Fall is kind of like that guest you invite to your house party: You enjoy his company until you’re stuck picking up his mess when he leaves.
If you want to get rid of the crunchy, unruly chaos piling up in your backyard, you have three options.
1. You can use a mower and just mulch the leaves a way.
2. You can use a leaf blower.
3. You can rake.
If you’ve got a riding lawn mower, just do that. But otherwise, keep reading for tips on the most efficient method for raking up your tree debris the old-fashioned way.
Find the Perfect Leaf Blower
We like battery-powered models, since you don’t have to deal with a deafening drone from a gas-powered motor, or the extension-cord trip hazard that trails an electric blower.
The rechargable types have the juice to compete, minus the noise, pollution, and booby-trap cord. Here’s how to select a winner.
A. Power Source
Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter and won’t lose their charge between uses. A battery labeled “4Ah” (4 amp-hours) should yield 40-plus minutes of run time. Go with a 24-volt minimum for full-throttle muscle.
B. Wind Speed and Control
Those mph claims may be a lot of hot air. Instead, spec out cubic feet per minute (cfm), which tells you the actual volume of air being moved. A minimum of 120 cfm is good for most lawns. And skip button controls; a dial or pressure trigger is far more precise.
C. Weight and Length
Your rig should be under 10 pounds before the battery is attached. For fit, try this test: Hold the blower at your side like a suitcase. The nozzle should be 2 to 3 inches above the ground to avoid wrist or elbow strain.
D. Mulch Mode
Suck-and-grind settings may drain a charge twice as fast as shooting air. So buy a backup battery or blower that allows swap-ins from other tools. Bag capacity? Shoot for a bushel, max. Compressed leaves add weight fast, and only your yard should end up winded.
Learn the Smartest Way to Rake Leaves
Your usual method may be to make several piles to divide into lawn bags, but that wastes time, says former NASA engineer Mark Rober, who hosts his own Science and Creativity channel on Youtube.You’re retracing steps over areas you’ve already cleared!
Instead, start at one side of the yard and work your way to the other in a zigzag pattern. As you move down your first column of lawn, rake the leaves sideways into the still-leaf-strewn zone you’ve yet to uncover.
Then turn the corner, moving back into that now-slightly-more-congested area. Now rake your little ridge of refuse over a few feet more, opening up lawn space.
Repeat until the long strip of pushed-over leaves is tough to move, or about 2 feet high. Scoop the big berm into bags and restart your sweep system.
For a three-bag job, this is 1.3 times as fast as making mounds. For a five-bagger, it’s 1.6 times as fast. So if the chore once took 45 minutes, it’ll be done in less than 30. The hard work is in the bag.
Skip the Work and Hire a Clean Up Crew
If your like many of us, the above options just don’t seem fun. This is why a lot of Wichitan’s have a local non-profit (Together for Wichita Foundation) estimate the costs of their leaf removal.
Hiring the Together for Wichita Foundation is a win,win,win, for the community. Your leaves are gone, a portion of your leaf removal is a tax deductible gift, and a local youth athlete in need has been awarded more scholarship funds from Together for Wichita.