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Tips and tools for cleaning up fall leaves

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Oct 17, 2023 8:00:00 AM

This time of year, trees put on quite a spectacular show. Their leaves, colored in yellow, orange, and red, create impressive scenery. Unfortunately, the once beautiful leaves turn your lawn into a mess as the season progresses. Whether you’re a veteran homeowner or just bought your first home, cleaning up leaves is cumbersome. Having the proper plan and tools can make it easier.

Here are some tips to help with your leaf cleanup project. leaves

1. Understand your disposal options.

Before you start working, consider how you will dispose of your leaves. Some cities allow you to rake leaves into the street for pickup. If this is the case in your city, ensure you don’t cover storm drains or block fire hydrants.

Otherwise, you may have a local collection center that’ll allow you to drop off yard waste. If this is the case for you, your city may require proof of residency before you can drive in and begin dumping. In West Bend, you must have a sticker to gain access. For us, it’s the best $25 ever spent.

If you’re an avid gardener, using leaves as compost is a great solution. This can give your garden rich nutrients for next year’s growing season.

Lastly, never leave them on your lawn. Piles of leaves can kill or damage your grass. Leaves can block sunlight and reduce water evaporation. This results in fungus, mold, and disease.

2. Select the best tools for the job.

Having the proper tools can make cleanup easier and safer. Here are some different tools you can use depending on the size of your property and the amount of leaves.

  • Common leaf rake. Usually made of plastic with a wood handle, this rake can be used for raking leaves into a pile or onto a plastic tarp. If you’d like to spend a bit more money, you can buy an ergonomic rake, which may be easier on your body. Don’t forget to wear gloves to prevent blisters.
  • Pickup rake. This small rake can be used to pick up leaves or other debris.
  • Leaf claws or scoops. They attach to your hands and help you pick up leaves with ease. They remind me of the Incredible Hulk’s hands. If you buy some of these, your kids may enjoy helping.
  • Leaf tarp. Using a tarp is a great way to collect large amounts of leaves. Once they’re on the tarp, you can move them quickly around your yard.
  • Blower. As a homeowner, I use my blower all the time. Whether removing debris from my garage, blowing leaves, or clearing a light dusting of snow, it works well. While you may still need a rake to create a pile, a blower can move them easily and quickly. If it’s a windy day, a blower won’t work well and may lead to frustration. Wait for the wind to calm down.
  • Mulching lawn mower. A mulching lawn mower will work great if you have a light collection of leaves each year. You can even bag the leaves if you’d like.
  • Leaf vacuum. You can try this if you live in a heavily wooded area and have a riding lawn mower. A leaf vacuum hooks up to your rider. As you drive over the leaves, the vacuum sucks them up, grinds them, and sends them into a pull-behind container.
  • Lawn sweeper. This is like a leaf vacuum as it hooks up to your riding lawn mower. However, the difference is that it uses a sweeping motion to pull the leaves into the cart. It doesn’t grind them up.
  • Walk-behind power vacuum. Instead of vacuuming your carpet, you can vacuum your yard. This tool sucks up leaves and shreds them before sending them into the collection bag. This is an excellent investment if your yard is too big to rake, but not large enough for a riding lawn mower.

3. Ask for assistance.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members or neighbors. Not only will you get the job done faster, but it can also help prevent injury.

4. Watch the weather.

If it is a warm day, drink plenty of water. If it’s a windy day, the wind may do the work for you. Always watch the weather to make sure you wear the appropriate gear.

For additional safety tips, check out the blogs below.

Ten Tips For Enjoying Fall And Keeping Your Family Safe

Five tips for staying mindful when transitioning to fall 

Six ladder safety tips to keep you safe during the holidays 

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

Topics: Yard Safety

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