Fall Clean Up: Tackling Leaves

Fall Clean Up: Tackling Leaves

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In dry years, your trees may change color early and begin to drop their leaves in August. Its your trees’ stress reaction to abnormally low rates of precipitation, a life-saving move designed to keep the tree alive despite extraordinarily challenging climate conditions.

Once your leaves begin to change and fall, you’ll be tasked with cleaning up your yard, something that can take the better part of your Saturdays for weeks on end. Fortunately, there are ways that you can conquer the leaf accumulation quickly, freeing up more time to do what you really want to do such as take in that college football game.

Use Your Lawn Mower

If your leaf debris is fairly shallow, you can use your lawn mower to pick up leaves. You have two choices here: bag your leaves or mulch them.

When bagging your leaves, you can easily transfer the collected debris to bags or barrels. Or leave them by the curb if your town has a regularly schedule pickup on its way. Mulching may best be left at the end of the season when trees are denuded. Simply keep the bag off of the mower and let the clippings stay on the lawn. Chopped up leaves will decompose and fertilize your lawn naturally. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation advises that you can leave up to 3/4-inch depth of shredded leaves on your lawn — check with your state’s extension service for guidelines in your area.

Rakes and Tarps

Have you noticed that most garden rakes are sold in 18- and 24-inch widths? While these dimensions may be sufficient for some yards, wider rakes make for a quicker clean up for most people.

Larger plastic rakes of up to 30 inches wide are available. You can also buy aluminum tine rakes with a 36-inch width. The larger sizes mean you can pick up more leaves and faster too.

Along with the larger rake, use a tarp to gather your leaves. Deposit these leaves in your compost area or if your town has a pick up, at the curb.

Blow Them Away

If you have a leave blower/vacuum, you can easily pick up debris, especially in areas of your yard that are inaccessible to rakes. A vacuum chops up the leaves, making for excellent compost that can be placed in your compost pile or on the lawn. Or, blow the leaves to the curb and allow your municipality to cart them away.

Likely, you will employ a variety of methods to remove leaves from your lawn. Short of cutting down your trees, you can just as easily hire a couple of teens or pay through the nose to have a landscaping service do it all for you.

See AlsoTrees, Autumn Leaves & Disease Prevention

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Categories: Yard and Garden

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".