It is understandable that some gardeners dread the arrival of fall / autumn, as their yards will be covered in a thick blanket of leaves again. The though of having to rake all that off the lawn would drive the most enthusiastic gardener insane. But you’re in luck. Many people before you had the same fear, and they came up with a list of alternatives to raking leaves.
Mow the Leaves with a Mulching Lawn Mower
One of the easiest methods for dealing with leaves is to mow over them with a mulching lawn mower. The mower breaks down the leaves, eliminating the need for raking. However, this method is most effective when you prevent the leaves from accumulating too much.
If the ground is completely covered in leaves, you will have a layer of shredded leaves across your lawn. Another option is to use a mower with a bag attachment to collect the debris. You can simply mow over the leaves and then dispose of the bag contents when it gets full.
You do not necessarily need a mulching lawn mower or a mower with a bag attachment to mow over the leaves. Using a standard mower, you can simply mow over the leaves, leaving a path of debris with each pass that you make.
When you finish mowing, you will have several rows of debris that you can quickly rake into bags, instead of needing to rake the entire yard. The leaves will also be broken down, allowing you to fit more leaves into the yard bags.
Use a Leaf Blower to Clear Your Yard
Leaf blowers take the back-breaking work out of cleaning up leaves. Instead of stooping over the ground with a rake, you can simply blow the leaves into a large pile.
There are three main types of leaf blowers. You can find electric or gas-powered leaf blowers. The electric blowers may be corded or cordless with a battery pack. The cordless electric blowers and gas-powered blowers are more convenient, as you do not need to worry about an extension cord getting in the way.
When using a leaf blower, always start around the outer perimeter of your yard and work your way toward the center. You do not want to blow your leaves into your neighbor’s yard or out into the street.
You should also place a tarp in the yard before you start blowing the leaves. As you work your way around the yard, blow the leaves toward the tarp. You can then fold the tarp up from the corners and drag it to a compost bin.
Collect Your Leaves with a Leaf Vacuum
Many leaf blowers provide two functions. Along with blowing leaves, you can use them as leaf vacuums. They typically feature a switch that reverses the motor. Instead of blowing the leaves, the machine sucks them up and into a bag.
Using a leaf vac is typically recommended when you have a limited amount of leaves or a small yard. You do not need to deal with the hassle of trying to blow leaves into a pile. However, the bag can fill up quickly.
Besides clearing leaves from small spaces, leaf vacuums are useful for cleaning up leaves from difficult-to-reach areas. For example, piles of leaves that have fallen on top of rock beds or gardens may be difficult to rake or remove with a leaf blower. A leaf vacuum can also easily collect leaves that have collected along the base of a fence.
Leaf blowers/vacs are convenient pieces of yard equipment. You can use the blower mode when you need to move a large volume of leaves and the vacuum mode when you need to remove small clumps of leaves from difficult areas.
Compost Your Leaves
Raking is a chore that most homeowners dread. Luckily, a mower, blower, or vacuum can help you collect the leaves. If you mulch the leaves, the debris may be small enough to leave on the lawn. However, in most cases, you will either need to place them in yard bags or compost them.
Composting offers an effective way to get rid of leaves and create compost that you can use in your garden. You can use a compost bin or build your own compost pit. Simply throw the leaves in the compost bin and turn the leaves every couple of weeks. The leaves will slowly break down, creating a healthy compost material.
Along with leaves, you can place other materials in your compost bin. You can add food waste, including scraps of fruits and vegetables. You can also add your clippings from yard work, including yard debris from pruning plants.