User-friendly nozzle design and hose connection improves hose management and maneuverability.
Photos courtesy of Aaron Jung.

As a landscaper who’s been in the business for over two decades, I’m always looking for ways to work more efficiently. As the saying goes, “time is money,” and, during the fall season, leaf removal can be time-consuming, so having the right equipment is essential.

Optional CustomFit swing-away hitch locks at 90 and 180 degrees for easy dumping.

I recently had a chance to try out a new DL series Debris Loader from Billy Goat. This is one impressive machine. The first thing I noticed was its solid construction; heavy-gauge steel from frame to housing. Just standing there, this machine looks like it will gobble and shred anything that can be sucked into its massive intake hose.

What I really liked about the DL is how well it’s designed with the user in mind. The intake hose is 10 feet long, 10 inches in diameter, but surprisingly light in weight. The ergonomically designed handle requires minimal stooping, which is much easier on the back. Overall hose handling is a breeze, as it seems to work with you as you move through the leaves. I never felt like I was fighting the hose like with other machines, and with a clear hose I could see there were no clogs. As a matter of fact, it was so easy that my wife helped clean up leaves at our house last fall.

Another great feature is Billy Goat’s CustomFit System. These optional items allow the user to customize their machine in a variety of ways to suit their particular needs. Available items include an extension kit for raising the height of the exhaust tube; flexible discharge hoses; a discharge deflector hood so you can direct the flow of debris just the way you want it; and a discharge elbow swivel kit that allows you to adjust which way the elbow is aiming without tools.

Two more great options are the CustomFit hanger kit and swing-away hitch. The Hanger Kit allows secure mounting of the unit on a raised tailgate or similar device. The swing-away hitch mounts to a class III trailer hitch and locks at 90 and 180 degrees so the unit can be swung away for easy dumping. In our case, we mounted the unit on the swing-away door of a 14-foot PJ dump trailer.

You’re probably wondering about performance. In a word, it’s very impressive. Ours was powered by a smooth, powerful, 18 hp Vanguard engine and was perfect for our needs. Four other models are available to suit your particular needs from a 12 hp LCT, 13 hp Honda and 18 hp Vanguard electric-start to a 25 hp Subaru.

Horticultural Impressions uses the DL Series Truck Loader in combination with Force blowers for fall cleanup. Thick, armor-plated, four or six-blade impeller with new Piranha blade for added debris reduction.

I mentioned that this machine looks like it will gobble and shred anything, and looks do not deceive. The engine is mounted to a .25-inch, four-blade, armor-plated impeller with four cutting points per blade. Also mounted is Billy Goat’s unique Piranha Blade, which shreds the debris further after the main blades do their job. Unlike competitive shredder systems, this one is sharpened like a lawn mower blade and has additional backside notches to disrupt airflow and get even better debris reduction. This setup means greater debris compaction so you can get more loads in your trailer or truck. The suction was very powerful and easily handled wet debris. The DL was able to reduce debris bulk by two-thirds, and that saved us time with fewer trips to the dump and less money in dumping fees.

By using the DL, we were able to clean yards by less than half the time and with much less effort than we were used to. As a result, we made more money, and there was even a boost in my crew’s morale because there was so much less labor involved as with our previous equipment.

You can sum the DL up this way: more jobs with less time, effort and out-of-pocket expenses means more money in my pocket. As I said, this is one impressive machine.

Think you’ve got what it takes to put some new gear through its paces? Can you write a complete sentence and craft a piece like this? Contact Editor Amy Hill at [email protected] to get your name on our list of Turf magazine Field Test experts!