If you’re anything like most of us, you hate taking care of piles of leaves. While it may be tempting to allow them to pile up on your lawn and wait for nature to take its course, this can be an unhealthy habit. Piles of leaves encourage fungal growth and can worsen fall and spring allergies. Even worse, they can become the new home to hundreds of new, uninvited lawn pests.

In St. Louis, you may find it difficult to keep up with the growing pile of leaves. Instead of waiting until the final days of fall to take care of dropped leaves, why not be proactive and implement a few of these easy-to-follow leaf removal tips?

1. Don’t procrastinate

Plan ahead. Some towns offer leaf removal services, making your job a little bit easier, but you need to be aware of when they are offering pickups. You should also consider raking and removing leaves every week. If you wait for weeks at a time to rake, you will be allowing the leaves to build up and prevent your grass from absorbing the vital sunshine it needs to grow.

2. Use a leaf blower

While the wind can do some of the work for you, a leaf blower will help you move all of your leaves into a neat-and-tidy pile so that you can bag, pile, or compost it. Leaf blowers are a great tool if you want to save your arms and back a little work.

3. Shred your leaves

You have a couple of options when it comes to shredding your leaves. You can simply continue mowing late into the fall, and allow your mower to shred the leaves for you. Some mowers also come with built-in mulchers or serrated blades to help make quick work of this task as well. This will save you time and effort, and at the same time fertilize your lawn if you choose to leave the clippings right where they are.

4. Start a compost bin

If you decide to gather the shredded leaves after you’ve mulched or mowed them, consider starting a compost bin. This is a great way to recycle old leaf matter and to create healthy, fertile soil for the next growing season. Your compost should be located several hundred feet from your hoe, when possible, and contain additional ingredients such as vegetable peels and animal manure.

5. Get creative

Use a tarp or piece of cardboard to help scoop the leaves away from your lawn. While raking your leaves into one large pile and then heaping them into a disposal bag or compost bin can be an overwhelming task, sweeping them onto a tarp allows you to save an unnecessary step.

You can also recycle a cardboard box by cutting off the top and bottom flaps. Tape the ends together, and then drag the cardboard across the lawn. This will create a handy “lawn-scraping” device to allow you to quickly remove any last traces of those pesky leaves.

6. Invest in a heavy-duty rake

Many people detest the process of raking and will instead opt to use a leaf blower. However, in many cases you just can’t get around raking. Purchase a rake that will really get the job done. The best rakes are over thirty inches wide and are designed to be clog-free, allowing you to grab more leaves in one pass than  a traditional rake.

7. Maintain your equipment

Make sure all of your mowers, rakes, leaf blowers, and other leaf removal equipment is in top working order. Keep blades sharp and make sure everything is rust-free. Store equipment indoors throughout the winter months to help protect the longevity of these items, and always clear any lawn equipment or decorations from your grass before beginning to remove leaves.

8. Wait to remove leaves until the weather has cleared

Don’t try to remove leaves on a rainy day, or even after it has recently rained. Wet leaves don’t chop as neatly and evenly as they will when they are dry. Instead, they will have a tendency to clump together and clog your rakes and other equipment. Clear days are always best for lawn clean up chores.

9. Get the kids involved

Taking care of the lawn doesn’t need to be an adult only event. Recruit the kids to help clean up the lawn. Chances are, they’ll have more fun than you–and will probably only spread a few stray leaves when they jump into that enormous leaf pile!

Don’t feel like cleaning up the leaves yourself? Visit our St. Louis lawn care page to find a professional to take care of your lawn for you!

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