When it comes to clearing leaves from your yard, some areas make for a quicker job than others. The leaves laying in the grassy sections can be quickly disposed of with a lawn mower. There are rocky paths that you can’t mow, but you can rake, and the tight corners and corridors may require swift blasts from the leaf blowers.
In any case, removing leaves and other plant and tree waste from your yard can be a difficult task. I have found that one of the most difficult areas of my yard to keep leaf free are the mulched zones. Whether beds or paths, mulch and leaves can be hard to separate unless you have the right tools and knowledge.
Can You Leaf Blow Over Mulch?
You can leaf blow over mulch if you use the right technique and do not use too much force. In most cases, the best way to completely remove the leaves from mulch is to let the idling power of the blower push the leaves to the edge of the mulch, where you can rake them.
You can also use a leaf vacuum to remove leaves from mulch. Using a similar method, you will rake the leaves gently along the mulch until they are in a pile, and then holding the vacuum nozzle away from the mulch, move it closer until it sucks up most of the leaves.
A combination of raking, blowing, and sucking may be needed to completely clear your mulch of all leaf pieces. If the leaves are wet, you may even need to hand pick the most stubborn ones. Make sure not to use too much power, or you will dislodge the mulch and soil and make a bigger mess than you started with.
Ways to Collect Leaves
Depending on your yard size, available tools, and intended use of the yard waste, there are countless options on how to collect leaves. The most common methods are manually using a hand tool and some type of leaf receptacle. Another method is mechanical, such as using blowers and mowers to relocate and collect the leaves.
- Rake and Trash Bag – The most common method of leaf collection is to use a rake and large trash bag. Using the rake, pull all the leaves into piles and then stuff them into the bag.
The bags can be disposed of with other green bin waste or saved for other uses like compost. The bag can be substituted for a bin, burlap, or any receptacle capable of holding and transporting leaves.
- Rake and Drop – This method is for yards that make use of yard waste as mulch. Yards with gardens or fruit trees are great candidates for this method. The leaves are raked into designated areas where they can be added to garden beds to provide additional fertilizer. This can also be done with grass clippings.
- Leaf Blower – A leaf blower can make quick work of a lot of leaves. It is best to use the blower to move the leaves into piles or areas where the natural wind doesn’t stir them. Then using a rake, shovel, or burlap, transfer the leaves into a bin or bag. In some cases, you may be able to blow the leaves into sections where they will naturally break down and are not an eyesore.
- Lawn Mower – Another easy way to collect leaves is to use a lawn mower with a bag. For a small yard, this can be a walk-behind mower, but for a larger yard with bushels of yard waste, you will want a riding mower with a catchment bag attachment. Either ride directly over the scattered leaves to suck them up or rake/blow them into the path of the mower and collect them that way.
What to Do With Leaves
Once you have collected bags or bins of leaves, you have a choice to make. In some cases, you may roll your green/brown bin out to the street and let the trashman take your waste away. Or you can think of ways to put those leaves to work for your garden. Let’s look at what we can do with leaves.
- Fertilizer– Leaves that have been chopped up in a mower can be used to make excellent fertilizer. You can make plant juice with leaves in a few ways.
- Compost – the most straightforward way to use chopped-up leaves is to add them to the compost pile. They provide a ton of carbon to balance out the much more readily available nitrogen-rich food scraps.
- Top-Dress – If some of your plants need a bit of organic material to modify undesirable soil conditions, then sprinkling chopped-up leaves might be the answer. Just add a layer, an inch or 2 deep, and water it in to help plants build better soil.
- Plant Tea – Put the leaves in a bucket and fill the bucket ¾ full of cool water. Add an air stone or small pump for aeration or stir daily until the leaves have dissolved and tea has become pungent (3-7days). Dilute with water and add to plants for a homemade liquid fertilizer.
- Mulch– Another awesome use for fallen leaves is as mulch. If you have chosen to rake or blow the leaves, you can mulch large areas of barren or underplanted soil. This mulch will allow the soil to build faster and give desirable plants a better environment to thrive in, reducing invasive weeds.
Chopped-up leaves can also be used as mulch in a much more precise application. These chopped leaves make mulching around flowerbeds and herb gardens a breeze. Any plants or trees that need mulch or nutrients can benefit from reusing your collected leaves.