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How to rake leaves | property

Now that autumn has arrived, changing leaves will soon follow. Beautiful fall leaves in shades of red and gold eventually fall to the ground and pile up in the yard, where they can stifle the growth of other plants, attract pests, and reduce the attractiveness of your home.

“Leaving foliage behind can benefit your yard, local wildlife, and the environment — not to mention reducing yard maintenance,” explains Annie Thornton, Senior Associate Editor at Houzz. “In some cases, however, it makes sense to rake up some of the fallen leaves.”

Thornton recommends raking up thick layers of leaves that can smother the grass and discarding diseased foliage to prevent spreading disease to other plants. “While raking up leaves and adding them to a garden bed or compost pile is an option, you might also consider mowing the fallen leaves directly with the grass to create a natural fertilizer that enriches your lawn,” says Thornton .

Lindsay Miller, a horticultural writer at Gardener’s Supply Company, a garden information and products company, encourages homeowners to consider mindful leaf removal. “Leaves have a lot of really important nutrients that help replenish the soil,” says Miller. “When we bag up our leaves and ship them away, we’re basically throwing away (and filling up landfills) all the good stuff that our gardens need.”

Miller explains that leaves, stems, seeds, shrubs, and other plant parts that fall to the ground are vital for wildlife to overwinter. Bees, moths and other pollinators rely heavily on brush piles and leaves to insulate them during the colder months.

With a landscape full of deciduous trees comes a variety of tools that can either make raking the leaves easier or more difficult.

There are steel, polypropylene, and bamboo leaf rakes designed for different types of leaf removal, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Unlike steel, polypropylene and bamboo don’t rust—unless the wire holding the tines together is improperly stored or oiled—and they weigh a lot less. Steel rakes are more durable when moving large piles of leaves or straw, especially when still wet and heavy, while plastic and bamboo rakes break much faster.

You’ve finally got the hang of it, but now what? How do you proceed and what methods are there for leaf disposal? In order to finally put an end to the leaf problem, at least for this season, you should consider the following strategies:

  • Mow and mulch. Leaf mulching fertilizes your grass, shrubs, trees, flowers and garden areas. Miller recommends placing mulch around young trees and shrubs, or if you have vegetable garden beds that have been cleaned for the season, cover them with mulch to prevent early spring weeds from taking over.
  • Compost. If you don’t already have one, create your own compost pile and add leaves to its contents. In spring, use the compost to fertilize your garden and flower beds.
  • scraps. Their crushing also speeds up the decomposition process. “An electric leaf shredder can be a godsend if you take a dozen bags of leaves and chew them down to just 1 bag in volume. Then you can mulch the beds with the shredded leaves or just toss them in the compost,” says Miller.
  • Pocket. Compost bags or rubbish bins can be used for disposal. “If you choose to rake and remove your leaves, check with your city or county’s solid waste management authority to see if they collect and compost green waste, including leaves,” Thornton says. “Some municipalities may even offer compost that you can use to enrich the soil in your garden.” To see if there is a leaf collection service in your area, visit your city or county website.
  • Blow up leaves with a blower. If you have a lot of ground to cover, you can save time and effort by simply blowing them in one direction with a leaf blower. Avoid blowing them into the street, as their decomposition releases phosphorus, which can clog drains and waterways.
  • Use a tarp. Transport and remove large piles of leaves with a tarp.
  • Burn. Leaf burning is usually a last resort and not every county allows it as it can be dangerous and pollute the air. However, if you are permitted to burn leaves, burn them in smaller heaps away from anything that could catch fire.

If you don’t dispose of the leaves, Miller suggests “tactical raking,” which involves moving leaves around your property where they work best. “Be sure to rake (or shovel) leaves off sidewalks and patios so they don’t become a slip hazard,” says Miller. “Rainwater drains and drainage troughs — those roadside and driveway ditches — should also be kept leaf-free to function properly. A super thick layer of wet leaves on the lawn will smother and kill lawn grass. Strive to rake your leaves before the first snow comes.”

Before you go outside and rake leaves, dress appropriately for the weather and wear heavy-duty gloves to avoid blisters. Comfortable shoes are also a must. Follow these strategies to make your computing time efficient and relatively painless.

Wait for the leaves to finish falling

Mother Nature will do what she does best and you can’t do her any faster. If you start raking leaves before all the leaves have fallen, you will have to do the job more than once, which is inconvenient and wastes time.

Use the right rake

Having the right kind of rake is more important than many people think. Choose a rake with a comfortable length so you don’t have to crouch, wider tine spacing — about 30 inches is ideal — and a clog-free design so you don’t poke through leaves.

Rake in the same direction as the wind

Many people see the wind as an additional obstacle when raking leaves, but raking in the same direction that the wind is blowing can speed up the process. By not fighting the wind, you can move the dry leaves faster and with less effort.

However, if the wind is too strong, don’t bother raking the leaves as the leaves are either in your neighbor’s yard or right where they started.

Don’t rake after it rains

Wet leaves stick together, making them difficult to collect with your rake, garden vacuum or leaf blower. Leaves are much easier to rake and dispose of when they are dry.

Use a leaf blower or a garden vacuum

When operated properly, a leaf blower can help reduce the time spent raking leaves. Divide your yard into sections, create a grid layout, and then work backwards from the house.

Mow and mulch

You can mow over leaves with a lawn mower, preferably with a mulching mode, to mulch your lawn. This also accelerates leaf decomposition and provides more nutrients to the grass.

Rake leaves in a lattice pattern

You can save some time by dividing your lawn into quadrants and raking in a grid pattern rather than a linear pattern. This way you can quickly go from one end to the other instead of raking leaves into the middle and then going back and forth.

bag leaves immediately

If you want to save time and don’t want to ruin your hard work with a crisp autumn wind, you should bag the leaves immediately. Don’t have time to pack them right away? Try stepping on the pile to squeeze the leaves and prevent them from being blown away.

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