How to Pick up Leaves + Best Equipment to Use

Autumn foliage is colorful and glorious to the sight but may turn to be a problem when fall comes. As deciduous trees and shrubs prepare for cold winter, they shed plenty of leaves which scatters in drifts allover your lawns, patios and driveways. Picking up leaves is one tedious task but it become enjoyable if you use of right method and equipment.

A thick layer of leaves on lawn is unhealthy to your turf grass. Leaves will block sunlight from reaching your grass and at the same time provide a home for pests, weeds and fungi. Dealing with leaves early enough will enhance a full lawn recovery in spring without any dead or dry patches. Let us look at best ways to pick up leaves in your yard.

How to Pick up Leaves

Leaf picking may agitate allergens including dust and pollen. Wear a protective gear including hand gloves, dust mask and boots. Before you start, you will need one of the following leaf removal equipment:

  • A lawn mower
  • A leaf blower/vacuum
  • Leaf removal rake
  • Lawn sweeper
  • Leaf grabber/scoop

Once you are ready, you can apply any of the following leaf removal methods based on your tool.

1. Mulch the leaves

Mulching leaves is one of the best practice for maintaining a lawn. However, the leaves should not form a thick layer of mulch that will suffocate the grass. You can mulch leaves using any type of a lawn mower as long as you insert a mulch plug. After mulching, the small pieces of leaves are left on the lawn to decompose. This adds nutrients to a lawn for a healthy growth of grass.

A mulch plug closes the side port or the discharge opening in the mowing deck to effectively recycle the leaves and lawn clippings back into the blade area for repeated cutting. The chopped leaves and grass clipping will then be deposited into the lawn as fine mulch. This method is ideal for few scattered leaves.

2. Mow and bag the leaves

Another option for removing leaves in your lawn is to mow and bag them. Just like mulching, you will need a lawn mower with a bag. Set the blade to its highest and push the mower over the leaves. The blades will chop the leaves into small pieces which are the collected into the attached bag.

Empty the bag once it gets filled until you complete your task. You can compost the leaves or dump them into garbage bags for collection. This methods works whether your lawn is completely covered or just few scattered leaves.

3. Vacuum or blow leaves into piles

Leaves can be blown into a pile using a cordless leaf blower or be sucked up into a bag using a leaf vacuum. These are handy tools for fast collection of leaves. Once you have a pile, it easy to grab your leaves and dispose them of. Leaves are best vacuumed or blown when dry.

When blowing leaves, consider doing it across or with the wind – going against wind will cause leaves to scatter away. Further, work in manageable areas as you make several small piles. Portable leave blowers are great for clearing small yards, patios, driveways, and walkways.

Using a leaf vacuum is also fantastic but you will have to keep emptying your bag when you are dealing with large amount of leaves. Heavy duty power-vacuums can also be attached to a riding lawn mower for clearing large areas. Some models can as well shred leaves before they get into the collecting bag.

4. Rake and bag the leaves

Raking is a traditional way of collecting leaves into small piles before they are picked and disposed into a compost pile. This method requires some muscle and a healthy back. Raking of leaves can be very tedious especially when you are cleaning a large field. If you manage, you may end up with a sore back and blisters in your palm.

When raking leaves, it is important you use a specified tool. A rake with sharp tines can be hard to use and may also damage your turf grass by interfering with emerging roots and stolon. Raking of leaves should be done at the end of fall when leaves have fallen off most of the trees.

After raking leaves into piles, you may use a leaf grabber or a scoop to transfer them into a compost pile or a bags for collection. Remember to wear your hand gloves when raking and scooping leaves to avoid injuries.

5. Deploy a lawn sweeper

Leaves can be picked up using a lawn sweeper. This is a specialized equipment that is pushed or pulled across a lawn to pick up leaves, pine needles, twigs, grass clippings and other debris. These machines are faster, easy to use and efficient compared to other methods.

Lawn sweeper uses high velocity brushes to comb through the grass, dislodging any debris, leaves and grass clippings sending them into a bag at its rear side. Once the bag gets full, the collected leaves and other materials can be dump into a pile for disposal.

6. Hire a professional

Irrespective of the method you use, picking up of leaves takes time and effort. If you are not prepared to do it yourself, asking for professional help is not a crime. This is also an option if you don’t have the right leaf removal equipment. Charges may vary based on the size of the yard or availability of the service.

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