Keep Your Yard Looking Great This Fall With These Tips For Leaf Removal
Fall is great. The weather cools down, and the growing season begins to slow enough for us to take a break from the seemingly endless tasks of summertime mowing and trimming. However, as our trees start to shut down shop for the rest of the year, we’re left with the necessary job of finding something to do with all of the fallen leaves. To keep your lawn looking its best, you’ll have to tackle some leaf removal. Depending on the size of your yard and clean-up preferences, we have a few ideas for helping you handle this classic fall chore as quickly and easily as possible.
Best Leaf Removal Methods
Rake It Up
Personally, the rake approach to leaf removal has traditionally been my least favorite of the available options. However, if you only have a small amount of ground to cover, this might be the best option for quick and tidy leaf removal.
Use your wider rakes for your larger, more open areas. A narrower rake can help out when you’re clearing out tighter spots, like flower beds and between shrubs.
To save yourself from having to bend over time and again to get the leaves picked up and in the bin, we have this useful suggestion: rake all your leaves onto a tarp, grab the corners, and carry it to the trash or compost heap in one trip.
Let the Leaf Blower Do The Heavy Lifting
Blowers will be an appealing option for many, and we have a lot of options to consider: electric, gas-powered, and the more powerful backpack and wheeled varieties.
For small- to medium-sized spaces, your gas-powered or battery-powered handheld blower models will be a good option. At this point, gas engines still offer more blowing force, though the gap between the two seems to be shrinking. And for moving dry leaves around, the power that batteries provide will more than suffice for most people. Plus, you get ramped-up convenience with less noise and no emissions.
For larger properties with a lot of wide-open space, you might benefit from a more heavy-duty backpack model or a wheeled model. These provide even more power for properties heavily carpeted in a leafy autumn harvest.
For a more comprehensive look at gas vs battery-powered leaf blowers, check out our article here.
Again, we like the “tarp” trick when it comes to disposing or transporting large piles of leaves, though depending on the size of your tarp, you may need a bit of finesse with the trigger to keep from blowing your pile hither and yon.
Suck It Up
Instead of blowing leaves around, you can opt for the vacuum approach to leaf removal. Take the Makita XBU04 Cordless Blower Mulcher, for an example. Though this can tackle blowing work as well, you can transform it into a formidable electric lawn vacuum. It sucks up leaves and debris and runs them through the impeller, which breaks them down to a 10:1 ratio, and deposits them into a bag. From there, it’s easy to walk the mulch to the trash or compost, or you can spread it around the lawn for fertilization.
You can also opt for wheeled models. Functionally, they operate like the handheld models that suck up leaves and lawn debris, chop them up in the impeller, and leave the chopped-up mulch in a bag to do with what you will. With this option though, you get the same sort of comfort that a walk-behind mower provides.
Use Your Mulching Mower
Assuming the conditions are right, we think that mowing over fallen leaves presents the best method of leaf removal. The lack of having to bend over to collect leaf piles appeals to our backs, and our mower’s mulching blade quickly turns fallen leaves into nutrient-rich fertilizer for the grass to use before the winter sets in.
Of course, there are a few caveats here. Your mower will need to be equipped with a decent mulching blade. You will also want to spread any fallen leaves evenly around the lawn, as you really won’t want to try to drive over piles. And, wet leaves will have the tendency to clog your mower deck, so you’ll want to tackle this chore when the leaves are dry.
For the best results, set your cut height as high as you can; you’re working on mulching the leaves rather than cutting any grass. You’ll likely also want to move more slowly than you would if you were cutting the grass. The more time your leaves have under the cutting deck, the more finely they’ll get diced up, which will cause them to break down faster in your lawn to provide a natural fertilizer.
Of course, if you’d rather direct your leaf mulch to the compost pile, this method also works when bagging your clippings.