The most important thing you can do for fall lawn care is to rake the leaves properly. Allowing them to remain on your grass throughout the winter will prevent your lawn from receiving the appropriate amount of sunlight and airflow, as well as inhibiting its ability to absorb and store nutrients. This results in yellow and broken spots, as well as delayed growth the following spring.
Keep your lawn healthy this fall by choosing the right time to rake your leaves, preparing properly for the task, and using the correct technique for optimal results.
Choose the Right Time
Do not rake your lawn if your trees are still relatively full of leaves. Wait for the leaves to finish falling, when the trees are practically bare, so you can get it all done in one shot. This is much easier and more effective than raking multiple times throughout the season, saving you time and a lot of effort.
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In the meantime, you can continue to mow using a bag attachment, which will remove early fallen leaves by chopping them up along with your grass. When it is time to rake, choose a dry, wind-free day. Rain causes the leaves to become soggy and dense, meaning they clump together and will clog your rake.
Choose a rake with sharp tines, which allows you to dig into the soil and de-thatch the grass. Thatch is the dead turfgrass that lies between the green lawn and the soil surface that should be regularly removed to help maintain your lawn’s health. If the soil has been compacted, aerating will ensure it can properly absorb and store nutrients throughout the winter.
Rakes labeled “no clog” have angled tines, preventing them from piercing the leaves and causing blockages. A wide spread of tines gathers more leaves in less time than a narrow spread, so choose a rake with a spread of around 30 inches. The rake should be suited to your height to reduce back strain. Ergonomic rakes allow you to grasp and move the leaves without bending, and rakes with cushion grips will be more comfortable for your hands.
Raking kicks up a lot of dust, so wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, and a mask if you are prone to seasonal allergies. Work gloves are necessary when raking to prevent blisters, and you will benefit from using a back brace if you have existing back problems.
Avoid the time-consuming task of bagging leaf piles by raking them onto a tarp instead. Then you can tie the ends together and transport it to your neighbor collection center. If you use mulch or fertilizer in your landscape, consider turning your leaves into mulch or compost rather than removing them or putting them on the curb. This saves you money and is good for the environment.
Pay Attention to Technique
Bear down rather hard on the rake, driving the tines deep into the leaves to properly dislodge the thatch layer. Maintain good posture, standing up straight and bending your knees. Frequently switch between your hands to prevent fatigue of your arms and shoulders. Take your time to ensure you properly clear all spots.
Rather than raking all leaves into one spot, which results in unnecessary movement across your lawn, use a grid pattern. Separate your lawn into four sections, then work from one end to the other to rake all of the leaves in each section into rows. These rows can then be raked onto your tarp. Properly raking your yard this fall prepares your lawn and soil to remain healthy during the cold winter months.
If you have questions about fall lawn clean-up or would like advice, give Lammon Brothers a call today at 419.825.5956 or visit our website.