Milwaukee Landscaping Company on Fall Leaf Cleanup and Lawn Care

Almost Everything You Need To Know About Clearing Leaves From Your Yard

Fall lawn care tips from the pros at Brennan Landscaping in WauwatosaAh, fall! The cool, crisp air. The beautiful reds and yellows of leaves turning. And the blisters on your hands bursting open from hours of raking leaves to the curb!

While Brennan Landscaping offers a seasonal yard clean-up service, many homeowners choose to soldier through the annual ritual of leaf raking. It's good exercise, and if you have children at home they usually love jumping into a big pile of leaves.

For those going DIY on leaf clearing, here area few tips to make this fall chore go a little easier, and faster.

1. Wait Until All The Leaves On Your Trees Have Fallen

It may be tempting to start clearing leaves from your lawn early in the season, but if there are still leaves on your trees (or your neighbor’s), you’re just going to have to clear even more leaves later on. Better to wait until all the leaves have fallen.

2. Start Cutting Your Grass Shorter

Shorter grass means fewer leaves getting stuck in your grass. You need to start gradually, though, with the lowest setting reserved for the last mowing of the season (usually late October to November). If you’ve been cutting your lawn to 2.5” to 3”, work your way down to about a 2” cut height for the final mowing. Besides giving blowing leaves less to get caught on, shorter grass also reduces the chance of snow mold fungus in the spring.

3. Use the Right Rake

Lightweight rakes with a wide fan make the job a little easier.If you’re still using one of those old-school metal rakes, it’s time to visit the big box store for a lighter one with a wider fan. Most home centers have rakes as big as 30” wide, as well as narrow rakes for use around shrubs and fences. Look for a no-clog rake so you don’t have to waste time pulling leaves off of the tines every three sweeps.

Got a big yard? Make sure to take a few minutes to stretch before going at it. And when you rake, try to stand upright and switch your lower and upper hands on the handle. To avoid a sore back, bend at your knees instead of stooping over to pick up leaves or move a tarp full of leaves. Also, the bigger your yard the better off you'll be wearing garden gloves to protect against blistered hands.

4. Rake The Leaves Onto A Tarp

If you don't already have a tarp, it's well worth the $10 to $15 they typically cost. Raking leaves onto a large tarp and then pulling the tarp to the front of the yard is much more efficient than raking an enormous pile of leaves across your yard to the front curb.

5. Shovel the Leaves With Cardboard (Yes, really!)

If you need to get the leaves from your front yard to the curb, try shoveling them with a sheet of cardboard. It may sound ridiculous, but it actually works quite well--if your grass is short (which it will be if you paid attention to Tip #2 above). Just angle the sheet of cardboard about 30 to 40 degrees and push across the lawn. The cardboard essentially shovels the leaves to the pile.  

6. Mow Those Leaves Into Submission

Most modern lawnmowers are mulching mowers designed to chop up leaves and grass clippings. Just mow over the leaves and leave them on the grass. You may have to mow over them a couple of times to get them sufficiently chopped up (no larger than ¼” pieces), but it’s a lot easier than raking and the mulched leaves add nutrients to your lawn as they decompose.

When you’re done, your lawn should look like it was raked. If there’s a brown layer of mowed up leaves on top of your grass, you’ll need to rake them up (perfect for mulch around plants!). CAUTION: Mulching isn’t recommended if you have oak leaves in your yard. They decompose too slowly and can lead to mold growth.

Curbside Leaf Pickup in the City of Milwaukee

If you have to bag your leaves, get some leaf mitts!
Miss the deadline for curbside leaf pick up? Get yourself some leaf mitts to make bagging those leaves a little easier. Or let Brennan Landscaping take care of it for you.

Curbside leaf pickup in the City of Milwaukee typically runs from the beginning of October through the last week of November. City Sanitation crews will pick up remaining leaf piles as long as weather permits, but if you don’t make the deadline and your leaves aren’t picked up, you’ll have to bag them and take them to a Drop Off Center for disposal.

What About Those Dead Tomato Plants and Brush Debris?

You can put what’s left of your annuals and vegetable plants on your leaf piles at the curb, but don’t put brush in with leaves. The City offers special brush pickup, which you can arrange by calling (414) 286-CITY (2489). They’ll take branches and woody stalks up to 6” in diameter from April through November. Learn more about the City of Milwaukee’s curbside recycling program online. 

Taking the Easy Way Out: Fall Yard Cleanup Service From Brennan Landscaping

Don’t want to hassle with raking leaves and hauling branches and debris to the curb? Let Brennan Landscaping take care of it. We provide fall leaf cleanup services throughout the greater Milwaukee area, for both homes and businesses. Our crews work quickly and do a thorough job of getting the leaves in your yard to the curb, or if it’s past the pickup dates, to the drop off center.

Whether you do it yourself, hire the neighbor kid to do it, or get us to clear your leaves--GET IT DONE! An excessive amount of leaves (more than about 15% coverage) left on the lawn over winter promotes mold diseases, invites turf damage from mice and moles, and will smother your grass if not removed entirely early in the spring.

Other Fall Yard Services Offered by Brennan Landscaping:

Landscaping professionals use plug aerators to maximize the benefits of lawn aeration.

Lawn Aeration

Aeration removes ‘plugs’ of soil about a half-inch thick and 3 to 4 inches long from your soil. This allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots of your grass. In our climate zone, fall is a good time to aerate the lawn.

For a healthy lawn in the spring, fertilize in the fall.

Lawn Fertilizing

Applying fertilizer in the fall helps your lawn maintain a healthy root system through the winter so it has a good foundation for the spring growing season. Another application in the spring and your yard will thrive all summer.


Need help this fall with leaves or lawn care? Contact our Milwaukee landscaping company now for a free estimate.

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