Can You Rake Wet Leaves?

Can You Rake Wet Leaves

Well, it’s that time of year when you are stoked for the hunting season, pumpkin spice lattes, or the holidays, or maybe you are just glad that the summer heat is finally gone. Unfortunately, along with the fields of beautiful fall foliage, you get more work out in the yards before the snow hits. Adding to the extra yard work, fall tends to get pretty rainy, making raking wet leaves seem unbearable; however, you can still rake those leaves up if they’re wet!

We highly encourage you to take the time to get those damp leaves off your lawn and bedding areas to help prevent fungal problems from sprouting up. The layer of wet leaves suffocates your lawn and blocks it from receiving nutrients and sunlight.

Now, if you only have a small amount of leaves in the yard, you might be able to get away without raking them at all! You can let the leaves fall and blow around, as they will eventually decompose, adding nourishment to the soil.

Raking Wet Leaves

There are pros and cons to raking when the leaves are wet. We’ll break them down and let you decide whether you feel up to doing it or not!

Pros

  • Since they are wet, they won’t blow all over your lawn.
  • Hopefully, since you waited till they were wet, it is late enough you only have to rake leaves once.
  • Piling wet leaves in a specific area encourages the breakdown of the leaves, creating a rich soil amendment for your garden.

Cons

  • The water weight will make the leaves a bit harder to rake up.
  • If you are at a higher risk of falling, this might not be the best idea for you as the moist leaves get pretty slippery.
  • If you were thinking of using your leaf blower, you’d have to reconsider your approach since it won’t work very well with wet leaves.
  • You are at a higher risk of damaging your lawn or the plants below due to the amount of pressure you will exert to remove the leaves.

Raking Dry Leaves

If you can wait until the leaves have dried out a bit, it will be easier for you. There are several reasons why, but there are also some downsides to it as well. If you add the leaves to a compost pile or bin, it will add a variety of nutrients that the grass clippings don’t.

Pros

  • Dry leaves take up less space to dispose of and are also lighter.
  • If you have a leaf blower, this will come in handy and make your job a lot easier!
  • Dry leaves can be mowed over with your lawn mower, making it easier to rake them up.

Cons

  • If you like to rake dry leaves, there is a good chance that you will be doing it multiple times during the season.
  • Once you get all of your leaves piled up and don’t dispose of them immediately, there’s a high probability they will become wet, leaving you with a damp pile of leaves to remove from your yard.

How Do You Rake Wet Leaves?

Before you get started on the raking, there are a few things you should consider starting with how late into autumn it currently is. If the leaves have just begun to fall, most folks prefer to wait until the trees are almost bare to prevent extra work.

When you start raking, ensure you aren’t hurting your back more than you need to. Stand up straight while you rake and switch your leading hand on the rake frequently to prevent shoulder and arm fatigue. This will also help prevent you from pulling something in your back.

Materials

  • Wet Leaf Rake
  • Tarps
  • Bags
  • Gloves

Wet Leaf Rake

First, we need to ensure you have the correct rake head. A wet leaf rake is the best rake for raking leaves. This particular rake is sturdier and will have about a 30-inch tine spread to help make things easier on you!

Also, look for a rake that is labeled as “no-clog.” “No-clog” rakes have angled tines that won’t pierce the leaves and result in blockages.

Tarps

Don’t panic and think you need to go purchase a ginormous tarp; just about any will do. A mid-sized tarp that is sturdy is your best option. It will allow you to quickly move it around the yard without battling it in the wind.

Bags

There are many different bags you can use. Some folks like to just settle with paper bags and haul out more loads in little bags. Others prefer to use regular garbage bags to allow for fewer bags in total.

Gloves

Depending on how large your lawn is, you may end up spending a significant amount of time raking up the autumn foliage. Invest in a good pair of working gloves before starting this project. The last thing you want is blisters encompassing the length of your palm from the rake.

Steps

Now that we got the materials covered, here are the steps to rake wet leaves.

  1. Using a wet leaf rake, rake all of the areas of your yard and combine them into a pile. If you instead make them into smaller piles around the yard, that works just fine too!
  2. Once the leaves are in a pile, spread a tarp next to the wet pile of leaves to make it more convenient to remove the leaves from the yard. With the wet leaf rake, pull all of the leaf piles onto the tarp in a thin layer. Keep in mind that these leaves are going to weigh more than you would expect, so keep the number of leaves you place on the tarp reasonable with what you can safely move.
  3. You can deposit the leaves from the tarp into a leaf bag and repeat the process until you have filled up the bag. Make sure you don’t overfill the bags. Once your lawn is free of leaves, you are good to put the rake down and enjoy a break!

Here are a few tips that might make your life a lot easier:

  • Rake with the wind if there is an autumn breeze
  • Rake in rows to help conserve your energy
  • Bag up smaller piles as you go instead of waiting until the very end
  • Use a shovel to move the leaves from the tarp into the bags
  • Be gentle when you are raking to help prevent destroying your grass under the leaves
  • Stomp before breaks to help prevent the wind from blowing your piles back across your yard