Garden Tools for Raking
The premiere tool for raking, of course, is the rake. Not the stiff garden rake, which is a tool used for smoothing soil, but the lawn rake, used for leaves. You want a flexible toothed fan, with enough structure to push a heavy load of leaves. You also want a light-weight tool, to prevent fatigue. The best rake that provides all that is a bamboo-head rake. If you find one for a good price, buy it. You will never regret it.
Rakes should be held and swished in a manner that avoids bending. Don’t lean out and pull and drag the leaves into a pile. Draw the rake toward you, and bring the leaves to you rather than reaching out to them. A bad back ache is a hard lesson to learn this. Use rakes in a manner that avoids injury. This should be the rule for all long-handled garden tools.
If your leaf-raking chores are bigger than what can be handled in a single hour or two, you can purchase a manual push rake. It is quite impressive how well these simple pieces of machinery handle dry leaves and pine needles! They do require frequent dumping, but are much faster than raking by hand. For even bigger chores, there are leaf-raking attachments for small tractors. These are super-handy and fast, especially if you choose to save the litter for use as mulch.
Mowing over leaves deposits most of this valuable debris on top of the turf grass, so it is not recommended. Pick up the leaves and needles before you mow. They make a great addition to woodland paths, compost heaps, and plant beds. The only thing you should be piling at the roadside for municipal pickup are cones and weeds.
It’s easy to transport fall cleanup and collection items on sturdy tarps. It’s also faster than taking extra steps to lift and move leaf litter to and from wagons and bags. Tarps meet with little friction on grass and pavement, so you can transport large volumes where they are needed. The only limiting factor is the width of your garden gates.
Commercial landscape maintenance companies often use hand rakes. This may be a surprise to you, but a skilled crew can move a large amount of leaves onto tarps and into truck beds more easily than hauling special attachments for tractors, as long as the original landscape design is configured to allow consolidated beds where trees can self-mulch inside the beds, beyond the turf edging. This is a good way to xeriscape as well as maintain the landscape through good design.