How to Get Rid of Fall Leaves

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Collapsible bins hold a lot of leaves and make it easier to move them around.
Collapsible bins hold a lot of leaves and make it easier to move them around. (Image: Andreas Schulze/iStock/Getty Images)

Fall leaves paint the trees with vibrant colors, but those dead leaves become an eyesore once they litter your lawn and garden. They become a safety hazard when they become wet and slippery. Raking is only part of the process of removing the leaves. You also need to decide how to dispose of the leaves. Compare the options to choose the best way to free your yard of fall lawn debris.

Collection Activities

Part of getting rid of leaves is collecting them from the lawn and landscaped areas. An old-fashioned leaf rake requires sweat and muscle, but it does the trick on open lawn areas. A rake also works on rock-covered areas if you're careful not to disrupt the rocks. A leaf blower takes some of the physical labor out of collecting leaves, but you won't have as much control over the leaves. A leaf blower may work well in areas where you can't use a rake. A leaf vacuum collects the leaves and mulches them at the same time, saving you an extra step. Blow or rake the leaves into piles in the yard so they are easier to dispose of.

Use the Leaves

Once you collect the leaves, you still need to get rid of them. Using them as mulch is one option. You don't need to do anything special to the fall leaves. Layer them in your garden beds to insulate the soil and plants during the winter. Another option is to add the fall leaves to the compost bin. Don't add too many leaves at one time, because it can upset the balance of green and brown items in the compost pile. Shred the leaves, if possible, so they break down faster in the compost. An easy way to shred leaves is to mow over them and collect them in the bagging attachment.

Off-Site Disposal

Many communities have leaf collection services for residents. You handle all of the collection of the leaves and the city hauls them away for you. Some communities use large paper bags for collection. Others offer yard waste bins similar to trash cans. If your city doesn't collect leaves, see if there's a drop-off spot for yard waste. Another option is to hire a private contractor to haul away your leaves for you.

Shred Them

Leaving the fall leaves on the lawn is an option if you have only a thin layer and you can still see the grass blades through the leaves. Go over the leaves with a mower to shred them so the leaves don't smother the grass or promote disease. You can get a mulching blade or a special attachment designed to shred leaves for your lawn mower to make the job easier.

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