Fall foliage is a sight to behold when the trees are displaying their colors, but the leaves aren't so fun to clean up afterwards. Tackle your lawn and gutters with these tips. You won't even have to buy leaf bags!
If you have a big yard and lots of trees, raking up all those leaves is a daunting task. Plus, the many leaf bags you'll need to hold them add up. Put those leaves to good use instead by shredding them with your lawn mower. Can you use your lawn mower for leaf mulching? Be sure to use a bag with a quality dust filter, as chopping up leaves will stir up a lot of debris. Look for mower bags labeled "dust-blocking." A self-propelled mower will also make the job less tiring.
Before you start, raise the mower to its highest setting and then mow away! You may need to make a second pass over any particularly thick leaf piles. If the leaves are bunching up in front of you, tip the front of your mower up to roll over them. While mowing, avoid damp leaves—these can clog your mower. Dry leaves also break apart more easily. Leave the pieces on your lawn as fertilizer, or attach your mower's grass bag to collect the shredded leaves and sprinkle them on flowerbeds.
Fall leaves can also cause blocked gutters as they drift down onto your house. A clogged gutter causes overflowing rainwater, or worse, ice dams in cold weather. Ice dams can cause melted water to back up under your roof and eventually lead to a leak inside. To prevent these issues, clean gutters regularly each fall after the leaves have fallen. Don work gloves, then use a plastic scoop, wire brush, or curved wand that attaches to your garden hose to clear out the trapped foliage. If you frequently have a problem with blocked gutters, install a mesh leaf shield. And if you continue to see ice dams, you might need to install better attic insulation or use heat tape along the edge of your roof.