By Amy DeYoung
Updated Oct 12, 2022
Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and one of the best parts is the gorgeous fall leaves. Fall foliage is breathtaking. However, the aftermath can be messy and time-consuming to deal with as homeowners.
To help, we’re sharing our guide to raking leaves so you can save yourself time and frustration by raking them in the most efficient way possible.
Naturally, you can rake leaves anytime they have fallen to the ground. However, choosing specific times of year and weather conditions to rake leaves in can save you from doing the same job twice.
If possible, wait until later in autumn, right before the first snow or frost of the winter season, to rake leaves. Waiting until this time of year may save you from needing to rake leaves multiple times in the same season. The leaves will usually be drier, making them less messy to rake.
Regardless of when you choose to rake your leaves, don’t leave them on your grass throughout the winter. If you want your fall lawn to remain healthy, you must remove most of the leaves to prevent snow mold diseases. Piles of leaves can also attract pests and smother new grass growth. While leaf cleanup is a large task, it’s crucial for the health of your grass, pest prevention, and your neighbors’ sake.
Before you begin raking, examine the rake you own. A lawn rake is the right rake for this home improvement task. Most lawn rakes will have large fans and tines in a triangular shape. Typically, lawn rakes are made of metal, wood, or plastic. Steel rakes should never be used over grass because they can rip your grass, so reserve your steel rake for raking dirt or stones only.
If you have narrow areas between shrubs, consider purchasing a shrub rake or metal expanding rake. A shrub rake is a narrow version of a leak rake, allowing you to get into nooks and crannies without straining yourself. Alternatively, a metal expanding rake can serve as both a lawn rake and a shrub rake because it has loaded springs that allow it to expand or narrow depending on your needs.
You’ll also want to consider the rake handle. If you’re tall, look for a lawn rake with a long handle so you’re not hunched over. A cushioned handle can reduce stress on your hands from the repetitive motion of raking.
While raking leaves may not seem like a dangerous task, there are many ways to injure yourself. In 2014, doctors treated over 42,000 patients for raking-related injuries. Most of these injuries could have been avoided with proper safety precautions and avoiding overdoing it.
Follow these safety tips for raking leaves to reduce your risk of injury:
Before you start raking, make a game plan. Which area of the yard are you going to start raking first? Are you planning on working from one side to the other? If you have a huge lawn, divide it into sections and take breaks after you finish each section. You’ll also want to take a look at your gutters. If your gutters are full of leaves, clean them before raking your yard. Otherwise, you’ll have to redo the entire project once the gutters are cleaned.
A favorite time-saving hack among lawn care and landscaping experts is mowing over leaves on the ground to break them into tinier pieces, reducing the number of leaves flying away while you rake. This is also a great step if you’re creating compost or mulch out of old leaves.
Once you’ve gathered your supplies and used a lawn mower over the autumn leaves, take these steps to rake leaves quickly:
Raking is yard work that most homeowners don’t look forward to each autumn season. However, it can go quickly with the right approach and be a great workout. Be sure to wait until all the leaves fall from your trees before starting. Otherwise, you’ll need to rake your leaves more than once. Then, use these tips and safety precautions while raking leaves to make your fall home maintenance project go by quicker.
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