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Fall Leaves

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Fall Clean Up Helpful Tips

While we all enjoy the beauty and wonder associated with fall leaves changing color, few of us enjoy what comes next...dealing with those falling leaves. As your yard begins to see daily additions of dead leaves, your admiration for Mother Nature's ability to create such a beautiful scene turns to an irritable grumbling as we realize the work ahead. As you begin to formulate this year's plan for dealing with those leaves, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Mowing and Leaf Blowing
First, keep your mower helping as long as possible. Whether you bag the leaves or use the mulching ability of your mower, let the mower do the work as long as your lawn continues to grow. When your lawn has stopped growing for the season, it is not recommended to continue to mulch leaves.

Once you do have to put the mower away, make sure you have the right equipment to make leaf control as painless as possible. Leaf blowers (a bagger attachment would help with collection) are a nice option when the leaves are dry. 

Mulching and Compost
Creating a compost allows you to ensure the leaves are disposed of in the most natural way possible. Shredded leaves can also be used as mulch in flower beds, vegetable gardens, or around the base of trees and shrubs. Simply apply a two to three inch layer in the bed, keeping the mulch from directly touching tree trunks or plant stems. Using leaves as mulch under trees/bushes keeps you from having to rake them up as they will decompose and help the overall health/growth of those trees/shrubs.

Raking
Inevitably you will find yourself with rake in hand. As that time comes, be sure to pace yourself and be extra careful with your back. Move your feet when you rake so you aren't stretching and twisting. Take frequent breaks and stretch as needed.

Ensure you have a good rake. Having a high quality rake can actually reduce the amount of time you spend raking. Clog-free rakes have interconnected tines that prevent leaves from getting stuck on the rake. Look for ergonomically correct rakes and make sure your rake has a comfortable handle to reduce hand pain. 

Of course you don't have to run outside and rake your yard every time the wind blows, but it is easier to deal with small amounts of leaves than it is to wait and try to rake only once after every leaf has fallen. Whatever strategy you decide to employ, remember that keeping the leaves picked up is vital for a good start to your lawn come spring.

One Final Thought
One final things to remember is that blowing your leaves into the street is never an option. Not only is it annoying to your neighbors who then have to deal with your leaves blowing into their yards, it is actually illegal in many cities as the leaves get into the drainage systems and cause serious problems.