5 Tips for Effective Leaf Removal from a Handy Homeowner

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments


If your yard is anything like mine, it’s now littered with the crispy evidence of winter’s approach. While I love this time of year, like most homeowners I dread autumn’s most daunting chore: leaf removal.

Here’s some tips to keep make your leaf lifting load a little lighter:

1. Keep mowing! If you haven’t yet hit a period of frequent frosts, you’ll want to continue to mow into mid fall. Don’t double your work by raking just yet. If you have a power mower, you can mulch the leaves with you grass clippings. When the grass stops growing, then you can turn your attention to the fallen foliage.

2. Don’t procrastinate. If you want your lawn to look nice in the spring, you can’t just ignore those leaves. Working on the leaves a bit every couple of weeks is much easier than waiting to do it one swoop…if you wait, the task will seem insurmountable and result in much heavier work.

3. Rake or Blower? Blowers are great if your leaves are dry, but damp leaves don’t respond well to these expensive appliances. Also, gas-powered blowers are noisy, smelly and not that great for the environment. If you really want to use a blower (and places like the roof sometime require one), try using an electric one.

The humble rake is honestly the best tool for the job, but naturally can be a problem for the back. If you’ve got a lot of leaves to gather, consider investing a little extra into an ergonomically designed rake. Rakes with curved handles and wide blades help conserve your efforts and save your back. Foam-cushioned handles and gloves will help keep your hands happy, as well.

4. “Shred,” she said. So what will you do with all those leaves? Many local governments have leaf collection programs that allow homeowners to either put the leaves in the street, or amass them for a designated pick up.

While I’m not a fan of using unnecessarily elaborate garden tools, I’ve become sold on the practicality of a leaf shredder (preferably electric). While it’s certainly an option to compost your whole leaves into leaf mold (a type of compost) over a couple of year’s time, true garden gold comes from mixing your green garden and food refuse with your leaves in the active compost pile.

For most people, it’s not practical to compost the amount of whole leaves their yard will generate. But shredding leaves turns 10 bags into one, and creates a material that allows water to permeate and more quickly decompose this organic material into a valuable garden additive. Even if you’re not going to compost, reducing the volume of your leaves with a shredder saves a ton of space in landfills.

5. Ask for help! Get the kids involved for some seasonal fun and even a romp in the leaf piles! “Many hands make light work” is a truism never more apparent than in garden work! Also, if your lawn is huge, you may want to consider paying some local teenagers to give you a hand for a couple of hours. Time is money! So you’ll be the best judge how much yard help is worth to you! (My dad used to say: “I’ve got more time than money.”)

Hope these tips help you make the most of the season’s most dreaded task, and give you more time to enjoy the waning warm-ish weather. Before you know it, we’ll be faced with the next most hated homeowner quandary: snow removal!

This is a guest post from R. Rebecca Carter, a Web Content Strategist for Quicken Loans who writes about personal finance, VA loans and mortgage refinance. When she’s not planning a home improvement project or obsessing over her budget, you can find her walking her dogs or raking leaves.

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  • Use a rake and if there’s a mass amount of leaves call a guy with a van to remove the waste. Simple 🙂

  • Daddy Paul says:

    I just rake mine into the garden.

  • Good tips for leaf removal. I had started a backyard garden to have some fresh and organic veggies last summer but I bought some organic fertilizer to augment the soil. The leaves will definitely help me get my compost pit full and be used in time for my garden next summer.

  • Alison Kerr says:

    I’m happy to see you recommending Earth friendly options for dealing with leaves.

    A good mulching mower will transform a remarkably large covering of leaves into small pieces of leaf mulch which settle down between the grass blades and “disappear”; just “cut” the lawn twice when leaves are present. Any leaves which make it off the lawn in my garden are raked up and kept for later composting. Leaves are homes to overwintering beneficial insects – it’s best not to remove or destroy any more than necessary.

    Thanks for writing about this.

  • Brad Pitt says:

    I think you just need to do that everyday so that it will not be more monsters of leaves. LOL. That is really a tough chore but you need to do that.

  • 7) move to a condo so you don’t have to deal with yard work. You’ll have to pay HOA though. 🙁

  • Blue Spyder says:

    OR…

    6) Move to South Florida where the leaves stay put all year round and doesn’t need raking, but nobody seems to take Christmas lights down at all…

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