Ep.10 Mow Like A Pro Pt.3 - Blowing - Eric Beza (Acre Lawns & Gardens)

You're on the plants grow here podcast. I'm Daniel Fuller. Come along with me as we enter a hidden world of deep horticultural, ecological and landscape gardening knowledge with featured experts, industry professionals, and enthusiasts. This episode is going to be the third part in our three part series on how to mow like a professional with my current boss, Eric Beza, owner of acre lawns in northern Melbourne. So Eric, now that we've whipped in mine, how do we clean up the mess we've just made,
we generally use up blowers if inhaled steels is what we buy, at the moment, the quickest and most efficient way to tidy up, not in all situations, but in most time, it's the best way to go.
So where are some of the places the dust tends to hide when we're blowing? And how can we separate ourselves as an eighth grader versus a bee grader commercial operation when it comes to cleaning up after we've known,
it's not all about cleaning up and blowing the work that you've done, but you know, still going up to the front door, lifting up doormat and a bit of a tidy up and all the pads and the little areas that look and wind blowing as well. I like to sometimes check the property before we even start because if there's a little bit of leaves floating around in the gutters or on the driveway, glom onto the lawn, so that they're chopped up and mulched and disappear, rather than having them left to deal with at the end of the job, and then you're not sure what to do with them as well. So yeah, that's usually the best way to go. Yeah, right.
And how about pots? Should we check behind them?
Yeah, yeah, with the blower, what is sometimes to get behind here and make sure there's no debris building up so everything looks nice and tidy.
And there even some blowers out there that actually have a reverse cycle. So they're going to suck the debris up into the machine and and collected in a bag attachment? What are your thoughts on these sorts of reverse cycle blowers,
we don't generally use them. But there could be some situations where they would come in handy. And there's larger versions as well, if you you know, happen to get a job where you might be cleaning up a car park and that type of thing as well. So there are things like that, that are set up on wheels or even, you know, larger machines that suck things like that up, but are they, we generally would probably find that we'd fill up the bag in one of those quite quickly. And that might be quite a slow process. I mean, some jobs where if we've got quite a bit of leaves in the gutter, it's probably quicker just to quickly write them up, blow the dust onto the lawn to be chopped up with a mower. And then, you know, you're on your way.
Yeah, just one less machine to carry on board. I've never used them before. But I wonder if they wouldn't have the same amount of power as our Steel's which are pretty cool. They have a lot of power to them.
Yeah, we did use echo for a wall layer and went out, Rob changed their brains, we went on stills, and they could have a bit of force behind them like a liter of liters of air per minute. And they're very reasonably priced. And so we've we've just stuck with it the handheld steels, you know, you might only get a year out of one of them in a commercial environment, but they're not they're only two or $300.
While we're on the subject Can you give a bit of a shout out to our local steel shop?
Yeah, Jackson court in Doncaster East is the our shop, they look after us when, whenever we've got any issues and quick to help out so as much as I love the night go there quite often, you got to think about, you know, what happens if a machine breaks down and accurately, you're gonna get out there as well. So it's, that's very important. That's not always about the price.
Yeah, that's fine. Look, we've just done bleeped out the brand name there, but I think people understand what you're trying to say. So we've got a couple of different types of blows that we can use. Look, they come in all different power sizes, and you can buy the commercial machines or more domestic machines, which may not necessarily last as long if you're going to belt them through commercial use. We can also choose a handheld blower or a backpack blower, can you tell us a little bit about these different types,
the handheld blower is a lot more compact, a lot cheaper. And the backpack is like a describes, you know, big on your back with a harness and you've got a true becomes round, where you have a handle and your throttle. And then the nozzle comes standing off that. Look, I'm sure they would for different situations, we mainly use the handheld blowers, when I've looked into the backpacks, and this is only in the steel brand, the entry level backpack blower, for example, they say this is just off the top of my head 800 to $1,000 didn't actually have much more volume of air here to the small handheld, which is about $300 then there's a lot more space needed for the backpack blower. I would consider getting one if we did have a couple of larger commercial properties that may be needed car parks blown down and cleaned up, then I could really see the advantage of that for the jobs that we do and the space in all the vehicles as well. We're just stuck with a handheld point.
Yeah, I
personally prefer the handheld blowers are just a bit easier to use. I mean, we don't tend to do some of those larger car parks. So I think that they're really good for what we tend to do. I mean by the time you get the backpack blower started, I probably already walked halfway down to the boards the back of the property anyway and I've probably gotten half the job done. The hand I just find to be a bit easier and a bit quicker to use. And that build up the muscles in the forum nicely. Yeah. And you can add, you will get one of the other hand, yeah. Sorry, look, we're blowing this debris, where do we put it? You know, can we hide it anywhere and at what point do we just have to pick it up and take it away.
Now, you definitely don't want to blow it anyway, you want to run, keep your work pane to the property that you're working on, you don't want to be blowing it down to the neighbor's, there's not a good look, you want to try and impress the neighbors and pick them up to the client. This is when sometimes a quick blow before you mow can save a bit of that, you know, like beforehand, it's the lawn, and then you might be chopping up some of those leaves afterwards. And then when you tidy up at the end, usually all the clippings in that are just very small parts particles that you know, you blow into the lawn and they disappear. So it's all depending on the job. But you know, if it's really obvious at the end, then sometimes, you know, you think Well, is there a quick break up a little quick tidy up to make it look good? Yeah, I
mean, ideally, that's going to be a bush there somewhere, you can hide it under I mean, that debris is is going to break down and sort of feed the plant. Unless you have too much. I mean, I wouldn't be making a big mess underneath that bush or you know, disrupting the airflow around that stem, which is really important for the health of the plant. And look, if you're making a big mess under the tree or the plane, it's just not gonna look as nice either. So sometimes you just got to pick it up.
Yeah, that's just, you know, keeping an eye on things and using a judgment and like you said, Sometimes a quick tidy up around some of those shrubs. But look, a lot of the times if it's very small bits and pieces, you know, often things get blown around in the wind anyway, but just depends if it's good to get the garden bed, or if it's really obviously not looking good.
Yeah, I mean, it's a different thing, if you just blowing a bit of dust, or maybe just a couple of clippings on the lawn, as opposed to you know, if you blowing big, dry leaves, or you know, plastic or anything like that, I mean, you know, you're gonna turn around, you're gonna look over the lawn, you're gonna say it looks good, if you've just bought a chip back on it.
And what makes it difficult is some people have really white pebbles in their garden beds that you can't get away with it that makes it really difficult. A nice mulch garden bed, you know, not necessarily always after the mowing or the garden has been done, but you can have wind come through and then you know what pebbles just look untidy, really quickly. Same with black mulch. It's, it doesn't disguise just leaves and flower petals falling down as much. It just looks untidy, a lot quicker. The bit. just personal preference.
Yeah, I mean, those pebbles, they're just not good when that's, I mean, causes a huge hazard, and it makes the room look ugly. And it's just too bad around. What are some of the other hazards when we're cleaning up?
Probably most dust, especially when it starts getting a bit warmer weather and getting things in your eyes and breathing things in as well. Yeah, it's probably not too many other has to pick up.
Yeah, I mean, pedestrians, don't appreciate it, if you will come towards them and just blowing dust right in their face. I mean, all the time, they're gonna walk out the other side of the road. But I mean, if they're not going to go the other side of the road, and they're just gonna stay on your side, I mean, just turn the machine off, or at least just take your finger off the trigger and just wait for them to pass. It's only gonna take a couple seconds.
Oh, you've got always got to look out for pedestrians. And often it's the easiest thing just to stop work for a second or just move to another section of the yard.
Yeah, that's it. And what peepee do you recommend when you're blown,
I recommend just still always wearing your safety glasses to fill a need to have gloves and still get boots as always sunscreen and hat and always, you know, you never you never know when when something happens. You could be just putting some rubbish in a garbage bin and get poked in the eye. So, you know, you could be if you're on the property, you might be blind, but the your other work partner might be brush cutting like it's like a stain from the other side of the garden. And now you're not prepared to get injured.
Yeah, so I mean, a lot of that PP is the same stuff as what you're wearing when you're mowing and whipping. I mean, just wear it while you're on site. Just keep the glasses on unless you're speaking to someone and you want to look them in the eye. But as long as those machines are on Yeah, just keep the boots on, you know, keep the glasses on. I mean, I like to wear a pair of gloves into vibration gloves because my wrists aren't the best. Those vibrations sort of give me a bit of pain in the wrist. So that's just another one that I wear that a lot of people don't wear but yeah, hat safety glasses, a protection, sun protection, safety boots, they're the main ones really pair a good work pants. Alright, let's talk about fuel. What are the different fuel types? I mean, what's the difference between two stroke fuel and four stroke fuel?
Yeah, two strikes, and all striker three different engine systems. So you know one of them like typically, there's not that many to strike or miles around anymore, but most are for strike miles. So if you have an oil dipstick on the mower that has oil inside the engine, so that's what's lubricating the engine, whereas a brush cutter or blower, a lot of them are to strike and you need mixed oil into the fuel. So you get a 25 to one ratio or a 50 to one ratio. If you don't have oil in the fuel, you will ruin the whole machine. That's the only lubrication is going into the engine. If you use a bit too much oil, it's not a big deal. The engine could come up and maybe needed service but you're not going to ruin the machine. But it's important to have your oils and the fields set up right and have the cans visibly different so that you know which ones which
so that's just a label or painting the jerry cans differently.
Yeah, yeah, you can't buy the labels. We paint the top of our jerrycan a totally different color. So it's really visible as well. And also in a training the guys and girls so that they're confident in knowing which fuel goes into which machine, it's a bit confusing there too, because you can get for straight brush cutters, like I said, it used to be more straight mouths as well. So you definitely want to have the right fuel in the rock chain is
it going to be the same sort of thing, if I put four stroke fuel into a two stroke machine and two stroke fuel into a form strike machine, or is there one that sort of worse than the other,
if you put two stroke fuel into a four stroke machine, there's a little bit of oil going through the system look, in a basic model, the worst could happen is you might come up with sparkplug a little bit, might be a little bit oily and not run quite as well. But it's not going to ruin the machine. If you put four strikes though and mixed, you're into a two strike machine, it might run bright for a minute or so it might sound a bit funny, and then a little stays up. And if you're lucky, your mechanic might be able to get it going. But most times it's it'll grow on the machine. Part.
Yeah, unfortunately, I've done it before where you put the four stroke fuel the the unmixed fuel into a two stroke machine, I do it with a head job. It's the worst feeling sort of, I sort of started to notice it was gonna get hot, and I didn't put two and two together, then sort of graces are coming out a little grommets there. And all of a sudden just goes bang and just stops, just seizes never do start again, you can't pull the cord, nothing's working, it's all just completely seized up. And unfortunately, that machine gave up the ghost, we had to buy a new one, which is devastating, it's not a good feeling at all.
And even if you managed to unbind it, and it's rotating again, often you've lost all the compression and that doesn't have any strengths in the in the engine. It's just not worth fixing.
Not a good feeling.
We've had We've had a few funny things, we've had a blower get locked into a swimming pool. We've Luckily, we've got that one running again.
That machine was actually on there too. So it was sucking water in that was so lucky. So lucky. Yeah, plenty can go wrong. Look, petrol vessels battery powered, what are your thoughts?
Um, I haven't tried much. But I've spoken to the steel shop regularly. And I seem to have the idea that probably hasn't got the distance for commercial use. So you'd have to have a large amount of battery packs to get you through the day. So unless, you know, you want to set up a solar system on new vehicles or something and inverters and charges but you know, maybe down the track, not far away, maybe they'll have enough seminar to only have a couple of batteries. And that gets you through the day that might work out. Okay.
Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't make the switch to electric just yet. I mean, yeah, petrol machines heavier, louder, but they just do a lot better job. Just a lot more grunt to them. They just get the job done a lot quicker. Hmm.
I mean, I can see the advantage, you know, if they've got the power and the stamina because you wouldn't have the sparkplug the carburetors, you know, as many little issues that may go wrong. If you if you're using a chainsaw, for example, you're gonna worry about the bar, the oil and the train and the rest of it, you know? No, it filters the claim. So be interesting, but it's not there yet.
Yeah, it's funny. You mentioned the chainsaws, I listened to a couple of them Arbor culture podcasts. And they sort of talk about how they love the little, I'm not sure what brand it is they love the little chainsaws that are just done battery powered, because they can lock them up a tree, no worries when they're climbing. And, you know, they can just operate at one handed and just lock some of the smaller branches off. I mean, they still need the larger chainsaws, the petrol powered ones for the larger branches. But yeah, the little chainsaws seem to be doing a good job on the small ones. According to them.
It wouldn't have to start it up in the tree as well. Exactly, just
click the trigger, and you're away. Hmm. Maybe in the future, we can get some viable electric options for commercial mowing mix, which
you never know, in a couple of years. Right. So
where do you recommend commercial outfits buy their gear? And is that the same place that domestic mowing people just doing their own yard shop?
look, I've bought gear from, you know, a wide range of places. And I've had the same mindset of, you know, where can I get the cheapest price. But I think if you're doing it for work, I think you need to work out where you're going to get help from when you need help spare parts. How quickly can you turn that machine around if you've got a problem? So look, I would recommend your local shop, and hopefully find one that looks after you when you need some help to get back working on someone's garden again. Yeah, I
mean, you see still shops everywhere I can still is the one I love steel.
Yeah. Yep. Every brand, you know, you might have some issues here and there. But yeah, look at that as well.
Yeah. And it's great when you sort of get to know the people working there. And you can sort of build a bit of a relationship and they can look off to
you. Yep, yep, that's right. Yep. If you work by itself, I'm going to go in and have a chat
as well. Yeah. And you're going to pick up some advice too. I mean, during the game they know they're talking about. Mm hmm.
Yeah. always handy.
So what are some of the other things that are just gonna hold people up when they come along, and especially cleaning up did they just don't know in that we just haven't talked about yet.
I think frequency is really important. You know, not letting it get out of hand now to control just makes it much simpler and a much nicer, quality looking lawn. If you let something grow too long. It will take weeks to do that looking good again. So regular maintenance, bit of food and water when it needs it. Everything needs a bit of a bit of nutrients. But I don't believe the sales guys all the time when they say, put this in, drought tolerant, everything needs water, you know enough to survive, you know, are tough summers when they come through, they don't need to be here.
Yeah, well, how about watering? When do you recommend people? What do they learn? Is any time fine? Or is there one time that's better than another or? Look,
I think they often recommend in the morning is a good time so that when the sun goes down, you don't necessarily want to have a damp lawn, I think you know, more fungal and diseases can get into the lawn if it's bent more often. So probably early morning is best recommended. And often, it's better to do a longer soak of the lawn less often, then a little bit every day. If you do that, you can actually teach the root system to stay quite shallow, collecting water every day. Even if you just gave it a really good site once a week, think you train it to then work with food a bit more get a better, healthier root system developing.
Yeah, sort of reward the roots for searching a little bit deeper for that water. How about if you want to just before your mowing contractors turn up here? And that's a good idea.
No, that's,
that's not really healthy. It's, it's the ideal if you do have a automated system, maybe have a chat to your gardener. And just, you know, that way, you're on the same page. And they can turn up when it's not being watered. Or even, you know, let them look after the scheduling of the sprinkler system if it's all automated and not just a sprinkler going on in the backyard.
Look, we're coming up to the end of the series now. But a second last question I want to ask you is what is one thing you've seen mowing contractors do or just mauers? In general, doing that just boggles your mind. Just can't figure out why the hell did they do it that way?
I think usually it's likely things when you just see a Mauer on the side of the road with the guard off, and they're just shooting everything out onto the road with oncoming traffic. Or, you know, the protection guards taken off. I just think it's just an accident waiting to happen. And then you probably haven't got a leg to stand on. If you know if you're doing just that one been a bit of strife.
Yeah, that's a great one. I mean, safety is so important. People just don't value it enough. Even though we get tired every day. We all sign those safe work method statements. I'm the one I prepared was less safety, it was more just the way you do it. So I've actually seen a couple of times when mine contractors just on the nature strip, you know, on the footpath, they're demoing it with places that are lengthways and just just making it a lot harder themselves. I
mean, why would you do it that way? Just take a lot less steps to just walk up and down instead of across the it's sometimes work smarter, not longer. There's a lot of little things that can just improve efficiencies. And they
Yeah, he just couldn't use an organ.
Yep. It just does all those little habits. You know, if you're working in a team of two, and you're you know, you might be doing 15 lawns in a day. Imagine if you had a farm for 10 minutes every single job just because you weren't quite as efficient is a it's the it's a lot of money. Yeah, India, workmates gonna start to get pretty annoyed with you do because I want to get home.
Right. So tell us a little bit about a car. I mean, it's a company I work for. It's a great company, you and the company. Tell us a little bit about what services we offer and where are we based?
Look, we're based in the northeast and suburbs, you know, around temple stoner Park orchards, Blaine Lowell plenty in Santa Clara Blackburn area, and we've mainly focused on maintenance. So more mowing, maintenance, fertilizing, garden maintenance, rubbish removal. We don't get much into the landscaping side of things. We now keep garden looking good. And without getting into the larger projects. So yeah, we've we've got a few vehicles running around. And I've got a good good team of staff. And hopefully we can get back into it soon.
Yep, hopefully we can get back into it soon, mate. Thanks for coming on. I hope the lessons have learned a lot about mowing because there's a little bit more to it than you might think. And few tips and tricks. It'll just help you make your life a lot easier on yourself. So yeah, work smarter, not harder.
No worries. Thank you very much for having me.
This series was recorded during lockdown. And luckily we are actually up and working gang now. Check the show notes for links to the acre lawns website and Facebook page, as well as a number of articles that I've written on mowing and starting a lawn mowing business.

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