Cyclone Rake Blog: removing pine needles
Showing posts with label removing pine needles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label removing pine needles. Show all posts

Friday, January 6, 2017

Best Practices for Cleaning Up Leaf Debris in the South

Lawns and gardens grow longer in the South, where milder winters may mean more time to clean up leaves and yard debris. Here are some best practices for cleaning up leaves and lawn debris in the South - whether you’re catching up on raking, cleaning up debris from pruning or a winter storm, or just thinning out pine needles from under your trees.
            Large leaf rakes make cleaning up small and mid-sized yards easy. Raking is also a great way to get some winter exercise and enjoy being in the colder season. Many
Brilliantly colored tree in Alabama
homeowners shred small piles of leaves, using a lawnmower or chipper/shredder, to make mulch. Shredding also makes composting leaves easier. Composting is a great practice that can help make your yard neater, and shredded leaves are a useful ingredient for compost, when mixed with other organic wastes in the compost pile or compost bin.
            Large yards with more deciduous trees, as well as yards with mature pines and other evergreens, can see even more leaves and pine needles.
Long Needle Pine Tree in North Carolina 
Rakes and leaf blowers are useful for cleaning up larger yards. A Cyclone Rake leaf vacuum, which attaches to a riding lawnmower, makes cleaning up leaves and pine needles easier and less time-consuming. The Cyclone Rake and its attachments can also be used for year-round yard cleanup chores.
            Homeowners in the South can take a two-step approach when dealing with small tree branches, as well as disease-free shrub clippings and prunings. Branches and prunings can be first gathered into neat piles – or left just out of sight, behind the trees or shrubs where they are pruned. After some time has passed, leaves will fall off or can be easily shaken off, making it easier to move the stems and branches. The leaves can then be tidily raked into mulch around the plants, used as mulch elsewhere, or added to the compost pile. Branches can be shredded or added to a brush pile for birds and wildlife to enjoy the rest of winter.

Reviewed (mentions leaving branches behind pruned plants):

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mulching with Leaves & Pine Needles

Late fall and winter is not too soon to do something with the leaves or pine needles you have collected with a Cyclone Rake. Used properly, leaves and pine needles may provide attractive and economical winter mulch around many plants. Follow these tips to put your leaves and pine needles to use before next spring.

Use Oak Leaves and Pine Needles to Mulch Acid-Loving Plants

Oak leaves are slightly acidic before decomposing. That means they need some time to decompose to be used as garden compost, as they’ll soon rot and lose their acidity. But you can use this fall’s oak leaves to mulch and help protect your acid-loving plants - like azaleas and rhododendrons – this winter.

A University of Missouri growing guide recommends placing oak leaf mulch 4 to 6 inches deep around azaleas and rhododendrons. This helps conserve moisture and minimize winter injury to shallow roots. The mulch can be kept around the plant in warmer months, but be careful that leaves do not mat and form a layer that prevents water from reaching the soil below.

Pine needles provide slightly acidic mulch without as much risk of matting, creating excellent mulch around acidic-loving plants. Clemson University Cooperative Extension recommends a two-inch layer of pine needles. Whole pine needles interlock with each other, creating a mat while still allowing water and nutrients to reach the soil surface. Pine needles can also be scattered on top of other mulches to help keep them in place.

Consider Coarsely Shredded Leaves for Winter Mulch

Some plants can benefit from winter mulching, a layer of mulch leaves laid in late fall to insulate flowers or shrubs in winter. Winter mulching can also prevent “heaving,” when the ground rises and falls from thawing and freezing, which can damage plant root systems. Most garden guides recommend winter mulching after plants are dormant and temperatures are below freezing.

Winter mulch is meant to be removed when temperatures warm in early spring. It is important to use leaves that are not as finely shredded – like the leaves collected with the Cyclone Rake Power Vacuum Pickup – to keep the mulch from becoming matted. Having protected your plants for the winter, the winter mulch can be removed to the compost pile to break down.

If you Grow Strawberries, Use Pine Needles as Winter Mulch

Winter mulching protects strawberry plants during the harsh winter months. Straw is often used, but pine needles are ideal – especially for a smaller home garden strawberry patch. According to the University of Massachusetts Extension Center for Agriculture, the pine needles can be spread out between the rows of strawberry plants as temperatures warm. This helps keep strawberries clean when they ripen, reduce fruit rot, and cool the soil.