Most people do not like raking leaves even though ads make it look fun. Raking leaves is hard and makes you tired.
But, people have found easier ways of how to rake leaves. They are faster and less tedious. You just have to figure out how to rake leaves the right way.
Why do we have to rake leaves?
This is a question many ask. Is it necessary?
The best way to address the question is by looking at what will happen if we don’t. For starters, the grass needs to breathe. That might become impossible with a layer of dead leaves over it.
Dead leaves can also block needed water from getting to the grass. Soon grass could die from lack of water, nutrition, and air.
Plus, the leaves can turn into a hideout for dangerous insects and crawling creatures like snakes.
A few years ago, an article in The Washington Post suggested a different approach to leaf raking. They had done some research where they talked to specialists.
The conclusion was that leaf raking is not necessary. Instead, we should look at raking from another angle.
How to rake leaves
To follow through, there are several hacks on the best way to clean up leaves from the yard.
Should you rake or mow leaves?
A university turfgrass researcher said that it would be better for the soil if you used a lawnmower. The organic matter from the leaves would be good for soil over time.
You will also save money and time because you will not have to buy any rakes. Some lawn mowers have a bag or a chute. By closing it you’ll make sure that you can shred the leaves in the mower to tiny bits.
The process turns the leaves into nutrients for the soil. Fertile soil will make grass grow better in the year that follows.
They did more studies. The research showed that organic matter from leaves did not change the soil’s composition. It did not make it less fertile. The myth surrounding this belief is a lie.
It is interesting to learn that when you run over leaves with a lawnmower, it suppresses weeds. It follows that 84% of dandelions will not grow in the season that follows.
But, before using the lawnmower you have to look and see if the leaves are too many. If they are, remove some of them. The grass and leaves should be in equal proportions.
So if when looking at the ground you see less ground and more leaves, you have to remove some of the leaves. You can dump the leaves in a garden if you have one. Once they decompose they will form compost for the soil.
In the end, it looks like you cannot get away from raking completely. So we better get started on how to rake leaves the old-fashioned way.
Use leaf clearing tools
To begin with, you should get yourself a good quality rake. You should buy a rake that is light in weight so that you can use it without straining.
It should have a long handle so that you will not have to bend too much and get problems with your back. The rake should also have a broad end so that it can cover more ground, raking more leaves with every move.
While raking, keep your body in the right posture. That will help you cover more ground and not get tired before you are through.
Body positioning during raking
Grab the rake handle with both hands. As you rake, move the tool towards you as you take steps backward. That will prove to be easier and more practical. You will be able to work faster.
Keep switching the position of your hands while moving along. Bend your knees a little so that the legs and waist will not strain.
Plan on how you will rake leaves well from start to finish.
Look for a way of gathering leaves without the need to keep hurrying to the trash can and back, or dumping site. A wheelbarrow or standby trash bag will come in handy. A tarp or a cardboard box is okay as well.
When it looks like the trash bag is full you can stomp on it to get more space. That way you will stash in more leaves.
Make sure that the bag is not too large. When the bag is huge, it may cause trouble when moving it if you squeeze in many leaves.
When is the best time to rake leaves?
It could be that you never raked leaves before. Then knowing when to start clearing leaves and how many times you have to do it is crucial. There are no written rules and no exact answer.
Sometimes observing what is happening around you will do. There are usually signs telling you to start clearing leaves from the yard.
In summary, you should gather the leaves within four days of them falling on the ground. That changes if the leaves are wet.
Because then you have to wait a while for them to dry. Otherwise, they will not be manageable.
Plan the raking according to the size of the yard. For example, if the yard is big, then you should give more time to the chore.
If the trees are plentiful, you will need more time as well. You must start early because you’ll have a lot of work to do.
Further, do the planning while keeping in mind the kind of tools you have. A leaf blower will do the job faster than a rake. You should get one if you haven’t already.
The best leaf rake to use
People use many kinds of tools to collect leaves. But most of them stick to the regular rake. As it is with other tools, some rakes are good and others bad.
A good leaf rake is a light kind. If a rake is too heavy, it will strain your arms. Health problems may crop up if you use such a rake for a long time.
Most rakes are light with heads shaped to look like triangles. The making is with pliable tines set to widen outwards. Because of the flexible nature, the grass stays intact without getting damaged.
It will also not dig into the ground’s surface as you can slide it over the leaves.
There is a range of materials that make rakes, like steel, propylene, and bamboo. If the rake is made of steel, it tends to be more powerful.
But rust will stay away from polypropylene and bamboo. There is a choice for you to make. Whether you prefer longevity or strength.
Whatever the case may be, you must take care of the tines. They join the rake pieces together. Oil them often. Also, store the rake in a dry place.
While choosing a rake, there are a few details to know about a leaf rake and a garden rake. Garden rakes work on soil and are usually heavier. Their tines are stronger than those on leaf rakes.
Garden rakes are not as flexible as leaf rakes. They are commonly made from steel.
Leaf rakes collect dead grass as well. After winter grass recovers. It becomes green again. That exposes grass that dried up. Then you can rake it.
Techniques used in leaf raking
The best way to rake dead grass is through a sweeping motion. The same way you use a broom. So you expose the dead grass and remove it. Grass can then get important nutrients, water, and light for healthy growth.
The upside with plastic and bamboo rakes is the cheap price. But they are not as durable as steel rakes. Metal rakes are the best for people with large gardens and yards.
A metal rake moves large piles of leaves at the same time easily. Metal rakes also manage raking wet leaves.
Wet leaves need a strong tool to move them. The best kind of metal rake to buy is the one with flexible tines.
Maintenance and storage of leaf rakes
If you buy metal rakes, store them in a dry place. Keep them away from water.
A perfect way to store them is to hang them in the tool shed or garage. Further, coating the tools with oil from time to time prevents rusting.
When buying a leaf rake, be mindful of your height. The same length comfortable for an adult is not the same for a child. A short handle for a tall person will strain the back, causing back pains.
If you need to adjust the rake’s handle occasionally, buy one with an adjustable handle. A folding leaf rake is ideal.
Using hacks to get leaf raking done faster
It is normal for us to always look for ways to help us get done with our chores faster. One of the ways is the invention of household appliances.
We get to do our chores faster without breaking a sweat. That is why there are vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.
For years, people have been attempting to find easier and faster ways on how to rake leaves. So here are genius ways people came up with.
Save your back from horrible pain from bending too much
One of the worst experiences with raking leaves is the bad effects it brings your body.
If you bend many times when raking you feel the strain in your shoulders and arms. Most likely you wake up with horrible backache the next day.
The most reliable way to make sure this does not happen is to use a tarp. By using a tarp, you eliminate the need to drag leaves to a spot where you bag the leaves.
How to rake leaves onto a tarp
A tarp is a fine way to get raking faster. You only need to place a canvas or plastic tarp where you move leaves as you rake.
Later you can fold it up and take it to the dumping site. For more comfort and ease, use a tarp with rope handles.
You use mulch like compost or yard fertilizer. After mulching the leaves, vacuum them or let them be.
Wait for wet leaves to dry up before raking
A common mistake with raking happens with people raking leaves after a rainstorm. It turns into a nightmare. Wet leaves are not easy to rake. They are heavier, sticky, and difficult to transfer from the lawn.
Let a few hours pass after a rainstorm. That will let the leaves dry a little.
Get raking with a multitool
A snow shovel has a broader base than most spades. So they scoop more leaves compared to other kinds of shovels.
Simply rake leaves onto the shovel’s surface, like sweeping dirt onto a dustpan with a broom. It is quicker and effortless to move many leaves into a bag at a go.
Take advantage of nature
Another hack to use while leaf raking is to use the wind to help you. How is that?
Try raking leaves in the direction the wind is blowing. It is usually windy in autumn when leaves fall. Take advantage of that to do the job faster.
If you live up a hill, use gravity to your advantage. Raking leaves while moving down the slope is faster.
When you are raking, put on gloves. It will make you comfortable. Whether the rake’s holder is metallic or woody, gloves will ease the process.
A metallic rake holder will feel cold. It is ordinarily chilly during fall. The cold can make you so uncomfortable that you can quit raking.
Even if the rake’s arm is not from steel, the low temperatures will make your hands chilly. Besides, if you have a large area to cover, you won’t get blisters with gloves.
Gloves will keep the hands from getting filthy too. No one likes grime under the nails.
Take care of your feet while raking
We commonly hurt ourselves while raking when we neglect to wear the right shoes. Suitable shoes would be closed-toe shoes. That way, you won’t hurt your feet or get bitten by bugs and other creeping creatures.
A carpet of dead leaves is a perfect hideout for all sorts of creepy crawlies. Work boots are the most suitable footwear.
Wear the right gear for raking leaves
Wearing long sleeves and long pants agrees with the nature of the task and the weather. You will keep warm and insects won’t bite.
Be realistic when you plan to rake leaves
While raking leaves, take regular breaks. If the yard is large, take 10-minute breaks after every 30 or so minutes.
Further, doing muscle stretches will help you not get sore. Also, drinking water will keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Invest in comfortable tools
Another raking tip is to get a rake with cushion grips. Your grip will stay firm especially during a drizzle or when the palms sweat.
Metallic handles are more slippery than wooden ones. It is safer to have a tool with a good grip.
Measure the raking tools twice to be sure they are the right size for you.
When it comes to raking grips, you need to make sure it is the right size for you. If the handle is too large or too small, after a while, you may suffer needless back pain and tiny injuries.
Use a leaf blower to blow the leaves across the yard.
The usual way of clearing leaves is through raking. And you may enjoy it. Yet, a leaf blower could make your work easier and faster.
It is a quicker way of clearing leaves. The best way to do it is to blow at them in a specific direction.
After getting them in a pile, you can finish by raking around the pile to make a neat finish.
DIY retool (lawnmower)
Can you manage a lawnmower to pick up leaves? Yes. It is a useful alternative leaf-raking tool. A lawnmower is easy to use. You can improvise it into a lawn vacuum.
If the vacuum has a serrated blade, use it to pick and shred leaves. It will get the chore done with no strain.
Is it better to rake leaves or leave them? Raking is tedious. But, with these great tips on how to rake leaves, it should be easier and faster for you.