The 5 Easiest Ways to Remove Fall Leaves
Fall leaves are a feast for the eye when they color the trees gold, orange and red. Once those leaves start to fall, though, they can create a real mess. Not only do the mounds of dead leaves clutter your lawn, they can also cause "bald spots" in the grass, leave stains on your concrete, and become a haven for mold and mildew. That's why good lawn maintenance doesn't end with mowing, weeding and edging. A rake isn't your only option for clearing away fall leaves, though. Read on to learn about 5 pieces of equipment that can make fall leaf removal much more painless.
Leaf shredders do just what their name says--they shred piles of leaves into small pieces. This will help you out in 1 of 2 ways, depending on what you plan to do with the leaves in your yard. If you plan to recycle the leaves for use in your garden, the leaf shredder will reduce the leaves to the perfect size for mulch or to use to make compost. If you plan to throw the leaves away, shredding them first makes a serious difference in the number of trash bags you will need; some companies claim that their shredders will reduce 11 bags' worth of leaves enough to fit into just 1 bag.
Leaf shredders come in a few varieties. If you're already happy with your leaf collection method, you can buy a can-style leaf shredder that stands on its own. With this type of shredder, you collect the leaves the way you normally would, pour them in the top of the shredder, and place a bag underneath to collect the shredded leaves. Alternatively, some lawn vacuums have built-in shredders.
Lawn vacuums look like push mowers with bag attachments. Lawn vacuums are the easiest type of leaf removal; you just push the vacuum over the yard as you would a lawnmower.
Like lawn mowers, lawn vacuums come in gas, electric or manual models. Gas lawn vacuums are the most powerful and most expensive type, while manual vacuums are usually the least expensive. Some lawn vacuums come with a built-in shredder, which makes the whole process even easier. Lawn vacuums are one of the more expensive leaf removal tools, but they can be well worth it if you have a large lawn with lots of trees.
The mulching lawnmower is the king of all-in-one leaf removal tools. Mulching mowers reduce both grass clippings and leaves into small pieces, and deposit them back onto the lawn. According to the Lawn Institute, the leaf fragments are beneficial for the turf and the grass. Using a mulching mower also saves you the trouble of dealing with the leaves after you've removed them, and saves trash bags and waste if you would normally throw the leaves away. Mulching lawnmowers are available in gas or electric models.
Leaf blowers are a less-expensive option for easy leaf removal. Using a leaf blower is a generally a little more work than using a lawn vacuum or mulching lawnmower, but less work than a rake. Gas models are more powerful than electric models, but they are also noisier and more expensive. Some leaf blowers also function as hand-held leaf vacuums and leaf shredders. If you're allergic to mold, using a leaf blower may irritate your allergies a little more than a leaf vacuum or mulching lawnmower; removing the leaves soon after they fall will help reduce mold growth.
If you use a rake, leaf blower or a leaf vacuum with a small bag, placing leaf collectors around the yard before you get started can save you a lot of work. Collapsible leaf barrels made of canvas come in many sizes, and you can flatten them for compact storage when you don't need them. There are also specialized wheelbarrows made for leaf removal, which sit close to the ground and have flat canvas bottoms that are perfect for collecting leaves. If you place a leaf collector near areas that have a lot of fallen leaves before you start your leaf removal, it will be there for you to empty the leaves into when your leaf bag is full.
When you've finished removing the fallen leaves from your lawn, don't forget to clean out the leaves that have collected in your home's gutters and downspouts. This will help you keep your home's foundation healthy, as well as your lawn.
Photo courtesy of lu2shoot.
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