Fall Lawn Cleanup

ARA) - Fall brings change: a change in the weather, a change of wardrobe, even a change of time as we set the clocks back and the days grow shorter. And as the leaves change color, you change your yard activities from mowing and planting to leaf collection and cleanup. So put away your mower and garden hose and grab the leaf blower and a chainsaw, but remember not to change good safety habits.

A little resistant to change? Figure you’ll just put off the backbreaking raking? Well, if you wait too long, your lawn will start to change -- to a brown color! As winter approaches, the lawn needs more sunlight than ever so it can store food in the root system for the dormant season. So John Deere suggests removing leaves weekly so that your lawn isn’t deprived of sunlight.

Still not looking forward to picking up a rake? Then don’t -- make another change by exchanging your rake for a leaf blower. It makes the job easier on your back and faster to complete. Choose the right blower for you and the task at hand. Handheld models are best for suburban living, but if you live on a large property and have several acres to care for, a backpack blower is a better option. Handheld models should be under 10 pounds for convenience -- backpack models generally weigh at least twice as much.

For many models, particularly professional-grade, ear protection is recommended. While today’s blowers are quieter than ever, some residential areas have noise level restrictions, so check your municipality before purchasing a blower.

While using a blower is different than mowing your lawn, you shouldn’t change the safety precautions you adhere to when working in your yard. Start by always reading your operator’s manual. In addition to hearing protection, wear eye protection and proper clothing similar to what you wear when you mow: long pants, a tucked-in shirt and shoes with good traction soles. Blowers should always be pointed away from people and pets. And allow the engine to cool before storing.

If you’d like to keep your mower out a little longer and give your lawn a nutrient boost in the process, consider adding a mower deck that mulches the leaves and blows them right back into the turf. Or add a materials collection system to your mower and transport the bagged leaves to other areas for use as mulch.

Now is also a great time to give the yard a general spring -- well, fall -- cleaning. Trim back overgrown plants and cut dead limbs off trees before they weaken and fall haphazardly under winter snows and rains. Thinning your trees now may save you a roof repair bill in the future. Wish you had a piece of power equipment that could handle everything? Consider a split-boom unit capable of multi-tasking. Attachments include trimmer heads, edgers, pole saws, hedge trimmers, mini-cultivators and blowers.

For higher or heavier tree clean-up, use an extended reach saw or chainsaw. Like with blowers, read your operator’s manual before using a new product and dress in the same manner described above. Safety glasses are especially important to protect your eyes from flying debris or wood chips. And always keep bystanders and pets away when thinning tree limbs -- you never know just how they might fall. With chainsaws, remember to never cut with the tip of the guidebar to avoid kickback injury. In fact, John Deere recommends that you purchase a chain saw with an anti-kickback protection system.

With your fall yard tasks safely squared away, you’ll be ready to concentrate on the beauty of the season.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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