Leaves fallen from trees provide winter mulch protection for plants, but they can also make the garden look messy and unkempt. Cleaning up the garden in the fall for me means removing fallen leaves, and then adding them back as a layer of mulch. There must be an easy way to clean up leaves!
My garden is a small urban landscape full of trees and without a lot of lawn. While I don’t have a large space, my garden beds are underneath trees that are constantly dropping leaves, flowers, and petals on the garden. While I like the woodland garden concept where the trees and plants provide nutrition and protection to the plants by naturally providing a layer of compost onto the soil, it does look a bit messy and I can use some help.
I was grateful when I was contacted by Toro, who offered to send me an UltraPlus Blower Vac. It’s just the tool that I needed to do the trick, making fall cleanup easier and more fun.
Please note that Toro sent me the blower vac to try out at no cost. The opinions in this post remain my own.
This was my first time using a blower vac, and I thought that I could simply use the vacuum to suck up the leaves from the garden beds, shrubs, perennials, and rock gardens. Nope! Upon reading the manual I realized that this was not a good idea. The garden waste is sucked up in the vacuum and goes into a powerful leaf shredder which then deposits mulched leaves into a bag. If something hard like sticks, rocks, or acorns gets into the leaf shredder, it can damage the mechanism.
Instead, they recommend that you blow the leaves out of the garden area into a pile. Then use the vacuum attachment to suck up all the leaves in the pile. This will mulch the leaves and deposit them into the bag. The mulched leaves are then available for you to add as a top dressing to the garden beds or into your compost bin.
This process worked very well. It was easy to blow all of the leaves out from underneath the trees, around the plants, off the rocks, out of the fountains, and from all the different landscaping in the garden. Once it was all in a pile, it was just as easy to use the vacuum attachment. The vacuum attachment is parallel to your body, so you just have to stand over the pile to suck up all the leaves into the bag, which has a shoulder strap. All in all, it’s a great design and one that made fall cleanup an easy task this year.
So what to do with all those mulched leaves? It’s garden gold! Add mulched leaves into your compost bin and it will speed up the amount of time that it takes for your compost to break down and become nutrient-rich material. Or use the mulch leaves as a layer of cover over the soil in the winter. This decreases soil erosion, adds material that will compost onto the soil, and protects roots from colder temperatures.
Read more about fall garden tasks and cleaning up the garden in this fall garden checklist!