Does anybody have a strategy for removing leaves from a mulch bed
without losing tons of mulch. I have a lot of trees on my property and
on the surroundingplots of land. I have had a lot of leaf removal to
do this season and I will have an equal amount of mulch replacement to
do. I have been using my blower to push the leaves to a pile and try
to stay away from using a rake.
I do not use the vacuum attachment for my blower as it jams often and
and it was very time consuming. However, just on the last leaf
cleaning day of the season, it broke so I have purchased a Toro Ultra
Is the only way to remove leaves from a mulch bed without losing mulch
to use the vacuum attachment?
Why? It requires both muscle and skill, but a rake is the
single best tool to move leaf mulch a yard at a time. (For
greater distances, use a board in either hand to lift leaves
onto a barrow. Three loads lifted fill most wheelbarrows.
This requires muscle too.)
Your mulch beds are organic material that is permeable to water but
blocks sunlight and thus inhibits the growth of weeds. Leaves do these
things. So leave the leaves on the mulch beds. Many lawn mowers come with
"mulchers" to chop leaves up into mulch.
There is no better tool for leaves than a rake and a big tarp. Bigger
the better - I use a 20x40 foot tarp that'll hold a minivan sized pile
of leaves. The tarp gets tied with rope to the back of my riding mower
because I'm getting lazy. Drag that up the hill, find an open spot in
the woods, and drag the tarp over itself to dump. Easy and doesn't
annoy the neighborbood with noise.
The only place a leaf blower has been useful is ivy. The rake is hard
on the leaves.
You could try asking the fine folks in rec.gardens (if you haven't
The group does not have nearly as much traffic as here, but they have
lots of experience.
Personally, I use a rake. But, my beds are pretty small.
With regard to leaving the leaves on the mulch beds - I thought of
this. However, leaves decompose and cause fungus as well. This can
bring soil diseases that can kill the surrounding plants. I would
prefer to have a depleted mulch bed than to have dead plants.
As for the tarp idea, I do this in my backyard as it is the most level
portion of my yard and I have to drag all the leaf bags to the front
and down the hill. However, it does not solve the problem of saving as
much mulch as possible in the process of extracting the leaves.
Leaves are not mulch. Depending on they type of tree, leaves can be composted
for use in gardens next year as fertilizer. Also, if leaves are shredded onto
lawns they are great feed for the worms and such living below the grass to
decompose and it doesn't take too much time for that (best bet).
Mulch is usually shredded bits of tree bark, or shredded twigs, and made up of
different types of trees. Mulch is used decoratively to landscape lawns,
usually around trees, plants, light posts, shrubs, and even patios (like at my
rental property). So Mulch is usually made of harder things than leaves, which
are soft. Mulch is made of wood chips, tree bark, and whatnot that has better
staying power and is heavier than grass clippings, leaves, or any compostable
item. Mulch usually isn't blown away unless winds are very strong. Also a tarp
is lined over soil to keep the mulch in place and keep weeds from sprouting up
in the mulch. Tarp is placed under the mulch and is made of:
Poly yard tarps are made of heavy duty industrial polyethylene. Poly yard tarp
is light weight and versatile. Poly yard tarp fabric has built-in UV protection
for both sides for maximum weatherproofing. Designed for maximum strength and
durability. (I don't advise using this kind of tarp because polyethylene and any
polyvinyl treated plastics contain a heavy amount of chemicals that cause cancer
in humans[like the shower curtains, plastic raincoats, plastic polyvinyl boots,
and anything with polyvinyl and polyethylene in it). (per the blogger here I
know that polyethylene and polyvinyl are some of the worst cancer-causing
chemicals in products to humans. I cannot speak about what it does to organisms
in the ground under the mulch, nor less the birds and other animals who crawl
over them or pause to drink by them every day).
Heavy duty vinyl yard tarps are made of heavy duty 10 oz vinyl coated polyester,
which are strong and tear resistant. Heavy duty yard tarps are designed for
longer service life and outstanding performance.
I too have wasted a lot of good mulch by raking and blowing leaves off the mulch
and even then it's impossible to get all the leaves out of the mulch. Last year
I covered the entire area of mulch with a fine netting that I found in the
garden section of Home Depot. I have no idea what the netting was supposed to
be used for but it worked for me. It took a while to get the netting around all
the bushes but it wasn't all that difficult. I just had to layer some of it .
The netting came in rolls and included plastic stakes that I used around the
edges and a few throughout the area to keep the netting in place. It worked
perfectly for the 3 months I kept it on until all the leaves were done falling
and it was super easy to take off and throw away. The best part was that I
could use my leaf blower on high speed to blow all the leaves away and out of
the bushes as well without losing a bit of mulch. Sorry I don't know the name
of the product but I think anything of this nature would work and it was very,
very cheap. ($2 to $3 per roll) I really wish someone would patent a product
specifically for this use.
I remember watching a landscape specialist at our school blow a huge amount of
leaves into one big pile from our mulch landscape, She left the place and no
leaves with mulch in place. She did a certain twirl and lift motion with the
blower and it worked.
No matter what you use whether it be a rake or a blower the vacuum will
definitely clog but all of it takes technique with the rake you have to skim the
top and the last little bit you have to rake and rake and rake until just the
leaves are on top and pick them out by hand or with the leaf blower the
technique is to twirl and lift at the right angle and it can leave the bark
alone and remove just leaves you might have a little bit mixed but I think it's
far better than using a rake if you use the vacuum attachment on your blower you
will more than likely pick up some bark at some point that's clogging or even
breaking your blower