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Our new house has about half an acre of land, including a large lawn surrounded by many mature trees.

We're clearly going to need a leaf blower... Even in spring everything is covered in leaves, bud casings, etc. I imagine we need something quite good and as I never used a blower before I'm wondering at what point a garden becomes large enough that a backpack mounted blower really becomes more of a necessity rather than overkill?

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Garden size is only one factor. If you are healthy and want some exercise, use a rake to collect the leaves when you feel you need to collect them. Otherwise, you can always leave them in their place where they will decompose and provide nutrients to your plants. If you are not up to that and plan to do this very frequently or you have too many trees and want to blow the leave from the lawn or hardscape, you may want to get the backpack style leaf blower. So, it really depends on you and what works for me may not work for you.

  • Fair point, if I was healthy and retired this would be a great way to keep fit and busy. I want to minimise the time needed. – Mr. Boy Jun 20 '17 at 23:48
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As someone who filled 78 leaf bags two falls ago, I can offer some suggestions to you from my own experience. I am on a .30 Acre lot with maples and white oaks on and surrounding my property.

A small electric leaf blower will not get the job done. As stormy suggested you need a gas powered blower with a backpack. I borrowed one from a friend and was amazed at the difference. At some point you wont be blowing leaves as much as a pile of leaves, and that is where you will need the power.

However, last year I did not put a single leaf into a bag and it was very refreshing. Get yourself a quality mulching lawnmower and mow those leaves into bits!! There will be a day you mow and the grass will be hidden by all of the fragments of leaves, my front lawn was blood red one day after the maple leaves were all mowed. Anywhere where the bits are too much just rake into little piles and throw them in the compost, beneath bushes, around trees or bury/dump them into a patch of your property that has no grass. I have a small garden and I just dig a couple small holes and dump them in.

If you have kids like me, rake them up a bit, let them splash in the leaves and then just run them over with the mower. You would be amazed how a large pile of leaves can be reduced to a small footprint after a good mow.

In summary a noisy, heavy, gas powered leaf blower is the only way to go with a property full of leaves (get ear protection!!), if you want to blow the leaves. just don't negate alternative methods prior to purchasing one.

  • Very interesting. My only mower is a decent tractor one with a belt driven collector at the rear... But I've no idea if this will collect/mulch leaves? – Mr. Boy Jun 21 '17 at 14:18
  • I do not have a collector on my mower, it does have a mulching blade and no where for the grass/leaves to go. Even if you still plan on getting a leaf blower and putting them in bags, mow them first it will save you a ton of time and cost of the bags. – treeNinja Jun 21 '17 at 18:02
  • Mowing with a bagger will put them in the bags, too. Then you can pile the bags and have leaf mould in a few years. – Ecnerwal Jun 22 '17 at 3:08
  • My ONLY disagreement with treeNinja are mulching mowers. Worthless. Now mowing and bagging is super. I always bag, always. Ecnerwal I agree. I also do weeding quickly out of the plant beds throwing the weeds onto the lawn before mowing. The lawn mower sucks them up and they go into the compost pile. Your riding lawn mower is fine, I have never found a mulching mower that does what it purports. Never. The action of the blades is what sucks up debris off the lawn as well as the clippings. – stormy Jun 22 '17 at 21:12
  • @treeNinja What mower do you use that mulches really really well? Hey I've been out of the biz for awhile. I would use a mulching mower over any mower as long as I could bag all clippings...truly increases the composting! But even big leaves blown onto the mulch of plant beds degrades quite quickly. I like just bagging the debris off the lawn and dumping on my beds. Usually dumping in the compost. Chewed up finer makes a difference in decomposition time. Months not years. Your answer was wonderful!! – stormy Jun 22 '17 at 21:16
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There are two things I wouldn't be without for any size garden; a gas powered blower and a gas powered weed wacker. Even a garden on a patio is easily cleaned up in minutes using a blower. I use it to blow grass off plant beds, blow water off hedges to prune, to clean any and all concrete or gravel surfaces. Heck decks, driveways. I blow the lawn that is wet to raise the mohawks to cut the lawn cleaner. I've tried blowing garages but you have to make sure there are no fire sprinklers 'cause that becomes embarrassing and a big big mess, grins. Seriously, I couldn't live without my blower even if all I had was a 10X10 yard!

Forget removing leaves in fall, I just blow the lawn and hard surfaces off the leaves go onto the plant beds. By spring, those leaves are pretty much gone, decomposed. Those that are left I rake up and put in my compost pile. Otherwise, slugs, snails, pill bugs and earwigs are encouraged.

Stihl, is my favorite blower and weed wacker. Easy to get parts. Pick up extra filters both gas and air. Keep the dirt out of that engine it will last forever. I have a Red Max weed wacker that is at least 40 years old. Not sold anymore. My Stihl blower is 25 years old. I had one of the heavier red Stihl blowers that would have been 30 years old but got stolen. Lock your equipment up. A very big deal to steal and take to the pawn shops for money.

Oh, and purchase GOOD oil, premeasured in those little bottles to make one gallon mixes. Or always always measure and mix like you are doing a science experiment! Mix every single time you pour mixed gas into your machine. Shake shake shake. I even shake the blower while on my back by jumping up and down!

Lastly, never use gasoline with ethanol. I won't use ethanol gas even in my truck. Ugh. Electric blowers are a joke. You will love your blower, I kid you not. It will get you out into the garden an awful lot more as well. Let us know what you get and how it works for you!

  • Ta... Specifically about bigger backpack blowers Vs handheld, would you advise the former then even for a small yard? Or base it on how many minutes it takes... I've no idea if clearing a largish lawn is a few minutes or a couple of hours – Mr. Boy Jun 20 '17 at 21:14
  • If you get a chance at a Stihl shop, ask to be allowed to check the two out. Once you know true power, any thing less is, well, lame? To be able to stand in one place and affect debris a hundred yards away versus chasing bits to get them to go...you won't have any problems paying a little higher price. Totally worth a little extra moola for that kind of power. What are you clearing off the lawn? Leaves? Make sure they are dry of course, but you shouldn't have to move very far at all. You will command huge chunks of area...I've no idea how much debris on how big a largish lawn...bu... – stormy Jun 21 '17 at 2:31
  • ...but time will go by too fast! I made a living with these things and again I couldn't imagine NOT having a great gas blower even for my own non-garden garden. Handheld? You'll be getting lots more exercise. If you chose a hand held (also made for gas) you'll get more exercise. I have a Stihl hand held gas blower and it works fine I guess. Nothing like the back pack, not at all. I hardly ever strap it through both arms...jobs go too fast. Your yard or area doesn't sound like a small yard at all...a half acre? Back pack Stihl gas blower, hands down. – stormy Jun 21 '17 at 2:37

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