Autumn leaves look very beautiful, and can be great fun to play in if you happen to be a small child or perhaps a dog. Unfortunately, if you’re a grown up, you may have the slightly less fun job of clearing them out of the garden.. walkways.. gutters, and various other surfaces they manage to get on or into. We’ve put together our advice for how deal with autumn leaves, keeping your garden clear (or clear-ish) over the coming few months.
Decide how to tackle your leaves
Firstly, decide whether the leaves need to be cleared up. A few inches of leaves can provide shelter and be beneficial to certain insects and animals. Consider clearing them when they cover over a third of your garden and cover the top of the grass.
You can use a rake, leaf blower or leaf vacuum to tackle the leaves when they’re either wet or dry. Wet leaves will form a more stable pile, but they’re also heavier to rake. As well as this, they can aggravate allergies due to mold and mildew. When using a leaf vacuum, the leaves must be dry or they can clog the machine.
Take some time to choose your rake, the two of you will become very acquainted by the end of Autumn. A popular choice is the 30 inch wide rake – the larger the rake, the smaller the job. A safe bet is between 24″ and 36″ – too large a rake will require added force. Try to find one that is lightweight.
Work in a zig-zag from one side of your lawn to another. Keep the rake gripped in both hands and bend your knees slightly. When transferring the leaves to a leaf bag, remember to stomp down occasionally.
Nothing leaf-t behind
Tarpaulin (8ft x 8ft is a good size) can be used to clear leaves by pulling the four corners in a bundle, then dragging across the garden. An alternative method involves laying the tarp on the floor and raking the leaves over it. These can then be transferred to a bag.
Leaf blowers can be very useful, especially if you have a larger garden with lots of leaves. Keep in mind they can be very loud, so be sure to wear ear protection. Wearing thick gloves is also a good idea, as it decreases the numbness caused by the vibrations. After using it, let it cool for 15 minutes, as the engine will be very hot and could ignite the gas vapours as you fill your tank.
Lawn mowers can be used to turn the leaves into mulch. This is done by running over them (sometimes a few times) until they are cut up to penny sized pieces. Although this doesn’t necessarily clear them from your garden, they will decompose and provide nutrients for your soil.
What to do with your leaftovers
Leaves can be composted. Add them to your compost and leave them. In the spring, you can use these to fertilize your garden. You can also use a shovel to dig a hole in your garden, and bury the leaves in this.
These ideas sending you to sleep? Annoyed that kids get to do all jumping fun and you’re the muh making compost? Well treat yourself to some creative time.. make some leaf art!!
Or maybe go and get a drink… kids can’t enjoy THAT fun.
Hit the roof
Don’t forget the leaves falling on your roof! Leaves can trap water on the roof, and should therefore be removed. A broom and extension pole should do the job, or alternatively if you own a leaf blower, attach a piece of PVC pipe to the end of this for extended reach. You can also attach long PVC pipe to your hose and use this to clean out the gutter with water. If leaves on the roof become a huge problem, consider buying gutter guards to keep your gutter clear.
If things have got into the drainpipe, use a plumper’s snake or something long (for example a stretched out clothes hanger) to pull out clumps of leaves.
Plan for next year
Around deciduous trees, consider planting a bed of shrubs and plants which benefit from natural mulch. Leaves will fall into this bed, providing nutrients for the plant, as well as hiding them away neatly. Any stray leaves can be swept up to add to this bed.
We hope this helped you deal with autumn leaves in your garden. If you’re looking for more maintenence tips for your garden this Autumn, why not check out our essential guide for gardening jobs in September. We’ve also put together or expert advice for how to maintain your lawn.