Once autumn starts turning to winter it makes sense to try to finish all the autumn jobs you can before the weather gets too bad.
If you do, you’ll make winter (and spring) in your garden that little bit easier for you.
In this and the next few posts, I’ll cover some of the outdoor jobs that, weather permitting, you should try to tackle before it’s too late.
Clear remaining leaves from paths
Clearing leaves from paths is necessary not just to improve the way your yard looks but as a safety measure.
Wet leaves alone can be a slipping hazard, but when they are hidden beneath thawing ice and snow they can be extra dangerous.
I usually clear paths first, vacuuming up the leaves or blowing them on to the lawn to be cleared along with the leaves that are already there.
Clear remaining leaves from lawns
It’s okay to leave a few fallen leaves on your lawn, but a thick carpet of leaves spells lawn trouble.
This is because the leaves prevent air and sunlight reaching the grass beneath, which means that the grass will die back leaving ugly bare patches that can easily be colonised by weeds.
Some weeds will even grow during milder periods of winter, but you can be sure that the weed invasion will start in earnest come Spring if there are any bare patches available.
Ideally you should try clearing leaves when they are relatively dry, because as you’ll know wet leaves can get stuck to each other and to the ground below.
How you tackle the task depends to some extent on the area you have to cover and how waterlogged the ground is.
One option, of course, is to use your leaf blower to drive the leaves into piles that you can gather up by hand. If you intend to keep the leaves in order to let them break down to form valuable leaf mould, then blow the leaves into a pen or bay (perhaps netted with chicken wire) that you have rigged up for that purpose.
If you are looking for a good value leaf blower, it is well worth considering purchasing a refurbished model, such as this excellent Ryobi model, considering the great savings that can be made.
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Alternatively, for smaller jobs, and if the ground is not too wet, you can use your lawn mower with catcher bag.
I even use my mower, with the blades raised high enough, to gather up leaves on hard areas like patios and paths. If you do that, make sure there are no raised slabs that will catch the blade.
For these kinds of tasks, when you are dealing with wet ground and heavy and wet loads of leaves, you are likely to find that gas powered, rather than electric tools are needed to do the job.
Electric leaf blowers or mowers may be okay if you have small areas to clear and the leaves are fairly dry, but otherwise you are likely to need the power of gas.
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