Leaf Cleanup In Less Time

The magnificent gold and red show of autumn leaves unfortunately becomes the biggest of autumn chores a few weeks later. It’s like cleaning up after a party. So how can you make it an easier task and find fun in it, too?

It’s important to remove leaves to keep the grass from being smothered, and to keep from giving  wildlife, including snakes, comfortable camouflage for nesting.

The first thing to remember is that no matter how much you rake, leaves are going to keep falling until the trees are almost bare, so you might as well wait. In the meantime, enjoy their beauty.

  • Take a few of the brightest ones and decoupage or wax-coat them for indoor decorations.
  • Rake up a pile for the kids or grandkids to jump into – a great photo opportunity!
  • Tour the area for some ‘magnificent colors’ tree-spotting.
  • Incorporate leaves into your Halloween plans and your last outdoor parties for the year.

To hand-rake, it’s important to invest in comfort and in time-saving devices to make it easier..

  • Get a tarp to push all the leaves into instead of individual yard bags, so it can be tied off and moved to the compost pile or the community collection site. It’s reusable, too.
  • Get the widest ‘no-clog’ leaf rake you can find – one that is lightweight, with a cushioned grip and possibly an adjustable-length handle, to keep you from tiring so quickly.
  • You might want good garden boots and a dust mask or goggles to avoid the dust and pollens that will be dislodged.

Tips for making the project easier:

  • Dried leaves are much lighter to rake, so do this activity before it rains.
  • Don’t rake on a windy day, but a mild breeze can help you push leaves along..
  • Leaf-raking works best with light, gentle motions.

Try mechanized alternatives for larger spaces:

  • A leaf blower forces leaves across the yard, and is great for removing debris from small spaces around bushes or corners of the house.
  • Use a lawnmower to mow slowly, chopping leaves into tiny pieces that will break down easily into the soil and not smother the grass. 
  • A lawn vacuum with a shredder sucks up the leaves and pulverizes them to be dumped into garden planters or yard clipping bags. 

It’s important not to push yourself too hard. If possible, make raking day a colorful and enjoyable get-together event with a few family or friends, followed by a hearty lunch. This proverb from the 14th century still holds true: many hands make light work.