For a couple of years I hired a “green” landscaping company to do my spring cleanup, because: 1) spring is a busy season and it was hard to make the time; and 2) they promised to mulch all my leaves and garden debris. Well, they lied. What they meant was that they would cart off all my leaves etc. and then give me the option of paying them to bring it back.
So I’ve gone back to doing spring cleanup myself. With some of the money I saved, I bought myself a Ryobi hand-held electric (cordless) leaf mulcher. Actually, I learned that such a thing existed from Cortney who writes the blog Box and Bay.
The mulcher arrived on Thursday and this weekend I was able to take it out for a spin. So here are a few observations.
First of all, THIS IS NOT A LEAF BLOWER. I hate leaf blowers! Instead of blowing leaves, it vacuums them in, shreds them, and deposits them in a canvass bag. It’s pretty quiet compared to a leaf blower – makes about as much noise as a vacuum cleaner you’d use indoors.
While it’s got a decent amount of power, you shouldn’t just shove it into a giant pile of leaves and garden debris. This will result in a clogged vacuum. This I learned the hard way. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to unclog. If you’re trying to deal with a huge quantity of leaves (especially densely packed maple leaves), as I was this weekend, just go slow.
On the other hand, if you’ve just got a couple of inches of leaves spread out on the lawn, use it like a vacuum cleaner on a dirty carpet, and it works great.
The mulcher stops working automatically once the canvas bag is full of leaf mulch. I’ve got to say, it was lovely mulch – soft and fluffy. I just reapplied it to the areas where I had raked off the leaves.
One more thing: though this mulcher comes with a pair of wheels to support the tube, it is not super light. It’s 13 lb. before the canvas bag starts to fill with mulch. Once full, the whole thing weighs much more, so your arms will get a moderate workout.
Also, the amount you can get done is limited by the need to recharge the battery (after 1-2 hours as far as I could tell), and empty out the leaf mulch. Because of this, this leaf mulcher is appropriate for a suburban yard but probably not for someone with acres of garden.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with my leaf mulcher, and it was a real pleasure to get started with spring cleanup this weekend. Much more on garden cleanup to come in future posts.