okay, I'll rake

I don't talk about the mundane garden chores too often: mowing the lawn (barely had to do it this year), weeding (okay, I do talk about that once in a while), and raking. It's not that I hate doing them (except for mowing the lawn), it's just that I assume that most people reading this have plenty of experience with them and don't want to read about them.

Today though I'm going to talk about one of them. Can you guess which one?


I enjoy raking the fallen leaves each year, but I really only want to do it once or twice. I'm not what you'd call obsessive about my lawn. I don't pull out the leaf blower every time a leaf lands on the driveway (I don't even own a leaf blower, although I'm starting to think that one might be handy to help get leaves out of plantings). I don't rake every weekend starting October 1st and ending when the last leaf has fallen.

I like to let the leaves pile up and then take care of them at one time. I'm the only one on my street with this philosophy though, as you may be able to see in the above photo: the line defining the edge of my neighbor's leafless lawn is clearly seen.

The main problem with the rake-once philosophy though is this guy:

An oak that hangs on to many of its leaves quite tightly, dropping them throughout winter and into spring. So although the maple and ash leaves have already been removed from the lawn, the oak leaves are starting to pile up.

So I need to rake again.

I'll only clean the lawn, keeping the leaves in the planting beds. I won't rake more leaves into the beds, but I will leave the ones that have already stuck there in place.

So that means the walkway won't get too much attention:

I will remove the leaves from the stones though, as the creeping thyme can't be smothered:

Are you wondering what all of those seeds are?

They're from the ash tree. That tree is not doing well (like most of them in my neighborhood) and will probably be taken down in the next couple of years. It's producing more seed than ever, which I wonder is a sign that it knows it's not in good health?

A little time passes, some effort with the rake, fun and exercise both.

This is about as much effort as I'll put into it now. As I said, those oak leaves will keep falling.

The walkway looks almost exactly the same as it did before the raking began:

The lawn though is happier, as the smothering leaves won't be creating more bare patches.

I should go over this with the mower, as the grass is longer than I'd like. There's almost no way to get the mower out of the garage right now though.

I really do wonder if my neighbors who leaf blow daily might be convinced to spend those efforts growing more of a garden?

I'm going to work on that next year. Spread the gardening bug, and hopefully reduce the blower noise!


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Cat  – (December 10, 2012 at 8:42 AM)  

I raked yesterday too. It's kind of calming this time of year. Our big leaf drop is from the Live Oaks in the spring. Fall isn't too bad and is rather enjoyable. Spring, not so much. My neighbor blows their patio off daily too with a big, noisy blower. Every afternoon, like clockwork. It drives me a little crazy.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM)  

I share the same philosophy. I'm still waiting for our purple cherry plum tree to drop the rest of its leaves before I do any major leaf removal.

I hesitated for a long time before I bought a leaf blower but it's a great tool for blowing debris out of planting beds, nooks and crannies on the porch, etc. I don't use it often, but when I do, I'm very glad I have it.

Lisa  – (December 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM)  

The only leaves that get "raked" in my yard are the ones the lawn mower can reach. And those we mostly mulch them right back into the grass. Luckily we don't have a lot or that plan might not work!

Hoover Boo  – (December 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM)  

Getting some comment spam there Alan. :(

I have a little Acer palmatum to rake up after, that's about it now that the dreaded Cercis are gone. Nothing in comparison to your Oak and Ash.

Such beautiful compost they make. :)

scottweberpdx  – (December 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM)  

We used to be the very last to rake up leaves too...thanks to all the Oak Trees on our block. Now, however, we have so many renters that never rake them up...and now we practically look respectable!

ricki  – (December 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM)  

The lawn looked pretty sad once we did that "rake once late in the season" routine, but it will recover by spring. The only good thing about raking early is the swishing through big piles of dry leaves...not an option with our early rains this year.

Charlie  – (December 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM)  

Today was the first day in weeks that I saw anything that resembled the sun. The birds have stopped eating the seeds, so yes, tomorrow is the day to clean up my garden as well.

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