.