Cleaning Up Leaves

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davebo
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Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by davebo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:30 pm

My house has an obscene amount of leaves every fall. In my prior home, I never had to deal with it so each year I try different strategies.

Year 1: I just pushed the leaves in the mulch and left it there. Not a good move, too many of them and I heard this attracts critters.

Year 2: Did a combo of chopping up leaves with a riding lawnmower, picking them up with a walking lawnmower, bagging some of the leaves in lawn bags, etc.

Now it year 3, I'm looking for a better strategy. Buying stickers for all the bags is expensive, I live in an unincorporated area so I can't blow them out to the street, and not sure I want to get in the habit of paying a couple hundred dollars to a landscape company to take them.

I've seen the Stihl blower/vac that people recommend, but not sure it'd be great for a really big job. My lawn mower's bag needs to be emptied every minute if I try to pick them up that way.

I'm wondering if I should buy an attachment for my riding lawnmower to grind them up, but not sure if I'll have that much more capacity with that. Possibly put them in a big pile behind my shed after that?

Thoughts?

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abuss368
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by abuss368 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:36 pm

Leaves are a lot of work. Unfortunately we have found that doing it in sections and using a tarp to move has worked best.
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Mingus
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Mingus » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:38 pm

What I did last year was progressively cut the grass shorter and shorter in anticipation of leaves falling.

This would allow me to have the deck of the mower set lower to better be able to mulch when leaves began to fall.

When leaves began to fall, I acted quick and often. Often mowing and mulching twice in one week when the leaves really began falling.

The game was to be able to mulch the leaves prior to them being rained on. And if they were rained on, there would be less of them than waiting for all the leaves to fall.

When mulched, they break down into the soil relatively quick. Especially if the amount is not overwhelming.

Not a single leaf was bagged.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by cheese_breath » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:53 pm

I just cut the up with my mulching mower and call it good.
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retiredjg
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:00 pm

Mulch this potential fertilizer with your lawnmower. A week or so later, mulch it again. If you get big mounds of wet yucky stuff, spread it out with a rake, let it dry a day and mulch it again.

Mulch it again in the spring a few times and call it good. This is not a solution if your lawnmower doesn't mulch, but it seems that most do these days.

Miakis
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Miakis » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:10 pm

Most of mine get mulched into the lawn with the mower. When they get really heavy, I rake them up into a pile and put the bag on the mulching mower and use the chopped up leaves in my garden beds.

I'm a gardener and I know some people who think you should -only- mulch them with a mower where they fall, because that way you're returning the nutrients to the soil where the trees need them. That is, after all, what trees do in nature - drop a bunch leaves on their own roots and recycle the nutrients.

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Ged
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Ged » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:27 pm

davebo wrote:not sure I want to get in the habit of paying a couple hundred dollars to a landscape company to take them.

Thoughts?
After about a dozen years of trying to deal with the hassle myself I decided that the landscape company was the right solution.

They come here with 4 guys and two trailers of equipment, and it still takes them all day to do it. Totally worth the money.

dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:47 pm

You can never be too rich or have too much mulch or compost.

If you really don't want them, there may be neighbors who would be happy to have them and even rake up the ones they take. I do that in the public walkways and at a derelict house nearby. I know gardeners who cruise around in the fall and take bags of leaves set out for pickup at the curb.

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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by fsrph » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:49 pm

cheese_breath wrote:I just cut the up with my mulching mower and call it good.
This. If you try and bag leaves with your mower the bag fills up very fast. First mulch, maybe a few times, then bag you'll get a lot more chopped leaves in the bag. Follow this procedure every few days.

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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:26 pm

Please define "obscene amount of leaves". Keep in mind that the person asking (me) has 13 acres of oak, maple and beach trees. I have no issues, but am lucky that my recycling center takes leaves and branches (no fee) and is less than a mile from my house. When I bring my recycling there on Saturdays, I'll bring a trailer filled with branches and maybe 4 trash cans full of leaves. I'll do this multiple times on some Saturdays. I also forest manage my property and cut firewood, so this is stuff I like doing.
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derosa
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by derosa » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:42 pm

rake them onto a tarp and drag them into the woods behind your house. After a few rains they are half gone.

rixer
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by rixer » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:55 pm

What I did was hire regular yard care. Leaf cleanup is just part of the service. Every Friday, they mow, edge, manicure shrubs, keep weeds out of the planters and pick up the leaves from the yard.

I'm really liking yard care now. :happy

dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:36 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Keep in mind that the person asking (me) has 13 acres of oak, maple and beach trees. .
Wow, are you lucky.

If you have basically a forest, why don't you just leave the leaves in the ground? Don't they provide nutrients?

tomd37
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by tomd37 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:37 pm

I have a lot of leaves, but not an over abundance of them. I use my mulching mower until December when a large number of Bradford Pear tree leaves finally come off. At that time I blow them into the street curbside and use my mulching mower on them in the street (about fifteen passes). Over the years I have discovered that the reduction is about 1 to 6 doing it that way, but I still get about 10 bags. My private garbage service will take them bagged, but I discovered we have a "leaf thief" that comes at night and carts them off before morning. I think it might be a farmer using them possibly in his hen house or someone who wants some fine mulch.
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dm200
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:01 pm

davebo wrote:My house has an obscene amount of leaves every fall. In my prior home, I never had to deal with it so each year I try different strategies.

Year 1: I just pushed the leaves in the mulch and left it there. Not a good move, too many of them and I heard this attracts critters.Year 2: Did a combo of chopping up leaves with a riding lawnmower, picking them up with a walking lawnmower, bagging some of the leaves in lawn bags, etc.

Now it year 3, I'm looking for a better strategy. Buying stickers for all the bags is expensive, I live in an unincorporated area so I can't blow them out to the street, and not sure I want to get in the habit of paying a couple hundred dollars to a landscape company to take them.

I've seen the Stihl blower/vac that people recommend, but not sure it'd be great for a really big job. My lawn mower's bag needs to be emptied every minute if I try to pick them up that way.

I'm wondering if I should buy an attachment for my riding lawnmower to grind them up, but not sure if I'll have that much more capacity with that. Possibly put them in a big pile behind my shed after that?

Thoughts?
No expert on "critters" and leaves - but I did not think that just leaves piled in an area to decompose were likely to attract undesirable "critters". Did you have any that year? What kind of "critters" are you concerned about? I could see such a risk if there were any kind of food waste mixed in with the leaves - but what kinds of undesirable "critters" are just attracted to leaves?

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Rooster1
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Rooster1 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:33 pm

davebo wrote:
I've seen the Stihl blower/vac that people recommend, but not sure it'd be great for a really big job.
This Stihl blower/vac will likely not work for the job you are describing. The Stihl blower/vac combo is underpowered for anything but the smallest job. I owned one of these machines in the past and was disappointed.

The larger Stihl backpack blowers are very effective, however. I highly recommend these and have owned one for many years. Unfortunately, it sounds like you don't have the option to just 'blow them into the woods' on your lot. This makes quick work of the leaves. You do have good wand control with a decent backpack blower. It allows you to quickly make organized piles of leaves for raking/pick up/etc. You could rent one and try it out to see if it saves you some time. I've seen them for rent at our local ACE hardware store. If you decide to rent one, rent a large backpack model (something like a Stihl BR600). This will give you the best chance of knowing if it will work for you.

saladdin
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by saladdin » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:43 am

I burn mine.

tomd37
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by tomd37 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:47 am

My local Stihl dealer did not recommend the small unit. Said it was too underpowered and is just a hand-held that was turned on its side.
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by The Wizard » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:57 am

We use a Chipper/Shredder at my GF's place to deal with leaves.
http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troyb ... -shredders

Collect the leaves into large piles by whatever means: riding mower bags, raking, or blowing.
Then wheel up the Chipper/Shredder, which I prefer to call a Leaf Grinder.
Leaves go into the hopper and ground up leaves go into the attached bag.
A full bag fills up a 6 cu. ft. wheelbarrow nicely and they get used as mulch on flower beds over the winter...
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dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:56 pm

tomd37 wrote:My private garbage service will take them bagged, but I discovered we have a "leaf thief" that comes at night and carts them off before morning. I think it might be a farmer using them possibly in his hen house or someone who wants some fine mulch.

See, I said these were desirable to gardeners. :) The OP could help this along by putting a Free Leaves sign on one of the bags.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:27 pm

dolphinsaremammals wrote:
tomd37 wrote:My private garbage service will take them bagged, but I discovered we have a "leaf thief" that comes at night and carts them off before morning. I think it might be a farmer using them possibly in his hen house or someone who wants some fine mulch.

See, I said these were desirable to gardeners. :) The OP could help this along by putting a Free Leaves sign on one of the bags.
Since they're so desirable why not just put up a sign in your front yard (Free Leaves - Bring Your Own Rake) and see what happens.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

carolinaman
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by carolinaman » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:50 am

I have lots of large hardwoods that produce lots of leaves in fall. I usually bag around 60 to 70 39 gallon bags and put them on curb. This occurs over a 3 month period from late October to early January. The best approach for me is to use a blower to get leaves in piles and then bag. I use a trash can and put bags in it which makes it easier and quicker to pick up. I have a bad back and allergies (dry leaves have some kind of dust that bothers many people with allergies) but I manage to get through this every year. It is worth it to have these beautiful large trees and their shade in summer.

Flashes1
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Flashes1 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:51 am

I drag my leaves into the woods. The perfect compost for my beloved trees.

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Toons
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Toons » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:35 am

When it comes to leaves,,This is a magical tool :happy

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B007 ... UTF8&psc=1
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ClevrChico
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:38 am

Mulching mower. I have the best looking lawn in the spring. (Natural fertilizer.)

tim1999
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by tim1999 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:44 am

If you have woods you can blow them into, buy (or maybe even rent?) a leaf blower on wheels like one of these:
http://littlewonder.com/lw-blowers.asp

My father uses one of these to blow a large volume of leaves off of a 2-acre grass lot.

I must warn you though, they are not cheap. But they work.

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TxAg
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by TxAg » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:02 am

I can empathize with you, but on the other hand....what a great problem to have. I lost two big Ash trees in my backyard in last week's storm. Looks bare back there now :(

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bru
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by bru » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:29 am

This was trending on Yahoo.

"Wait, Is It Actually a Mistake to Rake Leaves?"

https://homes.yahoo.com/news/wait-actua ... 15886.html

crg11
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by crg11 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:37 am

I think I'm going to try the mulching lawn mower trick. I have a very small lot with two maple trees (one front yard, one back yard) that just emptied. If I can do a few passes with the lawn mower, that would save me a couple of hours of raking and bagging leaves.

davebo
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by davebo » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:11 pm

bru wrote:This was trending on Yahoo.

"Wait, Is It Actually a Mistake to Rake Leaves?"

https://homes.yahoo.com/news/wait-actua ... 15886.html
Thanks for the input everyone....I think I'm going to just try cutting the grass and grinding them up a few times a week before they have a chance to build up. I always assumed that when people said it was good for the grass, they were just looking for a way to justify their laziness :P

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:51 pm

Chainsaw?
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paulsiu
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by paulsiu » Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:49 am

I chew it down using a munching mower and leave it as it is. In the back, I back up to a fake retention wetland with a lot of trees, I just sweep all of the extra leaves there. It's no one's property, so no one complaints and it breaks down by next year any way.

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Frugal Al
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Frugal Al » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:07 am

EmergDoc wrote:Chainsaw?
Ah, c'mon Doc, you're just trying to drum up business. :wink:

flyingaway
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by flyingaway » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:21 am

Last year, I buried them in my vegetable garden. I checked this summer, they were still leaves.
Can we legally burn the leaves in our backyard? I did it once at my old house with a big yaerd, but I did not know if it was legal to do that.

tim1999
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by tim1999 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:25 am

flyingaway wrote: Can we legally burn the leaves in our backyard? I did it once at my old house with a big yaerd, but I did not know if it was legal to do that.
Check with your local municipality. If you are in the middle of nowhere, it's probably allowed. Most of the municipalities in my suburban area ban all forms of outdoor burning; leaf piles, trash barrels, even those chimnea things. Fines for violation start at $300, though in order to get caught a neighbor typically has to complain.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:03 am

> I burn mine.

Ah, we used to do this when I was a kid. Rake them to the edge of the street and light. The smell of burning leaves meant fall was here.

Now (in AZ) it means there's a forest fire.

davebo
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by davebo » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:21 am

adamthesmythe wrote:> I burn mine.

Ah, we used to do this when I was a kid. Rake them to the edge of the street and light. The smell of burning leaves meant fall was here.

Now (in AZ) it means there's a forest fire.
I can burn mine since I'm in an unincorporated area, but our lots aren't more than a 1/2 acre and I do kinda feel guilty about burning leaves when people have their windows open. Someone recently told me to get a burn barrel and just throw them all in there.

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XtremeSki2001
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:34 am

I bought a lawn mower with a bagger. I just bag them up and dump them in the back (we have an area we use as a compost). If I was challenged for space, I might be inclined to burn them or just mulch them with my mower (sans bag).
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Feb29
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by Feb29 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:27 pm

I would buy the attachment for the lawnmower to grind the leaves up. The ground-up leaves are much smaller in volume, and they can be used for mulching.

kazper
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by kazper » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:42 pm

Toons wrote:When it comes to leaves,,This is a magical tool :happy

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B007 ... UTF8&psc=1
I have the same thing but have been disappointed with results. The blowing works as expected. The sucking leaves a lot to be desired.i tried setting up a system where it would put the leaves directly into a trash can so I would not have to empty the bag as much. Sadly, it didn't work as planned. Back to the drawing board!!

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SC Hoosier
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Re: Cleaning Up Leaves

Post by SC Hoosier » Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:40 pm

A little upgrade on the mulching idea. My family owned a golf course as I grew up. We mulched our leaves by taking our mowers over them often, sometimes daily. My dad made a cover for the discharge outlet on the riding mowers. This keeps the leaves under the deck longer, where the turning blades will keep chopping them. This way, you don't have to run over them so much. I've seen some push mowers with this no discharge option. Maybe some riders do too.

Another crazy trick: We found that, when mulching, the mowers would leave an unsightly line of mulched leaves in a trail behind the mower. We learned that if we backed over them, no line was left. The leaves were spread out more evenly. There we were, driving our mowers backwards through the fairway full of leaves. :D :oops:

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