As the scorching heat finally subsides and a light, crisp breeze picks up, fall is officially on the way. From a rocking chair on your back porch, you can enjoy the cool weather while you marvel at the changing colors of your trees. Eventually, you will set the hot cider down and pull the rake out of your garden shed.
While raking leaves sounds quaint and simple, we all know it can actually be hard work. This year though, you don’t have to dread the chore your trees give you. Using this list of do’s and don’ts, you can make your leaf raking will more efficient than ever, giving you ample time to cheer on your football team, enjoy a cozy fire, or carve pumpkins with the kids.
The wind will always win, so rake in the same direction as it blows. That way, the wind helps you make your leaf pile and doesn’t work against you by blowing your leaves in the opposite direction you want them to go. Another tip for working with the wind is to stomp on your piles as you go. By doing this, you’re compacting the leaves to help prevent the wind from moving them out of your pile.
Did you know raking leaves is a moderate workout? You naturally tighten your core, arms, stomach and back as you rake. For that reason, it’s important to use a technique that won’t leave you injured, strained or overly sore and unable to complete your leaf raking.
First, warm up your muscles with a walk around the neighborhood, and do some light stretches before and after you rake. Take breaks as you need them and don’t attempt to tackle too much in one day.
Rake towards yourself, keep your head up while you work, and switch your hands on the rake every so often. Avoid twisting your body by putting one foot in front of the other and shifting your weight back and forth. To rake leaves and lift leaf bags, put a bend in your knees, not your waist. Also be careful not to fill bags too heavy, and use a wheelbarrow to move them.
Saving a little money on your tools won’t save you time in raking. Buy a sturdy rake that is comfortable to use and hits at your chin when it’s standing upright, so you have the necessary leverage to pull leaves towards you. Your rake should also be fairly wide to allow for maximum leaf collection. Additionally, to help your leaf raking go smoothly, you should wear gloves to protect your hands from blisters, shoes that won’t slide too much, and a dust mask to avoid sneezing.
Rake downhill if there is any incline to your yard, and use smaller sweeps to gather a greater number of leaves with each motion. Create smaller piles near where you are raking, rather than pulling leaves from throughout the yard into one big central pile. Also, if you rake the leaves onto a tarp, that will save you from having to bag them.
When you rake is just as important as how you rake. Do it when it’s dry so the leaves will be easier to move and lighter to drag and lift. You should also try to wait until most of the leaves on a tree have fallen before you rake beneath it. This way, you get most of the leaves at once instead of raking just a few leaves over and over again.
If you use a mulching mower or blower with a vacuum setting, your leaves can be combined with grass to make a nutritious supplement for your flower beds. You can even leave a few leaves alone when they fall in your flower beds because they will decompose into mulch eventually. Don’t leave Oak leaves though because they take a long time to decompose, and also don’t let the leaves in your beds become so thick that they stifle the plants.
We’re experts on Memphis trees, so we’re glad to share our advice on raking the leaves they produce, in hopes of making your yard work more efficient this fall. The important thing to remember is to get your raking finished before winter arrives. In Memphis, leaves won’t get covered in snow as early as they might in other places, but the leaves can still become wet, muddy, and difficult to move in the springtime, after cold, sometimes dreary weather comes with the winter months.
Large, weathered leaf clumps can also introduce mold into your yard and suffocate your grass by shielding it from sun and nutrients, so they must be collected right away when spring arrives, no matter how unappealing the task may be. If however you have a tree or a limb that is losing leaves when it shouldn’t, you might need to enlist your Memphis tree service, Red’s Tree Service. Give us a call if you need help determining which trees or limbs can or should go and which ones will stay to regenerate green leaves in the spring and fade to beautiful orange tones next fall.
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