With countless trees in the scenic landscape of The City of London Cemetery, leaf collection is a demanding task which lasts from the beginning of autumn until late spring.
The land at Manor Park in East London was purchased by the City Corporation in 1853 to provide space to alleviate the problem of overcrowded burial grounds in the City.
Laid out to the designs of William Haywood, the accomplished City Surveyor, the Cemetery was opened in 1856 as a sophisticated landscape that successfully combined beauty with functionality, and contained a range of structures and buildings of high architectural quality. This 200 acre Grade II listed site is operated under a Conservation Management Plan designed to guide the care of the landscape in the future.
David Kemp is in charge of the buildings and technical services, which includes machinery purchasing and maintenance, and with his team of six machinery operators, also undertakes the arboricultural work on the site.
The Cemetery has recently purchased its third Trilo SG450 vacuum collector from The Grass Group, which David says handles a workload equivalent to two men. Leaves are raked to the roadsides and collected with the 350mm diameter suction hose, and blown into the 4.5cu.m hopper via a powerful pto driven fan, making leaf collection a one man operation.
"The Trilo is in use for six or seven hours a day, four days a week in the season," explains David, "So we do work it hard, but it has proven to be a robust, reliable machine."
Excellent suction and the ability to rotate the hose through 270 degrees makes light work of collecting wet or decaying leaves from awkward areas.
Leaves are emptied from the tipping hopper to a height of 2 metres, and David comments that the entire process can now be activated from the tractor cab, rather than the driver having to get out and release a catch, which offers considerable time savings and increased convenience.
All functions are operated from a remote control box, making it easy for any tractor driver to get the hang of the Trilo, according to David, and another update now makes the box detachable from the machine.
"This allows it to be taken away for dry storage, which is a big improvement," he adds.
Clearing leaves and litter makes for plenty of wear and tear, but David expects each machine to last four or five years, and he says that with normal care and maintenance, it stands up to the rigours of the work well.
"Maintenance is basic - just greasing and checking joints which may be affected by the vibration of the work - and access to service points is good," he comments.
Service and back-up is provided by the Grass Group direct and David says that he has an excellent relationship with the company. "It is not the cheapest machine on the market, but does an excellent job for us, and as far as I am concerned there is no alternative," he says.
The Grass Group, Wadebridge Farm, Landwade, Exning, Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7NE UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1638 720123 - Fax: +44 (0) 1638 720128 - www.thegrassgroup.com