For leaf pick-up, a yard vac with a pick-up tube will work much better
than a blower-vac that's light enough to carry. And if you're not going
to vac them up, a rake is twice as fast as blowing them. For cleaning
grass clippings off of the pavement, what's the matter with a broom? A
broom is faster, too.
Many years ago I had a job picking up leaves. We used two types of blowers.
The backpack blower (essentially a hand blower) was used to get leaves out
of the corners, under bushes, away from the fence, etc. The other blower was
a big puppy on wheels. One person would "cut in" the back end, then the
other would start using the big blower to do the larger open areas. Two of
could do a good sized yard (1/4-1/3 acre) in under an hour.
I would agree that using only a hand blower is slower. However, if you're
willing to spend the bucks, you can use it for the edges (much faster) and
blowing the driveway.
Tip #1: Cut your grass short at the end of the season - makes picking up
Tip #2: Use your mower and mulch them (if it's not too thick and you have
grass). I always did that and let my clippings drop, too. Never fertilized.
Rarely watered. I always had the first and last green on the block.
These blowers are also so noisy more so than a lawn mower. I could
understand the use if they did not have to pick the leaves after blowing
them. We have one that picks the leaves and put them in bags. This year I
use the rake; no noise just the pleasant noise from the leafs.
No. Spoken like a suburban homeowner with 7,000 square feet of lawn, and
a dozen deciduous trees, including a 60' sweatgum tree that dumps quite
a few leaves on the front lawn. (Most of the other deciduous trees are
back in a little wooded area where I leave the leaves where they fall.)
A number of times I've wanted to be like the neighbors, and get a
blower, but when I stop and think about how I can already do everything
a blower does, do it better, and take less time than with a blower, I
save my money and use it to buy some DVD's to watch after I've finished
my work, and my neighbors are still out there trying to use their
Whether it's cleaning up after mowing, or raking leaves in the fall, I
find I have no use for a blower.
Revoke my membership in the macho home owner's club if you must, But I
really don't have the need for a penis extender... er.. a... leaf
Grass clippings get mulched back into the lawn. The leaves are moved to
the vegetable garden. The shreaded leaves are tilled into the soil this
fall, and in the spring I test (among other things) the nitrogen level
(along with visual inspection) to make sure they have incorporated well.
When I rake, I use a big rake, and a large tarp. Dragging the loaded
tarp through the gate and to the backyard is more of a workout than the
raking itself. As long as you're not trying to get every little leaf
fragment, raking is no big deal.
On a yard as small as yours with only one tree, raking is no problem at all.
On the lawns around here that measure from 20,000 to 25,000 sq. ft. or more,
with half a dozen large mature oak trees, it is a very big deal indeed.
Very true. I've got a yard that big, with many oaks and pines, and
use both rakes and electric leaf blowers. The electric ones need
cords, true, but they're much quieter and less polluting than the gas
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
If raking up one tree is faster than blowing the leaves, why would it be
faster to blow the leaves of 12 trees than rake 12 trees.
Or to put it into numbers:
Time it takes to rake up one tree: 30 minutes. Time to rake up 12
trees: 12x3060 minutes.
Time to blow the leaves of one tree: 60 minutes. Time to blow the
leaves of 12 trees: 12x60r0 minutes.
The difference? When I swing the rake, it doesn't matter if there is
just the natural layer of leaves under it, or up to 5 or 6 times that
depth. Takes the same effort. With the blower, it may blow that single
layer just as fast as the rake, but as the pile builds up, the blower
becomes less efficient.
And if those leaves are wet, add 50% more time to raking; double -- or
may be triple, depending on the size of the engine -- the time for
It's also more difficult to blow onto a tarp than it is to rake onto a
tarp. With the rake, all you have to do is lift the rake high enough to
miss the tarp. With the blower, you have to aim pretty darn high to miss
the tarp, and when you do that, you miss the leaves, too.
I'll grant you that my arms would be falling off if I raked-up under 12
trees, but I'd be bored to death, and my arms would still be sore after
spending 12 hours with a blower hanging from them. At least if I raked,
my pain would be accompanied by a muscle and aerobic workout, not simply
cramps from stretching my arms out, and carpal tunnel syndrome from the
vibration of the blower.
If I had a dozen trees, I wouldn't have the time to rake or blow the
leaves. But I would have the time to use a yard vac. A dozen trees in
about 180 minutes. The leaves are already shredded, and if they're wet,
there's hardly an increase in the time it takes.
But if you want to carry around your blower, that's fine with me. It's
not my time, and it's not my arms.
BTW... 20,000 to 25,000 square feet of lawn is far too much work to
begin with. Unless you need that size of a lawn for kids to play
football, you could save yourself a lot of work, and have a much more
aesthetically pleasing landscape, by converting some of it to perennial
beds. There's nothing attractive about 20,000 square feet of nothing but
Your logic stinks!
Your math would not get a passing grade even in elementary school!
Your option of what others like is unasked far, unwanted and stupid.
Go find a busy street and see if you can dodge the cars.
I don't have time nor desire to play silly games with an obviously immature,
<response to off-topic flame>
Okay. Why don't you stop the name calling long enough to actually check
the math with a calculator, find out what logic is, and learn the
difference between "option" and "opinion", "for" and "far", and
"adolescence" and "adolescent". My goodness, if you're going to call
someone a name, at least get the right word.
Either get on-topic, or get out. Attack the ideas, not the person. Hint:
You do that by contributing information and experience, not by name
calling. At least that's how adults discuss things.
My mistake was to defend myself against your original name calling. I
should have been smart enough to know by your lack of contribution that
you wouldn't care what I wrote, and would only take it as another chance
to show off your lack of originality in name calling.
Or to bring it down to a level even you can understand, bite me.
</response to off-topic flame>
Depends on what you're blowing. They don't spray debris in all
directions like trimmers and don't aim oily chips at you like chain
saws. The leaves are being blown away from you and the engine exhaust is
directed away from you (although my wife has a sensitive nose and can
sometimes detect that I've been using the blower).
On the other hand, whenever you're blowing leaves, the wind will be
blowing toward you, so you will get covered with bits of leaves.
However, that can happen when you're raking also.
As far as the noise comments, they are noisy. Wear hearing protection if
you're going to be using it for more than 5-10 minutes.
They have their uses, but don't throw your rake away. The blowers are
quicker than a rake for getting leaves out of restricted places (window
wells, under bushes, corners, etc.). Once you have a large pile of
leaves, the blower doesn't work well. At that point you're better off
with a rake, but at least by that time the piles are consolidated
Also, the rake works better on wet leaves and pine needles in moderately
I have a Stihl backpack blower. My only complaint is that until the
engine warms up a half a minute, a sudden pull on the throttle can stall
it. Once it stalls, you can't start it without taking it off your back
(unless you're into those strange yoga positions). To put it on is not
really all that easy unless you have a pickup truck and can put it on
the tailgate. A 4wd with a higher tailgate is better. (However, it's
probably not worth buying a 4wd truck just for your leaf blower.) I've
been using it about 5 years without any other problems.
If you have only a small area, the hand blower is probably what you
want. Electric models are cheaper, but you're limited by the extension
cord. I have one of those also, and it's great for cleaning out the
How do you like the air that we breath? The sounds [of nature] that we
"According to the Lung Association, a leaf blower causes as much smog as 17
cars . "
. . .
. . . "This paints a bleak picture for the power blower. It is perhaps the
most over and inappropriately used landscape tool . Autumn's tremendous
amounts of organic debris that requires collection might be considered
appropriate use of this tool. However, the weekly routine of blowing abuses
the soil and damages landscape plants while the noise generated creates ill
will from neighbors and clients alike. Leaf rakes deserve a renewed interest
in the maintenance of landscapes."
Some pretty interesting reading there . . .
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