3 essential Tools for fall clean-up

Have you ever heard the saying "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade?"  The same philosophy can be applied to fall cleanup.  A yard covered in leaves is often seen as fall's least favorite offering, but it can easily be transformed into mulch or compost for spring gardens.

Some gardeners may wonder if it is even necessary to rake leaves.  Won't they naturally compost on the yard? Yes, they will, if you have only a few leaves.  If this is the case, you might be better off just letting them blow into the bushes, turning into mulch and fertilizer.  Or you may want to run your lawn mower over them and let the leaves feed your lawn. 

But if you have substantial leaves, enough that you can't see the lawn underneath, leaving them on your yard will smother and kill the grass long before they turn into fertilizer.  If this is your yard, look on the bright side.  When you begin to consider how beneficial leaves can be for the garden, you will want to collect every last one of them. 

Don't even know where to begin with the leaves when it seems like every time you pile hundreds of them into bags, more keep falling?  Here are a few possible solutions:

A leaf blower vac not only makes gathering the leaves in your yard faster, but it also eliminates the blisters and backachs often caused by raking.  Designed for quick and easy cleanup, a blower vac is a year-round investment for all-purpose cleanup of dust, dirt, debris, grass clippings and, most importantly, leveas.  Use it to clean up your deck, sidewalk, driveways and even your flower beds.  Many of Troy-Bilt's blower vacs come with variable speed settings for easy clearing around delicate flower beds.  C_chore_blowers_handheld
Team your blower vac with a chipper shredder and you can turn fall's biggest pain into garden gold - mulch or compost.  A chipper shredder is a combination of two efficient machines - a chipper and a shredder.  The chipping component turns small branches or twigs (2" - 3" depending on the machine) into wood chips for use as mulch.  The shredding component converts plant materials and leaves into a more suitable form for composting.  When you use a chipper shredder, it will only take a few weeks to decompose rather than a few months because more surface area is exposed with smaller pieces.  Troy-Bilt chipper shredders can transform 10 bags of debris into one, getting nutrient-rich garden mulch or compost in return.  And even if you don't compost, the chopping and dicing abilities of a chipper shredder will speed up the process of eliminating leaves and tree branches from your yard. C_chore_CSV_chipshredr
If you are really ready to tackle your fall foliage, get the best of both worlds and invest in a walk-behind chipper shredder vacuum.  A chipper shredder vacuum has the maneuverability of a walk-behind mower, but with the functionality of a chipper shredder.  It allows you to get into those hard-to-reach areas with an added bonus - a vacuum hose, just like your home vacuum cleaner.  Suck up acorns, leaves and small twigs with the easy-to-use vacuum hose or nozzle, and chip small branches easily, leaving your yard and garden looking clean and tidy. C_chore_CSV_vac

Using a chipper shredder or a chipper shredder vacuum is a great way to better the environment.  Instead of investing in mulch in the fall, use these units to make your own, all while transforming an unkempt lawn into a great-looking one. 

To learn more about creating your own mulch, click here.

Safety first when using a chipper shredder or chipper shredder vac:

  • Read all instructions before operating any heavy equipment.
  • Keep kids and pets away from the work area.
  • Always wear safety googles, gloves, ear protection and proper footwear.
  • Never use your hands or anything made of metal to push debris into the chipper chute or hopper.  Use a tamper device or another long branch to push materials into the shredding chamber.
  • In you think the unit might be jammed, turn it off, disconnect the spark plug and wait for all moving parts to completely stop before attempting to unclog the machine.