Raking your leaves is such a simple chore, but it often gets put aside for other more appealing activities, leaving you with a huge fall colored mess in your yard. Don’t let it get to that point this year! With these simple tips, tricks, and tools you can claim your yard back from the wild and make leaf clean up a breeze!
Did you thinning trees at the beginning of fall is one of the easiest and best ways to control your leaf clean up and keep a clean yard? By trimming back excess branches you are not only boosting the health of your tree and promoting strong spring growth, but also lessening your leaf clean up duties exponentially. Keeping your branches trimmed down for the fall and winter helps contain the clean up to one specific area rather than blowing all around your yard. The leaves mostly stay attached to the removed branches; so to get rid of leaves just pick up the trimmed branches, throw them in your green bin, and you are done.
I made that sound super easy, but that is not always the case. Calling a trained professional is always recommended when you are trimming trees. At Tree Wise, we offer highly trained and certified arborists to assist you in your fall tree trimming and other needs. Now, if you’re not so sure about trimming your tree just yet, or maybe you did, but there is still a ton of leaves hanging out on your lawn, we’ve got you covered.
The top trick to managing your leaf cleanup is easy to remember: Keep it manageable! Don’t let it get out of control. A little effort here and there will go a long way when you get right down to it. Take ten minutes each day to rake up a few autumn leaves and toss them in your brown bags. By the time all the leaves have fallen your yard will look like a million bucks and you won’t be sporting a back ache to attest for it.
How about a leaf blower? Although, a great tool in the battle against the leaf horde, leaf blowers do have limitations. So keep these tips in mind when you grab your gadget and get to work. Smaller leaf blowers work great for driveways and sidewalks, but not necessarily the best for blowing wet leaves off your lawn so if you plan on blowing away your yard problems make sure you are using the right size leaf blower. Another thing to keep in mind is the difference between gas and electric blowers. Electric blowers are usually somewhat less powerful than their gas counter parts and might not do the trick on those sticky leaves you’ve been ignoring but work great on freshly fallen leaves or leaves on sidewalks and driveways. A gas blower, however, can prove a useful tool even though it sounds like a Boeing 747 heading down the runway for takeoff. Able to handle a little more of the heavy duty work a gas blower can be an asset for leaf disposal, or as I was recently informed, also functions as a great tool when your kids have spilled their crackers in the back seat of the mini-van…Just watch for flying Legos.
Ok, so you’ve blown your leaves around the world…or around the corner of the house, but now what? Time to get to raking! Yes, I know you thought you didn’t have to worry about raking with a leaf-o-matic 6000 Super Series in your retinue of tools, but unfortunately there is still a little raking that needs to be done. The way to avoid the negative effects of that back breaking work is easy, though. Have you seen those funny, bendy rakes in the stores? Yeah, those ones. They are ergonomic rakes, made to help you rake with as little strain to your body as possible. Give it a try, your yard cleanup will never feel the same.
So, maybe the most effective tool in controlling the leaf population on your front stoop is, in fact, the least likely to be considered. Did you nicely wrap your lawnmower up for the winter and tuck it in for hibernation? Well, time for a rude awakening. Set the blade as low as it will go without cutting up the turf and mow away. You’ll be doing your lawn a favor AND cleaning up those pesky leaves in the process. Consumer Reports had this to say about moving your leaves, “The mower chops them into little bits that serve as nutrient-rich compost for your lawn. Even if you bag the leaves, you’ll fit more per bag given the smaller pieces. And you’ll use up the last bit of gas in the tank before stowing the mower for the winter.” If you have a mulch bag attachment, that’s awesome, if not, that’s ok too! The now thoroughly sliced and diced leaves act as a sort of chilly winter insulation when packed on other plants or the grass on your lawn and add to the clean landscaping “look”.
If you’ll be scooping the leaves at all, might I suggest a bagger? These awesome contraptions are not expensive at all and can make loading your brown bags easy as 1-2-3. You just pop the tube into the bag and fill her up! The wide mouth is made for easy loading and the tube funnels the leaves and mulch down into the bag or bin to keep it from falling out during clean up.
If you’re not into leaving the leaves or mower mulch out on the lawn, another tool you can employ is a tarp. Rather than trying to scoop each handful of leaves into your bucket. According to Josh from Ask The Expert, “Don’t try to transport a big pile of leaves all the way to the woods for disposal- or the curb if your municipality picks them up with a vacuum truck— using a blower, not even a backpack one. Instead, rake or blow them onto a tarp and drag them to their destination…”Lay out a tarp and rake all of those little bad boys up onto the tarp, fold in the corners, and voila! You just need to drag it to where you want it and dump it in! Best part is…Tarps are CHEAP!
I recently ran into a problem as I was cleaning up our leaves the other day. I filled my bin up to the tip-top and still had a ton of leaves left over. So, I thought, why not build a compost pile? Leaves are a great to compost as they break down quickly and easily. By adding food items in regularly you will expedite the process and have a ready-made pile of free fertilizer in a few seasons.
The most important tip I can offer you is this: Don’t wait until spring. If you want until spring to do the leaf cleanup you’ll regret it. Not only have the leaves begun to break down and are a slimy gross mess, but you’re making your lawn work a lot harder than it needs to in order to get water and sunlight. We want you to have a gorgeous yard and beautiful landscaping you can be proud of, and leaving your un-mulched leaves out won’t help.
So, whether you chose to use a leaf blower, tarp, rake, or lawnmower I hope you are motivated to get out into that yard and attack those leaves waiting outside your door. Remember, fall is natural but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice yard. Good luck out there and remember to follow us on facebook for more tips and tricks or subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on all of our newest information.
- Consumer Report. Tip of the day: Make faster work of leaf removal. [Blog] (October 16, 2007) Retrieved From: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/09/tips-and-tricks-that-make-fall-cleanup-easy/index.htm
- Consumer Report. Tips and Tricks to Make Fall Cleanup Easy. [Blog] (September 24, 2015) Retrieved From: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2007/10/tip-of-the-day-make-faster-work-of-leaf-removal/index.htm
- Garskof, Josh. Here’s How to Make Leaf Clean Up Easy This Fall. [Blog] (October 22, 2014) Retrieved From: http://time.com/money/3502242/leaf-tools-blower-mower-clean-up-cost/