How to deal with fallen leaves

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How to deal with fallen leaves

Is your garden looking a bit untidy with all those fallen leaves?

Fallen leaves block sunlight to your lawn and prevents your lawn from growing properly in the autumn and winter months if leaves are not removed.  In effect, don’t leave it too long to clear or you may find your lawn a little sparse in places.

Composting:

Larger leaves have a slower decomposition if you are looking to compost them.

Downsize the pile:

You may need to downsize the pile to be taken away by your councils refuse service or taken to your local garden waste refuse centre.  You should leave the pile in a dry place. After a few days, you will find that the leaves will dry out and naturally downsize which will make them easier to dispose of.

You have a few options:

Rake

This is a good idea if you have stamina, time and patience.

Rake the leaves to a spot in the garden (you could rake them onto a tarpaulin).  Using gardening gloves, pick up the leaves and place into a reusable garden waste bag and take to your local refuse centre or leave in the garden waste bin to be collected by your councils refuse service.

Mow

This is an easier option but you must mow the lawn before it rains or once the lawn is completely dry after rainfall.  This can be tricky in Autumn because of the unpredictable weather.  Wet leaves don’t work very well with a mower, they can clog it which is why most people never mow a wet lawn.
When you mow the lawn, the mower will chop the leaves into smaller pieces which will speed up decomposition if you plan to compost the leaves.  Of course, this method should only leave very small leaf pieces (if any) on your lawn.  If you mow over the leaves a few times to get smaller pieces, following decomposition, this could actually leave you with a much healthier lawn.

If you don’t like the idea of this you can always mow the lawn, then use a vacuum with a shredder feature to chop and collect the leaves.

Blower

Using a blower will only work if the leaves and your lawn is dry.

Blow the leaves onto a tarpaulin or a spot in the garden in the same direction that the wind is blowing. You may not get every single leaf so don’t drive yourself mad in the process, just get as much as possible.  Using the blower on a mild day where the wind is still is perfect.  Test the leaves by directing the blower on a mild day at the base of a pile of leaves.  If they don’t move very much, try again later on in the day or on another day.  Once you have collated all the leaves into one spot, using gardening gloves, pick up the leaves and place into a garden waste bag and take to your local refuse centre or leave in the gardening waste bin to be collected by your councils refuse service.  If you have blown them onto a tarpaulin, simply lift and dispose.  If you are looking to compost the leaves, just lift the tarpaulin and drop into your compost bin.
Remember to always wear safety goggles and ear defenders when using this kind of equipment.  Prolonged use without either of these can be detrimental to your health, particularly if sticks and other debris is blown into your face whilst working.  Ear protection is a must because your hearing can be damaged after prolonged exposure.

Vacuum

Use a vacuum with a shredder feature to chop leaves.  Vacuum your lawn as you would vacuum inside your house.  Vacuums can get easily blocked so ensure that the leaves are dry before using.  To maintain it, you should empty the bag regularly and if you can, give it a clean or a rinse after each use then hang it up to dry somewhere warm before putting it in the shed or garage.

Ensure you only vacuum dry leaves.  If the area is quite earthy or stony, use a blower instead of a vacuum or pick up by hand.

Here are some items you may find handy: