What is best for leaf pickup?

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Jan 22, 2003
Waldorf, Maryland
I have a riding lawn mower and usually just mulch leaves with it. But I was wondering, what is best for leaf pickup? Should I get a pull behind mechanical lawn sweeper or a powered walk-behind vacuum/mulcher? OR just keep using riding lawn mower to mulch?
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I've been blowing most of the leaves to the roadside with a leafblower, and then running the lawnmower, bagging the rest. It's not particularly time efficient, but it's much less annoying than emptying the bag every half pass on a yard this size. I would have to empty it a total of 100 times at least between the front and back yard.
Unless you have so many leaves that it chokes the lawn, I'd just run the mower over to chop the leaves and leave it all there. Leaves are very beneficial as compost/mulch because trees go deep to bring up valuable trace elements. I just did this yesterday. As long as you can still see lawn there, it's ok, and actually better for your lawn.
When I moved into my present house in 2003, I took on a leaf problem of much larger scale than I had dealt with before. 36 old-growth trees on 2 acres. The first year, I tried raking and bagging. Then I tried blow, rake, and burn-in-place. Then I bought a mechanical lawn sweeper. None of these were acceptable, and for the first 5 years, I only got rid of my leaves once before the snow came. The rest of the time, the leaves ended up laying on the lawn under 18+" of snow pack until April, by which time, the grass was dead under the matted leaves. Then I started mulching the leaves with my riding mower, and I've never looked back. I watch the accumulation of leaves under a tree, and when there is a layer that hides the grass, I mow around the tree in a spiral pattern to mulch the leaves in that area only. When a tree has really started to drop its leaves, I get out every couple of days, whether they are wet or dry. This is my fourth year of doing this, and my lawn has never looked better. My neighbors may think I'm crazy mowing circles in my lawn in a heavy coat, but at least I'm not breaking my back raking leaves all the time.
My yard is tiny so I could pick them up one at a time and still only take a day so I use a poulan leaf blower/vacuum. it is a small 2-stroke blower that can be made to suck stuff up and throw it into a bag (mulched). I keep it in the vacuum mode cause i have a nice stihl blower. The poulan works great for me and it will suck up anything and mulches sticks and leafs pretty fine. When the bag is full i just open it and dump into the garden waste bin. But for you guys I saw a commercial the other day for a vacuum device that attaches to your mower deck and has a tube that launches the debris into a pull behind bag. It looked pretty cool and the quality of the job looked perfect.
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