How to Get Leaves Out of Mulch The Easy Way

Every gardening expert will agree that mulching your soil is one of the best ways to replenish its lost nutrients and create a thriving garden. However, since your garden is out in a natural setting, you also have to deal with many natural factors that might create obstacles to keeping a picture-perfect garden.

One of those obstacles is dead leaves. The abundance of scattered brown leaves during fall may be an enchanting sight but exhausting to clean up, especially from mulch or flower beds.

Today, we will share a few simple tricks on how to get leaves out of mulch and create a stunning garden with no professional help.

How to Get Leaves Out of Mulch

Tree Mulch Cleaning

Here are a few simple tricks to separate the fallen leaves from organic mulch:

1. Pick With Your Hands

If you have a small garden, you can simply remove the leaves using your bare hands without any fancy equipment. This technique also works when you have newly planted seeds, and the seedlings are way too delicate for raking or leaf blowers.

This process is certainly time-consuming but is also one of the most effective ways to remove leaves from the mulch without harming your plants in the process. Just make sure to wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands before getting started. Other inventions you might like are large leaf scoops that can pick up leaves as well as other debris with ease.

2. Rake Lightly

If you are dealing with a bigger garden and meticulously picking out each leaf does not work for you, try light raking. Make sure you do not use the standard garden rake and instead use one that is a little more narrow and less harsh. You should also be as gentle as possible when you rake the mulch.

Some wet leaves might stick to the mulch refusing to leave. In a situation like this, exerting extra force will only damage your mulch. Instead, try to rake all the loose leaves first and then remove the ones stuck to the soil by hand.

For cleaning out leaves, we recommend using adjustable rakes that can be narrowed down when needed. Also, make sure the tines of the rake are flexible and soft so that you do not accidentally scrape off chunks of mulch when cleaning.

3. Use a Leaf Blower

If your plants are old enough to bear the force of a leaf blower, you can get the job done much faster. For this technique, make sure your plants have adequate space between them so that the leaves do not stick to their stems. Having enough space between each plant will also protect them from damage in case any one of them accidentally snaps.

Remember, this is an extremely delicate operation, and you only want to use minimum power. Try to collect the leaves between the rows or in a corner. Otherwise, they might stick to your plants and add to your work.

Once you are done with the loose leaves, it’s time to get back to the manual method again and pick up the remaining wet leaf bits with your hands.

READ MORE: What Are The Different Types of Leaf Blower?

4. Leaf Vacuum

A lot of leaf blowers come with an inbuilt vacuum mode which is often weaker than the blower mode. A leaf vacuum is perfect for delicate work like getting dry, fallen leaves out of the mulch. Because it is less harsh than the blower, a vacuum will get the job done without displacing too much of the mulch in the process.

To make things even easier, you can also use attachments like an detachable bag with your leaf vacuum so that the vacuumed leaves go directly in it. This saves you the trouble of having to remove the leaves that blow back into the mulch.

How to Prevent Leaves from Disrupting Your Mulch

Getting leaves out of the mulch isn’t a difficult task. But why waste your time cleaning up the mess when you can easily prevent it from ever happening again!

The easiest way to keep leaves away from your mulch is by installing a leaf barrier. Simply lay down a layer of landscape fabric over your mulch (remember to cut holes to make space for your plants) and let the leaves fall on it. After a while, you can gather up the fabric and dispose of all the leaves at once.

This is the safest method for protecting your mulch from leaves. Unlike raking leaf blowers and vacuuming, this technique will keep the mulch 100% intact.

Make sure to add a few weights on the edges of the fabric – otherwise it might not stay in place for a long time.

Do You Even Need to Get Leaves Out of the Mulch?

Mulch in hand

Leaves are often used in compost and mulch. So it’s unlikely to be harmful to your plants or the mulch. This might lead you to wonder if you need to get rid of leaves at all. The answer actually depends on your personal preferences.

Leaves alone are not a hazard to your plants. But if you have heaps of dry leaves lying around your plants, it can become a massive fire hazard. In this case, we highly recommend removing them as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if it’s just a small pile of leaves lying here and there, you might not need to remove them, especially if you do not mind them interrupting the seamless view of your garden.

Also, after fall comes winter, and many areas receive such heavy snowfall that the gardens are always hidden under layers of snow. Again, you do not need to worry about removing the leaves if they will ultimately be covered by snow.

Bottom Line

We hope you now have the answer to: how to get leaves out of mulch. A garden requires never-ending care, especially during the fall season when the trees are continually shedding their leaves. In order to keep your garden clean and prevent fallen leaves from damaging your fresh mulch, all you will need is a little effort and our four secret garden cleaning hacks. And the best part is that these leaves can in turn be used to make your own DIY compost pile to further enrich the soil in your garden!

Using a Leaf Shredder after the Leaves are Picked Up

Leaf Blower vs Rake – Which One Do You Use?

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