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Thursday, December 4, 2014

TruGreen’s Lawn Care Tips for Winter

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for TruGreen. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
One of the reasons we like New England is for the seasons. While that means we have to deal with the snow of winter, it is the fall weather we love most. With the end of fall, though, there is lots to do to properly prepare the grounds for the winter. Yes, besides shoveling, there isn't much to do for the winter, but half our lot is woods which means lots of leaves in the fall.

How do you prepare your yard for the winter where you are? Do you even need to? My cousins in Florida have it easy and do practically nothing extra. The biggest thing for us is the raking, or at least the removal of the leaves, which may or may not involve raking. Why do you rake? If you don't, the grass will get smothered. Unless you're trying to create a planting bed, you really don't want to totally smother the lawn. If you leave all the leaves over the grass, that's exactly what would happen. Especially after the snow arrives and piles on top. It can also lead to insect problems as it creates a perfect area for them to survive over the cold winter.
For us, I tried something new this year. On Craigslist, I found a Leaf Eater like the one above and traded for it for about the equivalent of $20, and a couple hours to fetch. You basically throw a bunch of leaves in it, turn it on and it mulches the leaves down to next to nothing. Imagine taking the equivalent of ten bags of leaves and converting that into at most one, and lots of little pieces at that. I had two problems with this approach though. First, you can only shove so much leaves through the thing at a time. The holding bucket was small. But, more importantly, I misplaced the replacement cords that cut down the leaves. There is a part inside that spins to chop the leaves, like in a weed wacker. As part of the trade, I got a couple dozen replacement cords. For the life of me, I couldn't find them, which effectively put the machine out of commission until I found (or bought) more cords. Being my stubborn self, I refused to buy more since I knew they were somewhere around the house. I eventually did find them, but not until after I was totally done dealing with the leaves.
The second thing we did was just rake, but rake them onto a tarp, then drag the tarp to where they can be dumped off. Our son liked this most as it gave him a place to jump into. The edges of our woods quickly filled with leaves as you couldn't exactly drag them too deep into the woods. Growing up, my parents never told me about the tarp trick. It definitely makes things easier, as even if you don't have woods, it is much easier to bag from the tarp than from loose leaves around the yard.

The third thing I did was break out the lawn mower. This had the same effect as the mulching machine but without the input size limitation. The only issue here was we have a battery powered mower so had to recharge it every so often. This forced me to take breaks but just slowed things down overall. The extra effect of the lawn mower is it did one last cut of the lawn for the fall.

I did need to make a second pass over the backyard as the leaves kept coming.

We were also loaned a leaf blower from my in-laws but for some reason I didn't even plug it in. I may still use it to clear out the last bunches of leaves that made their way into the bushes. I always found these to be loud and annoying. Our lawn mower is battery powered so is relatively quiet, so wasn't bad for extended periods.

Dealing with leaves wasn't the only way we prepared our lawn for the winter. To read up on more that you can do, check out the infographic below put together from TruGreen.


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