5 Tips for Raking this Fall
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5 Tips for Raking this Fall

When the leaves start falling, it's time to start raking! Follow these raking tips to keep your outdoor space tidy this season.

  Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash


Article courtesy of Garden Gate Magazine


1. A gardener’s clean haul

Most folks find that they have to retire their old plastic shower curtains and hang new, clean ones every once in a while. Rather than throwing them away, try recycling them in the garden.

Use old shower curtains as drop cloths inside your vehicle when hauling compost and mulch. And when cleaning up the garden or raking leaves, lay a shower curtain on the ground to collect the debris. Then when the pile is large enough, simply grab one corner of the curtain and drag it to the compost pile. This cuts down on the number of trips you’ll have to make back and forth.


2. One-person leaf bagging

Ever wish you had an extra set of hands? It sure would be helpful when you’re raking leaves on a windy day. It’s not easy to hold a bag open and try to rake the leaves into it at the same time.

If you’re raking by yourself, put your wheelbarrow to work for you. Loop the ties of a drawstring plastic bag over the handles to hold the bag open then you can use both hands to rake and scoop. Position the handles toward the wind so the bag stays open and propped against the wheelbarrow side.

When the bag is full, throw it in the wheelbarrow and haul the leaves to the curb or the compost pile.


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3. Tidy window wells

Isn’t clearing debris out of your window wells a nuisance? And getting all the leaves out of the corners is especially hard. Try using a child’s inexpensive plastic garden rake. The rake head is small enough to reach into all the nooks and crannies. And the handle is long enough so you don’t have to get down on your hands and knees to clean out the leaves.


4. Networking

Raking leaves out of low-growing evergreens like ‘Blue Rug’ juniper has never been a favorite fall job. When the leaves begin to change color, spread black plastic netting, used to protect fruit trees from birds, over the juniper. The netting is nearly invisible. Use small, forked twigs to pin the netting in place.

After the trees are bare, remove the twig pins. If the leaves are thick and heavy, ask for help dragging the netting off the junipers.

This is so much easier on you because you don’t have to rake and bag all those leaves. And it’s easier on the ground-cover junipers because you don’t have to step on them as much.


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5. A rake is a rake — or isn’t it?

You’d think that buying a garden tool would be simple. But sometimes there are so many choices, it’s hard to tell which tool you really need.

Rakes are no exception. Plastic, metal or bamboo? Stiff or springy? Well, it depends on what you’re raking. Bow rakes are usually fairly small, 12 or 15 in. wide, and they’re rigid. They’re used for spreading mulch or raking soil smooth.

Leaf rakes (like the one shown above) can be made of metal, plastic or bamboo, and they can be small, for tight spaces, or wider to pick up lots of leaves with one sweep. What they have in common is that they’re springy, not stiff. They’ll pick up leaves from your lawn without tearing up your grass.


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