How to Rake Leaves the Proper Way in the Winter

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You should never let 3 days go by without raking the leaves on your lawn, even during the winter months. If you let them pile up for too long, it can damage those blades of grass underneath.

As long as you know how to rake leaves, though, you can keep your lawn in excellent condition throughout the entire year. Do you want to learn how to rake leaves well? 

Keep reading for a guide that breaks it down for you!

Why Do People Rake Leaves?

People have been raking their leaves for decades so as not to kill the grass underneath, especially before winter when piles of leaves can cause significant damage.

It’s not always necessary to rake up leaves, though, but it is still essential that you know what to do with them.

Leaves can suffocate a lawn. When there are lots of leaves or piles of leaves covered by mounds of snow all winter, they create the perfect breeding ground for snow mold. Snow mold is a fungal disease that attacks grass, and it’s one of the most crucial lawn care mistakes to avoid.

How to Rake Leaves

The question isn’t necessarily “Should I rake leaves,” but rather, “How do I rake leaves?”

Let’s take a look at some of the best pointers for knowing how to rake leaves well.

Plan When to Rake Them

Ideally, pick a day without wind to rake your lawn’s leaves so they won’t fly away in the process. If avoiding wind isn’t possible, you can first mow over the leaves, chop them up, and make them less susceptible to blowing away.

Try to rake your leaves before the first snow or frost of the winter, too. Don’t rake them too early, though, as they’re much easier to rake when they’re dry. Plus, you can wait and get them all raked in one shot.

Many people wonder, “Do I rake leaves in the winter?” The best thing to do is rake them before winter, so there’s no risk of them getting trapped under the snow.

Pick the Best Rake

Rakes that have narrower spreads won’t gather as many leaves. Plus, they’ll add unnecessary time to your raking job. Choose a rake with a wide tine spread. 30 inches is ideal.

Look for a rake that has a label stating “no-clog,” too. It means the rake will have angled tines, so it won’t end up piercing the leaves and creating blockages.

If you’re tall, make sure you use a longer rake, so you won’t hurt your back bending over.

Whether you should choose plastic or metal depends on the conditions of where you live. For example, a metal rake that has a spring joint at its head enables a firmer dig, which helps dig into damp leaves.

A plastic rake will help with easy sweeps through dry leaves.

Wear gloves when you rake and opt for a cushioned handle so that you don’t end up with blisters or strains on your fingers and hands.

Know Where to Rake Leaves

Anyone who chooses to rake all their leaves into the center of the lawn will end up spending significantly more time raking. Rather than raking into one big pile, divide your yard into quarters.

In each section, rake your leaves into rows rather than piles, too. Start at one end and work to the other so that you’re not running all over the place. When you use a grid pattern, you save a lot of time, and your lawn will end up much cleaner.

Make Bagging Easy

There are a couple of different ways you can bag to make things easier for yourself. If you aren’t making big piles of leaves for your kids to jump in, consider bagging as you go and into smaller bags. This is especially helpful if you’re worried about wind, too.

You could also opt to rake your leaves onto a big tarp. Using this method, you can tie the ends together and bring one giant bag of leaves to your local collection center. You can also opt to roll up the tarp and use it as a funnel to fill lawn bags up with leaves as well.

Consider a Yard Vacuum or a Leaf Blower

If you want to streamline your leaf raking process, you could also think about investing in a yard vacuum. Some yard vacuums have build-in shredders, too.

With this feature, you can suck up all the leaves, and then the shredder chops them up into small bits. Then you can collect more using smaller bags. The vacuum makes it easy to get leaves in hard-to-reach places, too, such as:

  • Between bushes
  • On top of stone mulch
  • Along a stone wall
  • Around and underneath a fence
  • Along cracks and crevices around a home
  • Throughout a garden

A leaf blower can make the entire raking process much easier, as you can easily use it to blow all your leaves into one pile. It’s beneficial for those susceptible to back pain as they enable you to avoid raking motions altogether.

Develop a Raking Technique

Before you decide to tackle an entire lawn, practice your raking technique. Don’t overreach your arms by making big, sweeping rakes over the leaves. By doing this, you’ll strain your arms, hands, and back.

Instead, use small and frequent smaller reaching movements. Switch sides as often as you can and take breaks to stretch and hydrate.

Make Your Raking Day Fun

Knowing how to rake leaves and setting yourself up for success will make your raking endeavor much more enjoyable and successful.

Make sure you choose the right rake and pick a day that’s not too hot or windy. Opt to rake when the leaves are dry as they’ll be much easier to gather.

If you want to make a fun day of it, get your family to help, play some fun tunes, and make fresh lemonade to enjoy during stretch breaks. If you enjoyed this article and want to keep your lawn looking fresh all year, check back daily for more gardening and outdoor home tips!

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