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What are Leaf Vacuums?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Leaf vacuums are products designed to help with yard work, an especially onerous task in areas of the world where trees lose their leaves. Leaf vacuums have a vacuum chamber and hoses, and can be pushed across the lawn much like a vacuum cleaner inside a home. As the leaf vacuum moves across the lawn, the suction pulls up leaves and small lawn debris. Some leaf vacuums also come with a chipping attachment to shred small branches.

Leaf vacuums are related to yard blowers, which are also designed to assist with leaf cleanup. However, a yard blower will leave a large pile of leaves which must be mulched, raked, or hauled away. This yard work can be very tiring, especially if the yard is bordered by a large number of trees, necessitating cleanup continuously for several weeks. Leaf vacuums collect the leaves in a central chamber which can be tossed into a green waste bin or set aside for composting into leaf mold.

Basic leaf vacuums usually have a large vacuum nozzle which is designed to cover a big area of the lawn, up to approximately two feet (60 centimeters). Another nozzle is on a flexible length of hose, and is aimed at reaching difficult areas and cleaning up under and around plants. The central chamber will need to be emptied periodically, especially for a large lawn, but this design is usually relatively compact and useful for lawn maintenance in spring or fall.

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For gardeners who do not already have a wood chipper, a leaf vacuum with a chipping option can be a good choice. Although it will not handle large branches, it can take care of small lawn debris and turn it into useful material for mulching, composting, or spreading on beds to keep weeds down. Leaf vacuums with a chipper attachment also reduce the fear of damaging the equipment with larger lawn debris.

Leaf vacuums can be great labor saving devices, when used safely and properly. As with any type of heavy equipment, be careful to follow the manufacturer's directions when using the device. Remember to use basic safety precautions, especially around a chipper, including securing loose hair and garments. Keep the machine in good condition, using the correct fuel and making sure that all moving parts are kept lubricated and clean. Ear protection is also advised for extended use, to prevent hearing damage or loss.

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