How to rake leaves more ef­fi­ciently.

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Rak­ing leaves is a fact of life for many home­own­ers. Cool au­tumn weather and less sun­light are sig­nals to cer­tain trees that it is time to shed their leaves. A leaf­less tree is more ca­pa­ble of con­serv­ing en­ergy and rid­ing out the win­ter suc­cess­fully. Trees also shed their leaves dur­ing pe­ri­ods of drought or if they have pro­duced too many leaves in the sum­mer and need to con­serve wa­ter.

For home­own­ers, fallen leaves can be an un­sightly nui­sance that can stain con­crete and smother lawns, es­pe­cially when fallen leaves are not promptly re­moved. Rak­ing is a timely task many home­own­ers dread. But it is pos­si­ble to cut down on the time it takes to clear a yard of all those un­sightly leaves.

• Wait for the ma­jor­ity of leaves to drop be­fore be­gin­ning your work. If you start too early in the sea­son, you may end up rak­ing mul­ti­ple times and that is not time­ef­fi­cient.

• Use the tech­nol­ogy at your dis­posal. If the grass is still grow­ing, you can use a mulching mower to take care of some of the leaves. The mower will shred the leaves and cre­ate nu­tri­ents for the soil and the lawn. How­ever, once the lawn stops grow­ing you do not want to cut it too short. This is when it is time to take out the rake.

A com­post­ing vac­uum and leaf blower are other ways to make quick work of clean­ing up leaves. Al­though th­ese de­vices may not be as eco-friendly as a rake, they can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the time it takes to clear a yard of fallen leaves.

• Re­mem­ber to rake down­wind. It is a good idea to save rak­ing for a day when it is not too breezy; oth­er­wise, you may end up rak­ing the same spots over and over. Han­dle small spots at one time and rake the leaves into small piles. Then you can eas­ily trans­fer the leaves to a tarp or bag and set aside for dis­posal or de­posit them into your com­post heap.

• In­vest in a light­weight leaf rake and a good pair of gloves. Be­ing com­fort­able while do­ing the work will make it go more smoothly and quickly, and a light­weight rake won’t be too tax­ing, while gloves will pre­vent the for­ma­tion of blis­ters. In ad­di­tion, take breaks to rest and recharge.

• Move your feet as you rake so your arms and back are not do­ing all of the work. Think of it as drag­ging the leaves more so than just shuf­fling them around. The more leaves you can gather in one pass of the rake, the more quickly the job will go.

• Spread the work around. Shar­ing the task with oth­ers cer­tainly cuts down on the time it takes to clear the yard. Have a leaf-rak­ing party in which mem­bers of the house­hold each pitch in be­fore ev­ery­one en­joys a well-de­served back­yard bar­be­cue.

Al­though rak­ing leaves may not be the av­er­age home­owner’s fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity, it is a healthy one. Var­i­ous mus­cles are worked when rak­ing, which also is a good form of car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise. In fact, a per­son who weighs 180 pounds can ex­pect to burn more than 350 calo­ries rak­ing leaves for an hour.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

For home­own­ers, fallen leaves can be an un­sightly nui­sance that can stain con­crete and smother lawns, es­pe­cially when fallen leaves are not promptly re­moved.

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