Removing leaves from your yard in the fall not only keeps your lawn looking clean and beautiful throughout the season, but it also keeps your lawn healthy. In fact, allowing a layer of leaves to remain on your grass throughout winter can actually damage your lawn.
Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to leaf removal, ranging from rakes to leaf blowers to vacuums. And when it comes to what to look for in a leaf blower, it helps to know what leaf blower features will work best for you, considering your yard and the number of leaves or debris you need to clear, as well as the amount of effort required.
The Power of Gas-Powered
Gas-powered leaf blowers are generally easy to use and make for a timesaving way to clear leaves from your lawn, especially compared to raking. Depending on the type of leaf blower you choose, backpack or handheld, you may also be able to use the blower to clear other debris, such as sticks, dirt or wet leaves. In addition, gas-powered blowers tend to be the most powerful tools for dealing with leaves, compared to high-power electric or battery-powered leaf blowers.
Troy-Bilt® gas-powered leaf blowers come in 2-cycle and 4-cycle varieties. The main difference with these varieties is the type of fuel they require. The 2-cycle gas-powered leaf blowers provide ample power to clear leaves and debris from a variety of surfaces. They are built with 2-cycle engines, often found in handheld and backpack gas leaf blowers, that require you to mix oil and gas. Unlike high-power electric blowers, 2-cycle gas leaf blowers are not limited by power cords, giving you the ability to clear larger areas.
Meanwhile, 4-cycle gas-powered leaf blowers eliminate the need to mix oil and gas, as they take straight gasoline. They are also more powerful and efficient than 2-cycle models. You can find 4-cycle engines in handheld and backpack gas leaf blowers. Unlike electric blowers, 4-cycle gas leaf blowers are not limited by power cords, giving you the ability to clear larger areas.
About MPH and CFM
Two measurements are often used to rate the power and speed of leaf blowers: miles per hour (mph) and cubic feet per minute (cfm). And the higher these two numbers, the more blowing power the unit will have.
The mph measurement tells you how fast air comes out of the leaf blower and is more helpful for moving heavier debris. Meanwhile, cfm measures the volume of air a blower can move in one minute. A higher cfm may translate to the ability to move more leaves at once.
What Type of Drive System Do You Need?
Another consideration to make when buying your next leaf blower is whether you need a blower that is held or pushed. When choosing, consider the size of your yard, as well as the number of leaves you’re dealing with and the amount of physical effort that will be required to fully clear your lawn.
- Handheld leaf blowers, also called suitcase blowers, are designed to be used by one hand. They are best for small- to mid-sized yards and come in electric, 2-cycle and 4-cycle options.
- Backpack gas leaf blowers are designed to be more comfortable for longer periods of use. They are more powerful than handheld blowers and feature fully tensioned suspension systems that evenly distribute their weight across your back. These gas-powered backpack leaf blowers can help mitigate usability issues that can come with long-term use of handheld gas, battery and electric handheld leaf blowers.
- Wheeled leaf blowers are designed for clearing medium to extra-large yards and areas. Their wheeled walk-behind design makes them more comfortable to use and creates less arm fatigue than both backpack and handheld leaf blower designs. They’re also the most powerful type of leaf blower, capable of clearing heavy piles of leaves, including wet leaves and debris.
As a rule of thumb, small- to medium-sized yards call for handheld leaf blowers. This type of blower can vary in power but is useful for clearing leaves from tight areas around the yard. Larger yards tend to call for backpack blowers or walk-behind wheeled leaf blowers, as they produce greater power for heavy duty cleanup jobs. Walk-behind wheeled leaf blowers offer the most power and may require the least effort to use, which makes them a good option for large yards with lots of leaves to be cleared. But these blowers also require a little more maintenance and storage space than both backpack and handheld leaf blowers.
To clear leaves efficiently from your yard entirely, place a tarp over a designated area on your lawn. Using your Troy-Bilt leaf blower, blow the leaves into a pile on the tarp, gather up the corners, and leave the bundle out by the curb for pickup according to your city’s green waste rules, or move the leaves to a compost pile or vegetable garden if you’re looking for an eco-friendlier option.
Throughout the fall, your yard needs to breathe in order to receive the nutrients and sunlight it needs to thrive come springtime. Try to remove your leaves every other week to maintain a healthy lawn.
And what should you do with collected leaves? There’s no need to landfill them, as they can be recycled. You can use a mulching mower to add shredded leaves back to your lawn. As they break down, they act as a natural fertilizer that helps maintain healthier grass. Mulched leaves can also be used as mulch around flowers, trees and shrubs for the same purpose. (Just make sure leaves are mulched or shredded before using.)
Composting shredded leaves with grass clippings is another great way to recycle leaves. This step can be saved for spring fertilizing, too.