If you own a property with any trees around, you’re all too familiar with the annual coverage of leaves you find on your lawn. Raking them is standard practice, but there are actually a few different schools of thought on the best way to do it, and if you even should.
Let’s start with the commonly asked “Do I even need to rake my leaves?” The answer actually depends largely on how much of your lawn is covered with a thick canopy of leaves. According to SF Gate, if your lawn is covered more than 20% by a layer of leaves, the loss in sunlight can cause patches of your grass to die and require re-seeding in the spring. So, if this is the case on your property, you should do one of the following two things.
Leaves, when they’re not completely starving your lawn of its essential sunlight, actually provide some beneficial nutrients for plants and soil. If you wait just until the leaves become hardened and crunchy, you can bring out the lawn mower and mulch them up. What you’re left with is a beneficial mulch that you can put in your garden or leave on your grass to encourage healthy growth. However, if that canopy of leaves is too thick for comfort, you should consider strategy two.
Once you’ve decided to get rake them up, there are some tips you can use that will make it a fair bit easier. These come from a video by David’s Tutorials. Get yourself a 33 gallon garbage can, or, if your municipality offers leaf collection and you can put them in your bin, this isn’t necessary. To make getting the bag in your bin way easier, you can drill a few small holes in the top and the bottom of the bin. This will keep the air from staying in the bin and giving you a hard time.
For the actual raking part, do yourself a favor and get a rake with the widest fan possible. This will speed up the job. Even better, get two rakes. Use them both like claws to get the leaves into the bin. You’ll be shocked at how much easier it is done this way!
This last tip is for the keeners with plywood lying around. If you’ve got a big piece, trace out a circle smaller than the bottom of your bin, cut it out and use that to push down the leaves. This will free up tons more space. Or, if you don’t want to go to the trouble, anything that fits inside the bin you can use to push the leaves down will do the trick.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your lawn this winter. Remember, leaves don’t just fall onto your lawn though, they can also end up in your gutters. If your gutters are backed up with leaves, be sure to get in touch for a free gutter cleaning estimate!