I was on the phone with a co-worker today who was working from home. She started out by saying, "I'm watching my husband working out in the yard, and I'm worried that he is nuts."
I had to ask.
She thought he was nuts because of how he was cleaning up leaves in their yard. First he vacuumed up all the leaves. Then he mowed the lawn. Then he vacuumed up the leaves again. I asked what he did with all the leaves he had vacuumed up. "He takes them across the street and dumps them in the vacant lot".
Turns out, by the way, that they have no trees in their yard (yet) and all the leaves he vacuumed up came from the trees in that vacant lot across the street.
Wonder what is going to happen to the leaves he dumped over there? I'm guessing they are going to blow right back into their yard.
He must like to vacuum up leaves.
So that's one technique for cleaning up leaves in the fall, vacuum them up and dump them across the street in a vacant lot. Repeat.
When I was growing up, it seemed like every weekend in the fall we were forced to rake leaves. When my parents moved in to our house, there were no trees, but my Dad planted a lot of sugar maples and other trees and then watered and fertilized them all the time so they grew big fast. Thus it seemed that right at the time when we were old enough to be able to rake leaves and old enough not to want to do it, we had a lot of leaves to rake.
We learned to rake the leaves on to big sheets of plastic and then drag them back to the vegetable garden where my Dad did one of three things with them, depending on his mood.
In the early days, before the practice was banned, he burned the leaves. All the neighbors did. The fall air on the weekends was thick with the smoke of burning leaves.
Some years he dug trenches in the garden, or had us help dig trenches, and then we dumped the leaves in the trenches and buried them.
Other years, we spread the leaves out over the surface of the garden and he roto-tilled them into the soil.
That's still mighty rich soil where he had that garden and where my sister now has her vegetable garden.
Every year, of course, we also jumped into the piles of leaves at least once. The temptation was just too great!
In my current yard, I don't yet have enough leaves to worry too much about. But I do have two leaf rakes already, one metal, one plastic, so I'll be ready when I do have a lot of leaves.
(Yes, I do seem to acquire a lot of garden tools, not just hoes, but apparently now rakes, too.)
My current technique for leaf removal is just to mow over any leaves when I mow the lawn so they are chopped up a bit and will enrich the soil right where they are. But it is going to be a few more weeks before I have any leaves to mow over.
See, my Red Maple (Acer rubrum) is just barely starting to turn.
So what's your technique for raking leaves? Is leaf raking an art or a science? Do you prefer plastic or metal leaf rakes? Do you vacuum the leaves up or just mow over them? Or do you just leave them right where they fall?