Over the past few years, my backyard had become a potential archeological dig site. While I love having gardeners to maintain the lawn (now dead due to the California drought) and the other flora, they don’t quite have my same vision for relative cleanliness. I believe their favorite tool is the gas-powered leaf blower that they use to move leaves from one side of the yard to another. What started out as a relatively tidy yard, over the years has become a mound of dry and decaying leaves (which my tiny dog loves hopping around in like a deer in snow). So, I decided to do something about the layers of leaves. Instead of using a blower to just move things, I used the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac to vacuum up and mulch all of the leaves.
The Toro UltraPlus isn’t your ordinary blower and vacuum for the yard. This thing has a ton of power to move the yard debris where you want it and then chew it up into fine mulch. I estimate (and these are my own calculations) 1 bag of mulch = approximately 5-7 bags (or more) of leaves. Over 1 weekend, I produced about 8 bags of mulch. That’s a lot of leaves!
Let’s talk a little about the Toro UltraPlus. The contents of the box:
- A blower tube
- A power nozzle
- A concentrator nozzle (smaller opening than the power nozzle)
- An oscillator nozzle (more about this later)
- A 2-part vacuum tube
- A bottom inlet cover (when you use the blower – it covers the blades of the mulcher)
- The main blower/vacuum unit
- A vacuum bag
Assembling the Toro UltraPlus is a snap…literally. The tubes snap to the main unit. The power and concentrator nozzles simply slip into the blower tube. The vacuum tube snaps together and attaches (via pivoting) to the main unit in much the same way the bottom inlet cover attaches to the main unit. Even the vacuum bag snaps solidly to the main unit.
Once you have the Toro UltraPlus configured as either a blower or vacuum, the controls are incredibly easy. You just plug it into an appropriate extension cord (they recommend runs of no longer than 150 feet), loop the cord through the extension cord holder, and then use the dial to turn the blower on or off and with varying speeds/power levels.
The Toro UltraPlus can get speeds up to 250 MPH (probably using the concentrator nozzle). I preferred using the oscillator nozzle, however, which sweeps air back and forth to get wider coverage. A quick thing to note, however, the sweeping is very fast, not a slow oscillation. But I preferred this nozzle because it seemed to be better at removing more stubborn leaves and debris from corners or in branches.
Because of my archeological layers of leaves in my backyard, I developed a process along the way to make the eventual vacuuming and mulching a bit more efficient. As leaves start to decompose over the months (er…years), they flatten and get stuck together. In order to loosen up the leaves, I recommend using the oscillating nozzle and then blow all of the new and old leaves over into a corner of the yard. Once you have that mound, you can more easily do the mulching.
For mulching, you simply attach the big vacuum tube and make sure that you have the vacuum bag securely attached before you start vacuuming. Oh, and be sure the bag is zipped shut otherwise you will blow mulch all over the yard and yourself. The Shredz-All Shred Ring works with the metal impeller and chops the yard debris up into practically dust. My previous mulcher had a plastic impeller. The Toro one is very strong!
Another recommendation I have is be sure to get some ear plugs. While the Toro UltraPlus is quieter than a previous vacuum/mulcher I had, it is still quite loud. Wear eye protection as well. And I would recommend getting a dust mask! (And wear long pants and long sleeves just in case of flying debris.)
Sometimes, when vacuuming, a twig would get caught in the tube which then blocked the intake completely as it vacuumed up leaves. Sometimes it would dislodge but other times you had to turn off the Toro UltraPlus and manually remove the blockage.
The Toro UltraPlus performed extremely well for my project. Over two days I was able to transform my yard from this…
I only encountered one issue. The vacuum bag split right next to the ring opening along the seam. But, supposedly this would be a warranty item so I have been told it can be replaced.
The Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac has an MSRP of $99.99. You can pick it up at an authorized Toro dealer, HomeDepot, or on Amazon (currently listing for $99 as it is a newer product).
At the end of my weekend project, I had unearthed toys from when my kids were several years younger (insert embarrassed grin here), balls, cans and other items that have been preserved over the years. It was quite a backyard archeological dig, which couldn’t have been done without the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac!
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. More information can be found in my About page.
HTD says: You will be amazed what you can unearth in your yard under mounds of built up leaves using the Toro UltraPlus!