Leaves In Your Mulch? Here Are 5 Ways To Remove Them.

Fallen leaves in your mulch are a common problem that many gardeners face.

Not only can leaves take away the aesthetic appeal of mulch, but they can also reduce the effectiveness of mulch as well.

So how do we go about removing those pesky leaves?

And to add to this, how do we remove those leaves without disrupting your carefully laid mulch and precious garden?

Before we go through our technique and tips, you may be wondering why remove leaves in the first place.

Let’s explain.

Why You Want To Remove Those Leaves

Whilst falling leaves are a natural part of most gardens, too much of anything can be a bad thing.

As leaves accumulate on your mulch, they can create a barrier. This prevents vital moisture and airflow from reaching your mulch and seeping into the soil beneath. It can even block sunlight. On top of this, when it rains, water will settle on the leaves.

This additional moisture retention, low airflow, and lack of sunlight lead to one thing – a damp and dark environment for mold and mildew to thrive. This can lead to the growth and spread of plant diseases, resulting in root rot and plant death.

Another thing to look out for are leaves that begin accumulating next to trees and stems of plants. This can also cause root rot and decay.

Leaves also make a great hiding area for pests like rodents and even snakes.

All of these factors can spell disaster for your garden.

As a last point, many gardeners simply choose to remove leaves because it’s an eyesore and ruins the aesthetics of their beautiful mulched garden.

Not all is bad though.

For the most part, leaves won’t do too much damage to your mulching efforts. After all, they can become an organic part of your mulch and add to the decomposition process. It’s when you have too many leaves (say about 3″ thick or more) that problems can start occurring.

If you’ve decided that you want to remove leaves from your mulch, here are 5 ways to do so.

5 Ways To Remove Leaves From Mulch

5 Ways To Remove Leaves From Mulch

When doing any of these methods, it’s best to collect the leaves in a pile. Then you can either spread them on your lawn to be shredded with a lawn mower or mulch mower. You can also opt to use the leaves for compost or mulch in the future.

1. Raking

This is a pretty straightforward one, but using a rake is a great way of removing leaves from your mulch.

Use gentle strokes and ideally a rake with flexible tines that will move the leaves without disrupting the mulch. You can even opt to purchase a collapsable rake that allows you to rake tighter spaces (like between plants).

Here’s a tip. Make sure you uncover any plants before raking as you don’t want to accidentally uproot them.

2. Use Your Hands

This method is even more straightforward than the one we mentioned above.

Put some gloves on and manually remove the leaves by hand. You can use a smaller hand rake to help you out, and a kneeling pad to protect your knees.

To make collection easier, bring a bag with you so you can collect the leaves as you go.

Removing leaves by hand is a good option for delicate areas of your garden, like around small shrubs and flowers. Then you can go back to raking to finish the job.

3. Leaf Blower

A leaf blower is a quick and less manual way of removing leaves. However; it poses its own challenges.

Don’t face the blower directly at the leaves as this can displace the mulch and soil. Instead, tilt it at an angle so you can move air over the surface of the mulch and gently push the leaves away. To be on the safe side, keep your leaf blower on the lowest level possible.

Once this is done, pick up any leftover leaves with your hands or a rake.

4. Leaf Vacuum

A leaf vacuum is another automated way of removing leaves. Instead of blowing leaves off the mulch, a leaf vacuum sucks them up.

Keep the vacuum on the lowest level of suction to avoid picking up mulch, small plants, and rocks.

Tips when using a leaf vacuum or blower:

  • It’s best to use a leaf blower or vacuum when you have many leaves to remove. They are a lot quicker than manual methods but the downside is you need to be more careful when using them.
  • It’s also better to use a leaf blower/vacuum when the leaves are dry. This makes the leaves easier to blow away. In the case of a vacuum, dry leaves are easier to suck up than wet leaves which have matted together. If it’s recently rained, let the leaves dry for a few days before removing them.

5. Leaf Barrier

Leaves tend to fall around specific times of the year – primarily around fall time.

So before this happens, you can take preemptive action to prevent the leaves from getting into your mulch.

Lay landscape fabric on top of your mulch before the leaves start falling. Once they all have fallen, you can remove the leaves by gathering up the landscape fabric.

Some other gardeners use window screen material. You can hold this down with rocks. As the leaves accumulate, you can simply use a blower or rake to remove them without disrupting your mulch.

Wondering what to do after you’ve removed the leaves? Read this article for turning your fallen leaves into mulch!

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