21October 19, 2011
If you have maple, oak or other deciduous trees in your yard, there are two things you can be pretty sure will happen each year. In spring, these trees will put out new leaves and in the fall, well, those leaves will fall off the tree. Since it is now fall, it means that sooner or later, you will be raking up leaves. Let me take a little bit of time to give you some ideas on how to make this chore an easier chore to do this fall.
Rakes and leaf blowers can get the leaves into the piles that you then need to pick up and ultimately dispose of those leaves. If you are lucky enough, you will have an area in your yard where you can pile up those leaves and allow those leaves to compost down into valuable organic matter. When I was a kid, we would rake up the leaves and they were deposited into a large area where we grew raspberries. The leaves would break down and each summer we had a soil that was perfect for those raspberries. The soil held abundant amounts of moisture and the nutrients from the leaves fed those plants. Since we lived in a neighborhood that had the street lined with mature maple trees, we always had plenty of leaves to rake up. My grandfather had come up with a giant cloth bag that we filled with leaves and then we pulled that bag of leaves to the raspberry patch. You can do the same thing with many of the different types of leaf totes that are now on the market. The totes are 8 feet by either 8 feet or 10 feet. You lie out the tote and rake the leaves onto the sheet. The newer “models” have handles on each corner, which allows you to pull the sheet together into a pouch that makes it easier to haul the leaves to your compost pile.
Some of you will use your riding lawn mower to pick up the leaves. The leaves usually get chopped up and deposited into the plastic bins on the back of the tractor. The only problem is that the bins fill up so fast and this slows down the clean up process. For the last couple of years, we have sold a product called the Monster leaf bag. This goes onto the lawn tractor in place of the plastic bins. This leaf bag is then pulled behind the lawn mower and holds up to 3 times the amount of leaves that the bins would hold. This means fewer stops to empty the bag.
Some of you won’t have any choice but to rake up and bag the leaves. The foul language that fills the fall air as paper leave bags fall apart has become somewhat of a fall tradition. I found out years ago that there are companies that make heavy-duty paper leaf bags. We stopped carrying the lightweight bags years ago in favor of the heavy – duty bags. We are trying to do our part to make it harder for young children to learn those bad words that might otherwise fill the fall air!
There are also devices that will hold a leaf bag, making it easier for you to fill the leaf bag. The bag is slipped into the container; you fill the bag and then pull the filled bag out of the container.
Hopefully, you can use some of these ideas to make leaf cleanup an easier chore this fall. Remember that a good quality pair of work gloves will help to cut down on those blisters that will form on your hands from all that raking.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.