We got our first snowfall last week and it was a harsh reminder that winter is on its way. If you haven’t cleaned up your yard this fall, now is the time to do so before the white stuff sticks around for a few months.
Autumn leaves may be colorful, but they can cause a problem if left on the lawns over winter!
Apple pie, pumpkins, and blooming crocuses are symbols of autumn. But nothing signals the arrival of fall more than the millions upon millions of chromatic leaves that begin to cascade from the trees as the temperature dips.
Many people feel nothing is more beautiful than the yellow, red, purple, and orange leaves that coat our neighborhoods and countrysides each autumn. I agree the sight is breathtaking and soul-stirring. But in spite of their beauty, leaves might be a nuisance to homeowners charged with removing the endless piles from their yard.
Trees are sensitive to temperature, and as the days begin to grow shorter and colder, it triggers a hormone release that cues them to drop their leaves. If the fallen leaves are left untouched during the autumn and winter, they can contribute to lawn problems such as poor aeration, mold growth, and moisture issues. Leaves also can cause staining on driveways and sidewalks. Prompt removal can help prevent any of these problems. To make your leaf removal work easier and faster, here are a few tips.
Mow over thin leaf coverage. If only a few leaves have fallen, use a mulching mower to shred the leaves until they are small enough that they won’t suffocate the lawn. These tiny pieces will decompose naturally in the lawn, and reintroduce nutrients as a result.
If you have bunches of leaves as I do, then raking smarter is the key. Use an ergonomic leaf rake. Ergonomic rakes are lightweight, easy to handle, and prevent strain on your back and arms.
Invest in a good quality leaf blower. Using a rake is good exercise, but homeowners with large properties might want to use a leaf blower. These powerful machines can dislodge leaves from bushes and hard to reach areas. Plus the work faster than a rake.
Use a tarp or bag them. Rake and blow your gathered leaves onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the back of a truck for proper and considerate disposal. Please do not blow them onto the curbside for other people to deal with. We stuff our leaves into garbage bags and dispose of them.
Work with the wind. Rake in the direction the wind is blowing and downhill if your property slopes. We live in a very windy area, so most days we have to contend with a breeze. Working with Mother Nature is always the best.
Get the kids involved. If you have a big yard, it can be a daunting task. Give the kids a rake and have fun. Leave clean up is an ongoing job during October, so spread out the work. Do a little every weekend so you can continue to collect the new-fallen leaves.