How to clean up leaves

How to clean up leavesI just went outside today after a big storm we had and saw so many leaves in the yard. I thought, isn’t it a bit early?? Usually, leaf clean up is in November, but I might have to start early this year. If you are in the same boat, you might be wondering how to clean up leaves in your yard. In this piece, we will explore different options which will give good results.

The lawnmower method

If you have a big yard and don’t want to toil away for hours collecting leaves, AND, you want to give your lawn some nice nutrients, get out the lawnmower! While it seems a bit weird, running a lawn mower over your leaves will break the leaves down into little bits, providing a nice mulch for your grass. Just don’t put a bag on the back of your mower, and let ‘er rip!

How to clean up leaves

If you don’t want the leaf bits on your lawn, leave the mower bag on and sprinkle the mowed leaves over mulch beds or use in compost.

Raking methods

Do you dread raking up leaves? It can be tedious. But, here are some tips to make the job easier.

First, make sure you have a good rake. Go to your local hardware store or online and you’ll find many to choose from. These days, companies are making ergonomic rakes, which may be easier to use, especially when you’ve got a lot of leaves to rake. Here’s an option, the Tabor Tools Telescopic Metal Rake. You can adjust both the pole length and the width of the rake head. Plus, it has a handle grip. This type of rake could be handy, especially as I find most rakes are made for large men, and the ability to adjust it could make it more effective for people of different sizes.

You can also use a good old fashioned wooden-handled rake with either a metal or plastic head. I find metal a bit easier to get the leaves up with, personally. One of my rakes is a giant plastic head rake which makes me rather exhausted in a short period of time. Size matters!

How to clean up leaves

One problem I have is getting someone to hold the bag for me while I’m raking, as it’s awfully awkward to guide raked leaves into a flaccid plastic bag. Do you find this, too? Last year, I invested in a Bag Buddy Bag Holder which revolutionized my leaf clean up. It’s basically a wire frame that holds the plastic bag so you don’t need a human buddy! I also bought a roll of these Pekky Clear Large Trash Bags  (you can see both the bag holder and large clear bags in the product review for Releaf Leaf Scoops in the next section).

If you have a particularly big yard, you might consider getting a tarp to rake the leaves into, particularly if you have somewhere, like woods or a large compost area that you can drag the leaves somewhere else.

Scoop them with a leaf scoop

I’m not sure how long leaf scoops have been a thing, but they came on my radar last winter. I saw these bright, green hulk-like plastic hands and couldn’t resist ordering a pair. They are a bit goofy, but seemed to fit the bill when thinking about how to clean up leaves. The kind I bought is the ReLeaf Leaf Scoops.

I was skeptical at first, thinking it was a gimmick, so I did a full video review (below).

In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons:

Pros: Makes extremely fast work of leaf clean up. If you rake your leaves into piles, and then scoop them, you can get the leaves in the bags and out of your yard in less than half the time. Who doesn’t want to save time and energy?

Cons: They are one size fits all, and for my small wrists, that meant having a thick sleeve between me and the plastic of the leaf scoop was what I needed in order to be comfortable.

Check out the full review:

Blow your leaves around

Leaf blowers are kinda the bane of suburban existence. In the fall, you can hear the leaf blowers buzzing almost constantly. In the city, be prepared to be blasted with little bits of dust and debris whenever one is operating on your block. I’m not sure why some people like to use them early morning as it’s sure to annoy the neighbors. They have a tendency to be not only noisy but smelly. However, there’s a reason for their popularity – they are fast and easy to use. They make short work of leaf cleanup. And, particularly if you like to keep things tidy all through the fall, it’s a fast way to regularly clear and corral your leaves. An intriguing option when thinking about how to clean up leaves.

How to clean up leaves

Some good options for leaf blowers are relatively inexpensive gas powered leaf blowers Hitachi RB24EAP Gas Powered Leaf Blower, or, if you prefer a corded electric one (probably suitable for a smaller yard) there’s the Toro 51619 Ultra Electric Blower Vac, or if you want a cordless, badass slightly more expensive one, consider the DEWALT DCBL720P1 Lithium Ion Brushless Blower. All good choices, depending on your needs.

Consider a mask if you have allergies

I know for me, though I’m supposedly only allergic to pollen of Sycamore trees, cleaning up Sycamore leaves can trigger my allergies. Also, dust and dirt can become airborne while raking or mowing or blowing your leaves. Though it’s not a sexy look, you won’t be coughing up bits of whatever or sneezing as much if you don a mask such as 3M Respirator, Cool Flow Valve (10-Pack). These are great to have around for a variety of gardening and home improvement activities, including sanding and woodworking, so getting a 10 pack can make good economic sense.

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