Five ways to make clearing leaves from your yard easier

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Across much of the U.S. and Canada, leaves are falling fast from trees.

When I see yards covered in a layer of leaves so thick, the lawn isn’t visible at all anymore, I want to jump out of my truck, leaf blower and rake in hand, and clear the leaves before heavy rain or snow arrives.

My answer to the common question, “Do I really need to pick up leaves in my yard?” is always an energetic: “Well, do you want a healthy lawn?!”

If your answer is yes, then leaf removal is extremely important. Sporadic piles and wide blankets of leaves left on a lawn will soon become a soggy, heavy mess that will be nearly impossible to clear come winter. These neglected leaves will suffocate your lawn and promote the growth of thatch (a mix of dead and living stems).

Here are some tips:

5 ways to make clearing leaves from your yard easier

1.       Take care of it now.

Then clear leaves again in a week or two – or as needed. Don’t put it off until your trees are naked and your lawn is under a leaf blanket. Also, watch the weather forecast. If there is rain expected, consider taking care of the leaves now. Leaves are far more difficult to move when they’re wet and heavy.

2.       Install a mulching blade on your lawn mower, if possible.

Check your lawn mower owner’s manual and only use a mulching blade designed for your model. A mulching blade will cut leaves into fine clippings, providing important nutrients for the lawn.

3.       Use a simple, fan-shaped rake. 

People often mistakenly use heavy, weeding/soil-loosening rakes for simple leaf clearing. A simple, basic rake is best for the job.

4.       Contact your local municipality for information on its leaf disposal program.

Many cities and townships have programs in place for community leaf removal. This often includes curbside pickup of biodegradable bags filled with leaves and yard debris.  Some municipalities make it even easier on you – just push your leaves into a mound in the street. Then, they’ll come by and sweep it up. This is then turned into nutrient-packed compost that’s available for little to no cost to residents when spring arrives.

5.       Embrace the convenience of a leaf blower.

Leaf blowers are extremely handy in clearing the narrow areas between bushes and shrubbery – places that a basic fan rake cannot reach effectively. has replacement parts and maintenance products for leaf blowers.

Also, consider recruiting some friends or family members to help if you have a substantial amount of leaves to clear. Make it a party. Offer free food. It’s amazing how much faster you’ll get the job done with a few helpers.

Remember to dress appropriately:

  1. Dress in layers. It may get warm as you work.
  2. Wear long sleeves, pants and quality working gloves. This will protect against cuts and scrapes caused from picking up branches and other debris in the process.
  3. If you use a leaf blower, wear protective eyewear to protect against dust, dirt or propelled debris. It is a serious risk.

Anything you’d add to this list?

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