One of the most romantic aspects of autumn is certainly the fall of the dead leaves. A symbol of nature that breaks down its leaves to renew itself, the red, yellow and orange leaves create a warm and melancholic atmosphere typical of this season. But with the rains, even the most beautiful leaves begin to pose a problem. Water accelerates their decomposition and that is why it is best to remove them. How to collect dead leaves and how can they be recycled?
Useful tools to remove dead leaves
The most suitable tools for removing dead leaves are basically three: a rake, a STIHL blower and a leaf vacuum cleaner. The fine-toothed rake is suitable for this type of work. This type of rake is easy to handle between flower beds and hedges. It is certainly the most economical but also the most difficult solution. With regard to the leaf blower, another distinction must be made. The leaf blower simply “blows” the leaves, allowing you to accumulate them where it is most convenient and then collect them or let them decompose. The vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, is often equipped with a sheet crusher, so it is a tool that cleans up any residue once and for all. There are different ways of working with a blower.
How to remove dead leaves?
Whichever tool you choose, it is very important to pick up dead leaves before they get wet. By picking them up while they are still dry, you don’t risk getting dirty, creating mud and, above all, making too much effort. Choose a rake with a long handle, so that you don’t tire your back and don’t bend for a long time during the operation. Once raked, the leaves can be picked up on a tarpaulin.
However, if you have decided to use a blower, you can collect the leaves in a short time in a specific place. Fast and efficient, there are several models of thermal or electric blowers on the market. Blowers and vacuums can also be wireless, which is perfect for small gardens.
Reuse of dead leaves
What to do with the freshly harvested foliage? The best solution is to transport them to a composting area in your outdoor space. The decomposition of dead leaves is a very useful nutrient for the lawn and garden, a real fertilizer. Don’t forget that you can also add the wet fraction of household waste to the compost. If you have a vegetable garden, reuse is immediate: after sowing, cover the furrow with the scented compost obtained and you will see the results! If your vegetable garden is set aside in autumn, remember to use dead leaves to cover it.
Dead leaves are a useful tool for mulching. By using them to cover the soil, they form a layer that helps control weed growth, maintain soil moisture, protect the soil from erosion and heavy rainfall. There are different materials that lend themselves to this agricultural technique: from organic materials to those made of natural fibers or bioplastics. Natural ones include straw, grass, shredded pine bark and dead leaves. It is a technique widely used by those who cultivate sustainably and goes hand in hand with the use of compost as a natural fertilizer.
Nests for hedgehogs
Another good idea for recycling dead leaves is to create nests for hedgehogs. These animals are on the lists of protected species in some European countries, mainly because the chances for hedgehogs to make a nest and stay sheltered are eliminated by the meticulous cleaning of the garden. So why not pile up a small pile of leaves and twigs? These creatures, active at dusk and at night, will be happy to help. Larvae, earthworms, spiders and snails are the favorite food of these little gardeners. So hedgehogs do their part to keep your garden free of insects and pests. And since hedgehogs don’t like vegetables, you won’t have to worry about orchards and vegetable gardens.
Autumn leaves aren’t just an annoying waste we have to dispose of in our gardens. On the contrary, with the right measures, you can save a lot of money on humus and compost and play an active role in animal welfare by giving hedgehogs a home and shelter.