Four Leaf Removal Tools that Clear Yards of Fall Debris

By DIANE BECK,  President of the Missoula Organization of REALTORS

Just for fun, take an inventory of all the leaf removal tools cluttering your garage.

If you’re like me, you’ve got a half-dozen rakes of different sizes and materials, a couple of blowers in various states of repair, and a couple of infomercial gadgets that promise to make annual leaf gathering faster and easier.

In fact, you need only a few essential leaf removal items in your landscape tool collection to accomplish your autumn goal — removing the heavy leaves that smother grass and make your lawn a splotchy mess in spring.

Fewer gizmos and more elbow grease help home owners remove leaves and keep up with lawn maintenance. The reality is … you can’t avoid the hard work when it comes to fall landscaping chores. There are some tools that will help us, but the best help is family and friends. The more hands, the better!

Whether you rake, blow, or tie a mower to a stick, you should remove leaves at least twice each fall. Here are four essential leaf-removal tools that’ll help you clear your lawn before winter sets in:

  • Rigid leaf rake. This plastic, fan-shaped rake is your go-to rake for collecting leaves. Pick one with a cushion handle and a 30 to 36-inch fan. Avoid the super-wide fans that can spread to 48 inches; they’re too big to rake between shrubs and in flower beds. Cost: $10-$20 (30-inch fan).
  • Leaf tarp. Instead of scooping leaves into a million plastic bags, rake or blow them into a big pile on top of a polypropylene leaf tarp. Then drag the tarp to the curb and dump. Cost: $22 for 12.5-by-10-ft. tarp.
  • Leaf blower. Select a two-cycle, gasoline-powered blower to collect leaves in tarps or blow them directly to the curb. If you have a large yard, buy a backpack model, which is more expensive but more comfortable than handheld blowers. Cost: 2-cycle handheld blower: $180; 2-cycle backpack blower: $300.
  • Yard vacuum. This tool vacuums, shreds, chips, and bags leaves and other yard debris. Once leaves are ground up, they’ll decompose quickly in your compost pile. Cost: $400-$650.

Diane Beck
2011 Missoula Organization of REALTORS® President

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Diane Beck has been selling real estate in Missoula for over 20 years.  Her knowledge, experience and commitment to the community has placed her in the forefront of the real estate market.  Diane is serving the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® as their 2011 President and she continues to strive for the best interests of their members, community and her clients.