4 Ways to Clean Up Leaves and What to Do with Them

Leaves are slowing starting to drop around the Pacific Northwest and with our weather rapidly turning from summer to fall, you’ll see more and more leaves on the ground rather than on the branches. But whether you have a small yard or large one, there are simple ways to keep it clean and free of those leaves.

4 Ways to Clean Up Leaves and What to Do with Them

#1. Mow

If you’re looking for really good mulch for your trees one way to get rid of those leaves is to simply move them up with a lawnmower that has a mulching attachment. The leaves provide great nutrients for your grass and because it’s been so dry around here, a little bit of rain on those dead leaves will help soak the mulch into the grass providing natural compost. Smaller leaves will decompose quickly and as long as they don’t get too sick, will provide gray compost for a nice, green lawn all fall and winter.

4 Ways to Clean Up Leaves and What to Do with Them

#2. Blow

Ah, those blowers. Just blow them right off your property, right? Well, that’s really not what they were designed for. They’re not to blow debris off onto the road to let the street sweeper deal with, but they can be blown into more manageable piles making it easier to rake them up. This is a lot less time-consuming than raking every square inch of your yard by hand. Pile them into bags for the curb, dump them on your garden or compost pile or directly into your bin.

4 Ways to Clean Up Leaves and What to Do with Them

#3. Vacuum

Yep, I said vacuum. I mean we have blowers, why not suckers? “She’s gone from suck to blow!” Sorry, my little homage to Spaceballs. There are actually leaf vacuums out there that make clean up a snap! It can pick up small twigs, pine cones, leaves and other debris and put it right into a bag for easy mulch, compost or disposal.

4 Ways to Clean Up Leaves and What to Do with Them

#4. Tarp

An easy way to get on it before you have to deal with it is to put a tarp under the most susceptible trees.  Of course, it’s not going to look the prettiest but cleanup will be a snap and it won’t have to be there forever. One of the biggest culprits and the easiest to do this with is the Paulownia tree. This fast growing monster has enormous leaves and tends to shed them all at once. Once the air starts getting crisp, it won’t be long before nearly all the leaves will fall in about 12-24 hours.

Important points to consider:

Raking leaves and putting them into compost bins may not be the best option. Leaving foliage on your lawn may be the best option. Leaves that city workers pick up could get carried into storm drains and waterways. An abundance of leaves could cause an overabundance of algae, which takes oxygen the fish need to survive. Packing your leaves in a biodegradable container so that they won’t suffocate any fish is a good idea or simply compost them yourself.

Leaves left on sidewalks could be a hazard for those walking by. You can make the sidewalk slippery, especially with just a little bit of way. Try to keep leaves off of sidewalks and steps to prevent any injury.

If you have more questions about leaves, trees, limbs, branches or simply the fitness of any tree on your property give us a call.


By Daniel Lobo (Flickr: Hojas) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Tarp image by Steven Depolo