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» Articles » Tools & Equipment » Leaf Blowers: Which One Is Right For You?

Leaf Blowers: Which One Is Right For You?

by Douglas L. Bishop on 2/21/2009 11:31


I love trees; you love trees; almost every lover of gardens loves trees. What we don’t like so much is dealing with the millions of leaves that fall from deciduous trees at the end of the growing season.

Quite often, the fallen leaves can be handled by mulching them with your lawnmower, thus adding their valuable nutrients back into the soil.

But even then, your lawnmower can’t get to every single leaf that falls; what about those that land in your landscaped areas, flower beds, on the deck, or on the driveway and walkway?

What’s the quickest and easiest way to get the stragglers out onto the open lawn surface so the mower can easily run over them and mulch them up?

You could use a leaf rake to reach back under every shrub and pull the dried leaves out, but this is tedious, time-consuming hand labor and not a very enjoyable task, especially if you’re working around prickly hollies or other plants that are irritating to the touch.

Enter the leaf blower! A handy-dandy dream of a gardening gadget that produces a huffing-puffing, swirling-whirling, dervish of hurricane force winds that you, my gardening friend, control with the trigger-happy touch of your index finger on the throttle, and direct by pointing the star-wars-like black plastic tube in the direction you want your renegade leaves to march!

Leaf blowers (as is the case with so many other modern gardening tools) come in a variety of sizes and power source components. And, depending on your needs and expectations of use for your power blower, one size definitely does not fit all.

From small hand-held electric blowers designed primarily for the home gardener needing only light-duty cleanup in small areas, to the larger backpack blowers with heavy-duty gasoline engines used extensively by professional landscapers entrusted with the maintenance of larger areas—hey, you need ‘em, we got ‘em!

In between the lightweight electric blower and the heavyweight gasoline engine backpack blower, there exists a medium-weight, hand-held, gasoline-engine-powered version that will suit the needs of the average suburban homeowner. These models are easy to carry around and maneuver with just one hand, lacking the encumbrance of the long electric extension cord and the heavy bulkiness of the backpack model.

If you are that typical homeowner/gardener, this is the kind of leaf blower you should get.

And, even though the nomenclature most often used to identify this piece of equipment is, indeed, “leaf blower,” once you commit to ownership of such a device, you will find other useful applications for this tool.

You’ll discover that using your power blower is the quick and easy way to keep the floor of your garage clean--moving dirt, grit, dust, leaves, and other debris outside without having to use a push broom.

Blow grass clippings from your walkway and driveway after you finish mowing; blow clippings and dust from the mower itself, too.

Got a pick-up truck? Blow the remnants of mulch, topsoil, or other garden clippings and leftovers from the bed of your truck after you’ve finished your run from the garden center or completed your garden-related chores.

One really great time saving and labor saving use for your blower is in removing leaves from your gutters. If the slope of your roof is gentle enough so that you can get up there and move about on the roof without danger of slipping off, just take your blower up there and walk along the edge of the roofline, blowing the accumulated leaves from the gutters as you go.

If your roof is too steep for this method, some leaf blowers feature an optional attachment (basically a longer tube with a curved end) that allows you to blow leaves from the gutters while you remain safely on the ground. If you use this method, be sure to wear a hat and protective eyewear.

After the gutters are cleaned and the leaves are on the ground, blow them away from the house onto a grassy area and mulch them up with your mower!

Your power blower is also great for quickly cleaning leaves and twigs off the surface of your deck or patio. You’ll find more uses for this great tool in the daily maintenance of your home, garden, and landscape.

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