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Fall Leaf Cleanup Tips for Homeowners

A rake lays on a pile of leaves with some green grass showing through

Do you have big, beautiful trees in your yard? They probably provide great shade in the summer and gorgeous colors in the fall—but then they create a master canvas of leaves on your lawn, and you suddenly have a lot of work to do!

Wouldn’t you like to make your life easier? Read on for some easy leaf cleanup tips to make your fall yard maintenance a breeze this year.

Speaking of breezes

Poor weather can make fall yard cleanup more difficult, so you’ll want to avoid working on blustery days. A light breeze, on the other hand, can be helpful: Use it to your advantage by raking in the direction the wind is going.

Another weather feature to avoid is rain, especially when using a rake to manually organize piles. Wet leaves are heavy leaves, so try to do fall leaf cleanup on a day when the leaves have had a chance to dry out.

Can’t I just leave them there?

Once the leaves create a layer, they can prevent sunlight from reaching your lush landscape. After a while, this creates a dark and moist place for mold and pests to thrive. Leaving this layer down all winter long may result in brown patches in the spring.

If your lawn is a point of pride for you, get rid of those leaves before the snow hits—but in most cases, you can safely wait for most of the leaves to fall before you get started.

Safety first

If you’ve ever raked a lawn in your life, you know it can lead to back pain. Drink lots of water to help your body and muscles stay hydrated and flexible. Be sure to stand up straight and stretch every few minutes to avoid locking or straining your muscles, and don’t be afraid to take breaks—raking can be a serious workout.

Fall leaf cleanup can also be a dusty affair, so grab a dust mask on your way outside; this is especially useful if you are prone to allergies. It’s a good idea to shower afterward as well, to remove excess pollen and dust.

Lastly, be sure to wear gardening or work gloves (especially if you are manually raking your leaves). This will help prevent sores and blisters on your hands.

Tools of the trade

You’re probably thinking: “I know what a rake is.” But some lawn tools are more efficient than others, so knowing which ones can make the job easier is important.

If you’re going with a rake, choose a wide one (24 to 30 inches wide) with an ergonomic handle and ‘no-clog’ tines. This is going to be the best option for your back (less bending) and help you move the job along more quickly. For those who prefer technology over manual labor, you might consider using a lawn sweeper or a leaf blower.

Regardless of how you collect your leaves, a tarp is going to be your best friend when it comes to moving them. Organize your leaf piles on top of a tarp to easily wrap it all up and move it, whether it’s to the front of your lawn for a pick-up service, into leaf bags, or onto your compost or mulch piles.

Composting or mulching…

Yes, you can both compost and/or mulch your leaves! Probably the easiest method of leaf removal, you can use your lawnmower to shred the leaves, which can help fertilize your lawn and flower beds. If you choose this method, however, be sure to do so regularly throughout the season, just like you would normally mow your lawn. A thick mat of leaves (especially wet ones) could be bad news for your lawnmower.

You can also shred leaves with some leaf blowers made for the job. Instead of blowing leaves, these leaf blowers can suction up the leaves, mulch them, and collect them in a bag, so you can easily empty the shreds into your compost pile for a nice and active composting layer.

…But no burning

While many people enjoy the smell of burning leaves, it’s dangerous and illegal in many areas. Wind can easily cause the fire to catch on surrounding dry grass and shrubbery, and the smoke can be harmful to the environment and irritating to breathe. So be sure to dispose of your leaves safely, and do not burn them.

Now that your fall leaf cleanup is taken care of, are your major home systems and appliances going to last the winter? Call 888.351.3681 or visit APHW.COM today to learn how America’s Preferred Home Warranty helps keep your budget intact when they need repair or replacement.

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