So many people love fall color that rural areas enjoy tourist seasons when visitors stay at inns, take long hikes and enjoy the crisp fall weather. One dark side of the season is fall cleanup. At some point during the autumn season all of those colorful leaves fall and make a mess of your lawn. There is no getting around fall cleanup, but there are some tips that will make the task easier so you can get it done and enjoy the rest of the season.
Survey the PropertyIt's not worth going out to pick up every leaf as it falls, but you also want to clear leaves in stages so it's not too overwhelming or too unsightly for the neighbors. Set aside time once enough leaves have fallen. Know that you may be in for at least another session or two with the rake before the season is done.
The Right Tools for the JobGather the tools you need. A rake or leaf blower is essential. You'll want a rake, and a leaf blower is optional. The tool you can use to make collecting leaves easier is a tarp. Based on your supplies and the volume of leaves you have, choose a small or medium tarp. Tarps that are too large can become awkward and unwieldy once loaded with fallen foliage.
You can just lay the tarp in a cleared area, or you can take this tool up one notch. Weigh the edges down with rocks or secure a pole or pipe to the edges with twine or zip ties at the grommets so the tarp edges stay down when you rake leaves over the ends. Once the tarp is loaded, you can lift it to empty into a bin or compost bag. You can also drag the tarp to the edge of your property, where you can release the leaves into a wooded area.
You can use your tarp to create bundles to tote leaves away, or cover the leaves to keep them in place until you are ready to deal with them.
Final CleanupIf you have a mulcher, you can break the leaves down into smaller pieces to give them a head start on composting. You can also use leaves to insulate your plants for winter. If you have some more fragile plants and shrubs, such as a rose bush, you can wrap it in burlap and fill any gaps with leaves for added warmth. This will help keep the plants protected when it gets too cold.
Once you've cleared the bulk of the leaves from your lawn, there will likely be a few stragglers. It's impossible to get every leaf. If those pesky red and yellow leaves nag at you, get the lawn mower out for one last mow. The mower will pick up those last leaves as it cuts your grass to prepare for the dormant season.
Once you've cleared all the leaves, you can sit down with a hot drink and enjoy those last rays of autumn sun.