I’m not sure which has depressed me more: The early playoff exit by the Yankees or the increasing number of leaves cascading from trees in the neighborhood. (Wasn't it in the 90s just the other day?)
I relish the crisp, cool days of fall and enjoy working in my yard, but I am averse to the relentless leaf cleanup the season brings. Plus, the many Norway maples on my property hold on to their leaves until the bitter end, which means I’m raking and blowing in the December cold.
Power blowers can make faster work of leaf clearing. Use our leaf blower Ratings and recommendations (available to subscribers), which feature both gas and electric models, to find the right model for your yard.
Don’t leave too many leaves on your yard, especially those that build up around your house foundation. Wait until spring to tackle this chore and you might as well send an open invitation to mice and other vermin attracted to this warm winter home. More than just a nuisance, mice can also be a health hazard to your family as they are also carriers of Lyme disease (transmitted to humans through tick bites) and hantavirus.
Before you head out into the yard to tackle your outdoor chores, read our expert advice below. We can’t guarantee these tips will make the work any easier, but your efforts now will ensure a healthy lawn that looks its best next spring.—Steven H. Saltzman
- Lawn care
- Trees & shrubs
- Flowers & gardens
- Safely applying herbicides
- Using a drop spreader
- Equipment care
JANUARY 2009 UPDATE: We will be testing gutter systems for a report that we expect to publish in the October 2009 issue of Consumer Reports.