During the cool season, most of us have to deal with all the leaves left on the lawn by trees that have shed them while awaiting their new spring apparel. The good news is that this allows more sunshine and warmth to hit the house: The bad news is that somebody has to pick up the leaves both for aesthetic and safety reasons. This is when lawn sweepers and vacuums come in handy.
Sometimes it seems that the mantle of leaves gets deeper and wider when you are raking rather than smaller. Long before you are able to get them all into the many piles that you will have to bag, your arm is likely to start barking at you. You don’t have to go through all that with a lawn sweeper.
These mechanical gardening tools have a rotating brush that sweeps up debris and deposits it in a bag or a hopper. You can later dispose of it however you please, but the smartest thing to do is chop up the leaves and small debris and place in a compost bin or compost pile so you can make organic fertilizer out of it. This is a great way to recycle nature while saving time and money.
Lawn sweepers come in three versions. One is the push type, which is powered manually. When you push it, the wheels turn a gear that turns the sweeper, and it pushes the grass clippings, leaves or other waste into a bag or a hopper. Another is the tow kind. You attach it to the back of a riding mower and tow it behind to pick up the clippings as you mow.
The third kind is the powered version. It uses electricity or gasoline to operate the motor for the sweeping mechanism. Normally, you will still push the unit, but the blade is not powered by pushing the sweeper. For environmental reasons, some owners prefer the electric or the push or pull types to the gasoline kind.
Lawn sweepers are handy for larger yards. They save time when the grass catcher on a mower may require emptying several times throughout the mowing session. They are handier than leaf blowers for cleaning up the yard because; with a blower you still have to pick up the leaves eventually. A sweeper does that for you.
For a normal sized yard, small model lawn sweepers are quite inexpensive at under $100. For larger lawns, though, large sweepers can cost from a few hundred dollars to over one thousand. Most people would not need one that large unless they lived on an acre or more. You can find lawn sweepers at Sears, Northern Tool, and Blain’s Farm and Fleet. Popular brands include Agri-Fab, Craftsman, Ohio Steel and Yardwise.
For big jobs, consider a lawn vacuum. There is a difference between vacuum and a sweeper. The vacuum does the same job, but it is very large and usually has a high-powered motor – even up to 10 horsepower. The hopper in one this large may hold over 400 gallons of debris. A good example of this is the Cyclone Rake Z-10. These machines are loud and produce air pollution, so use them for only the biggest of jobs if you want to a true steward of our planet!
Trac Vac and Trilo (pictured at left) are other companies that makes large lawn vacuums and sweepers. In fact, it makes vacuums so large that they use 16 horsepower engines that send clippings and debris into large trailers. If you own a campground, a golf course or a park, this would come in very handy.
As easy as it is to keep up with the yard with lawn sweepers and lawn vacuums, there is no longer any reason or excuse to let those leaves pile up and become a fire hazard. With forest fires popping up across the country the responsible and green thing to do with leaves and yard waste is to turn them into compost in your own yard, or take them to your towns compost pile. Recycling has never been so fun!