Raking is a simple task that is required when leaves start to fall during the fall season. All you need for this is a rake, but many people do not really give attention to the quality of the ones they buy. Owning one is not enough too, you also have to learn how to use rakes to your advantage.
If you don’t know it yet, what we are talking about here is a leaf rake, which is used to remove dead leaves. It is shaped like a fan or a broom with spring tines spread apart. It may look a bit heavy, but the truth is that it is made from lightweight materials.
Rakes come in different types, with each one used for a slightly different purpose. Before we can tell you how to use one, let us first go over the different types of rakes briefly.
Different Types of Rake
Before learning the use of a rake, you also need to understand different types of rakes and the purpose of each. You can find various types of rakes available in the market based on size, material, and use.
There are bamboo, steel, and polypropylene rakes. The steel rake is sturdy, but it is susceptible to rust. Bamboo and polypropylene rakes, on the other hand, don’t have this problem and are very lightweight. They are also less expensive than the steel ones. However, the only downside is that they may break easily as compared to a steel rake.
Choosing the Right Rake
When you are buying a rake, make sure to get one with an ergonomic handle. Depending on the size of your lawn, you might be spending quite some time holding it. And you do not want to strain your hand, do you? Also, it should be lightweight, so there is no strain on the back.
Choose a rake that has a wider end, which also means wider gaps between the tines. This will allow you to rake more leaves with every sweep. Many rakes have expandable height so that the user can adjust it according to their own height. If this is an issue for you, then find one with an adjustable height. Rakes are not expensive, so you can easily buy a high-quality one.
Since rakes are not used throughout the year and are limited only when it is fall season, many people keep using their rakes for years and years. Even quality rakes get rusted over time, especially the strip that ties the tines together. If your rake has been in the house for some year, it may be time to replace it.
A new rake will obviously outperform an old one. Also, the design keeps improving and today we have much lighter and more efficient rakes than we did a few years back.
Knowing When to Rake
A commonly asked question about raking is that when the best time to rake is. Fall season can be longer in some regions, which means leaves may continue to fall for as long as the season is in swing. If you rake just as the leaves start to fall, your effort will go in vain. You will have to rake again fairly sooner.
Therefore, the best time to rake is when the leaves have fallen. You should do this when trees are either completely bare or at least 80 percent bare. It really depends on you and how eager you are to get the job done. If you have time, you can do it early and repeat when more leaves fall.
A good idea would be to mow the first fall of leaves into the lawn. It can be nutritious for the plants and grass, plus you will have a cleaner garden and backyard too. Another thing to keep in mind when raking is to do it on a day that is not windy. On a calm day, you would not have to put it in as much effort. If you live somewhere that is windy all the time, though, we suggest you rake in the direction of the wind.
You need to ensure that the leaves are dry too. If the leaves are wet, raking them can prove to be extra difficult. Also, when you collect them in the bag, they will be heavier as compared to dried leaves.
What to Wear
Raking is not a hazardous task, but it is best to wear the appropriate gear for it. There is a good chance that your hands will get pretty dirty, so you should wear gloves for this reason. It will also prevent any blisters in your palm, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Apart from that, you should definitely wear closed toe shoes. They will give you better support and protect your feet from the tines of the rake. Also, your feet will stay clean and protected from insects. Your boots or sneakers should be good for this.
In case you have allergies, a mask is a must. There will be a lot of dust in the air when you are raking, and you do not want that to activate your allergy. In fact, wearing a mask when doing this chore is a good idea even if you do not have allergies because it will keep your air intake clean.
How to Use Rakes
Using the rake is all about how you position yourself and move the tool. Here is what you need to do:
- Hold the rake with both hands
- Bend your knees a little bit but do not bend your upper body too much
- Move the rake towards yourself and walk backward as you do that
- Move the leaves towards yourself and when the portion is clean move a step back and repeat
- Rake all the leaves towards one side
- It is helpful if you use a tarp or sheet to collect the leaves
- You should lay out the rake where you will end up
- You can also do that later after piling the leave and moving them on to the tarp
- If you do not have a big lawn, you can directly move the leaves into a bag
- Stomp on the pile of leaves or the bag as dry leaves can occupy a lot of space
- Finally, get rid of the leaves in a mulch pile or dispose of it in the trash
- If there are too many leaves, you should get rid of the leaves in two trips
The Final Words
Raking your lawn is necessary to keep it clean and ready for the next season when the trees start blooming again. As long as you know how to use rakes and how to rake the right way, your backyard will be impeccable even in the driest season.