It’s estimated that one fully-grown oak has about 200,000 leaves. When those leaves are dry, they’d weigh around 555.5 pounds. That’s just one tree. If you have 10 oaks in your yard, you’d be raking and moving about 5,555 pounds or over 2 tons. A maple has approximately half that, but that’s still a lot of trees.
That does assume perfect weather conditions with the tree never having lost any leaves over the summer. But, even if there is wind and rain, insect damage, and stress from a lack of rain, a fully-grown tree is likely to have most of its leaves.
You’re also not always going to have fully-grown trees in your yard. Therefore, the weight may be a lot lower. But, any job raking leaves and clearing yard waste goes faster when you incorporate tarps in the clean-up process. Raking and moving piles of leaves, branches, weeds, and dying garden plants is a lot of work. Make it easier for yourself by investing in leaf tarps and yard waste tarps.
Do You Really Need to Rake Leaves and Clean-Up the Yard?
As fall arrives and leaves burst into bright foliage, it’s only a matter of time before the trees are bare and your yard needs raking. Why rake up all the leaves? When you let the leaves fall and stay on the grass, it increases the risk of diseases damaging your trees and plants. It can also benefit your grass by removing leaves that kill off the grass trapped below.
Are you still not convinced? Here’s one of the best reasons of all. Ticks thrive in fallen leaves. It provides the bedding they require to survive a cold, icy winter. When you let fallen leaves stay on the ground, you’re providing ticks with the layers of moisture and bedding they need. Do you want to start spring dealing with ticks that are coming out of hibernation?
It’s also essential to clean out the garden of dead plants, weeds, and rotting vegetables. By removing them, you avoid decomposing plants and fruits from developing diseases that can spread to next year’s crops.
How To Use a Tarp For Yard Clean-Up
Whether you’re using a leaf blower or a rake, a tarp makes yard work so much easier to manage. Use tent stakes to secure the tarp to the ground. Blow or rake the leaves onto the tarp. When it’s full, thread rope through the corners and pull the cord tight to create a sack that you can carry to your compost pile. If you’re taking your leaves to a local compost facility, you can load the tarp into your truck and keep your truck bed clean.
If you’re bagging leaves to have your curbside hauler pick them up, a tarp makes that easy, too. With the help of another person, roll the tarp in half so that it forms a funnel. Pour the leaves from the tarp into your yard waste bags.
Pruning trees of dead branches is another fall yard chore to check off your list. At the same time, look around your home for any tree limbs too close to your home. If the branch falls off, would it damage your roof, deck, or porch? Are any too close to windows? Is a car parked in the driveway at risk? If so, it’s time to remove problematic branches before winter’s ice and snow arrive.
When you’re pruning dead branches or branches that could damage your home’s roof, additions, windows, or cars, have a tarp laid out. Place the branches on a tarp to keep the lawn from having broken branches and twigs getting into the grass, where they become a hazard when mowing. If you’ve rented a wood chipper to process the branches, place the tarp where the wood chips come out for quick and easy clean-up.
If you’re pruning bushes and trees to remove crowded branches and promote growth, it’s best to wait until the tree is dormant. Why? Trees are trying to enter dormancy in the fall, and if you prune live branches, the tree can be conflicted with growth and dormancy at the same time. Wait until the snow melts in early spring if you’re trying to promote growth.
What Are the Best Tarps for Raking Leaves and Cleaning Your Yard in the Fall?
Poly tarps are also water-resistant, so it won’t matter if the leaves are wet from the morning dew. If you worry about mold or mildew growth, poly tarps also help eliminate that issue by resisting growth. Best of all, they weigh less than many other tarps. The tarp’s weight isn’t going to be too heavy to move once it has leaves and any other yard waste sitting on top of it. What are your poly tarp options?
Blue Poly Tarps
Blue poly tarps are lightweight at three ounces per square yard and 4 mils thick. They’re not heavy at all, making them simple to move. This is why they’re a popular choice for cleaning up raked leaves and pine needles each fall. They’re also the best tarp for catching wood chips if you’re shredding branches that you’re removing from trees.
With roped hem grommets spaced about every 36 inches, you’ll find it’s easy to thread some rope to help secure the tarp into a sack to carry or drag leaves to your compost pile or onto your truck to bring to a local recycling/compost center. Purchase these tarps in sizes starting at 5 x 7 feet and going up to 60 x 120 feet.
Heavy-Duty Poly Tarps
While blue poly tarps are excellent tarps for raked leaves, they may not be your best choice if your yard clean-up involves moving branches you’ve trimmed while pruning trees. For that, we recommend a heavy-duty poly tarp.
Green Silver heavy-duty poly tarps offer a little more strength than a blue poly tarp. If you’re piling on branches, these tarps are ideal. They’re still lightweight, but they’re a little thicker (8 mils) and have a 12 x 12 weave. Plus, the grommets are spaced every 18 inches allowing for more support when you’re using a rope to drag or carry the tarp where it needs to go. You can buy Green Silver heavy-duty poly tarps in sizes ranging from 8 x 10 feet to 30 x 50 feet.
Whichever of these tarps best fits your needs; you’ll have it for years if you use care when storing it. Rinse off debris with your hose when you’re done. Allow the tarp to dry in the sun. Once it’s dry, fold it, store it in a mouse-proof lidded container, and tuck it on a shelf in your shed or garage until next year.
Fall Is the Ideal Time to Save Money On Your Tarp for Yard Chores
Be careful purchasing the thin tarps you find in many discount stores, as they’re not always built to last. It’s worth it to choose tarps made in the USA and have a durable tarp that will be around for several years.
Chicago Canvas & Supply offers a wide range of the best tarps for leaves and yard clean-up. Many of our top choices for outdoor yard work are on sale. Spend as little as $2 to $5 on a blue poly tarp that will be an excellent addition to your fall clean-up projects. If you need a stronger tarp, our smallest green silver tarp is also on sale now!