Leaf Sweeper Basics

Contributed By: BAG Editors

A leaf sweeper is one of the best pieces of garden equipment you can invest in to help achieve a beautiful lawn. It keeps your yard from getting buried under last season’s fallen debris or summer’s grass trimmings. Keeping your lawn’s appearance manicured and professionally maintained is effortless with the help of leaf sweepers.

The Basics

The leaf sweeper, or lawn sweeper as it is also known, is a mechanical implement used to collect debris such as fallen leaves, grass clippings or any litter from paved or level surfaces like a lawn. It is operated by a revolving mechanism that picks up the leaves or other debris and places it into a container for later discard.

Lawn leaf sweepers have two main types – manual or hand powered, and motorized. The motorized models can be further classified into a push or rolling leaf sweeper or a tow behind leaf sweeper. They can also be bought with a built-in shredder attached. Determining the best choice for you will depend on your needs.

Push leaf sweepers or hand-powered leaf sweepers use gears for the brush mechanism to rotate picking up debris and transferring it into an attached bag called a hopper. The height of the rollers can be adjusted so they can be used on different surfaces, including non-grassy areas such as patio slabs or stone walkways.

Powered lawn sweepers are similar to push lawn sweepers, except that they use gasoline, oil or electricity to operate the brush mechanism. These are ideal to use for larger lawns and gardens. The height of their rollers can also be modified. One disadvantage of powered lawn sweepers is the noise they generate.

A powered leaf collector with a shredder allows the user to produce mulch with the leaves that it collects. The shredder, however, limits it use on certain surfaces. Towed lawn sweepers operate very much like the others, but instead of being pushed, they need a small vehicle, such as a garden tractor, lawnmower or ATV to lug it around. The brush heights may be modified as well so it can be used on different surfaces.

Making the Decision to Buy

Spending money on a leaf lawn sweeper takes some consideration. In addition to what they cost, you also need to think about storage. Tow lawn sweepers use up a large space to store them. Because they are equipped with a large hamper or hopper, it is not simple to stow them away. Hand powered lawn sweepers, on the other hand, take up less space to store compared with towed sweepers. They are smaller and some can even be folded. Some are even light enough to hang on the wall right next to your garden tool rack.

Another benefit to choosing manual leaf sweepers over powered sweepers is that since they require no power, they are less harmful to the environment.

The size of your yard and how much debris you typically need to clean up will also help you figure out which is the best lawn sweeper to buy to meet your needs.  Hopper size will also be determined by these factors.

Where you buy a lawn sweeper should also be considered. Look for a reputable supplier and look for manufacturers that offer good warranties. Warranties are important in case a problem arises. Availability of parts should also be considered. It’s also a good idea to check up front to see if finding leaf sweeper replacement parts is easy for the particular model you are considering.  You don’t want to buy a model that you will later find out is near impossible to find parts for, leaving you stuck to buy a whole new apparatus down the road.

In addition to all of these considerations, lawn sweeper prices are another important factor to think about. The quality, type and model of your sweeper will depend on the money you are willing to spend.

Leaf Sweeper Maintenance

Different types of lawn and leaf sweepers have their own advantages and disadvantages, but one thing they have in common is their need for proper maintenance. Caring for your sweeper ensures that they deliver the best performance. Apart from this, keeping them well-maintained helps ensure that they last for a very long time.

Maintenance of leaf sweepers is as simple as following the directions in the User’s Manual which shows you how the machine is operated, cleaned and replaced with parts. Below are general instructions on cleaning your leaf sweeper, which is generally common to all models:

  • Before every use, inspect the overall condition of the sweeper. Check for damage, loose screws, misalignment, sticks or breaks in moving parts.
  • Oil the brush shaft bearings twice a year.
  • Clean the hopper. Dispose of everything in it after each use. Use a dry rag to clean the insides.
  • Avoid using it on wet leaves. If this happens, make sure to clean and wipe after use.
  • Clean the wheels regularly. Apply an even coat of light grease after. Make sure not to overtighten the wheel bolt and nut.
  • Clean the brushes. Remove the hopper first then wipe the brushes.
  • Wipe the sweeper down after every use. Just take a rag and wipe it off.
  • Store the leaf sweeper properly after use.

Proper Handling

It is also important to follow safety precautions for the health and safety of the user. Below is a list of general advice to follow:

  • Do not use leaf or lawn sweepers in extremely wet places.
  • Keep children away.
  • Use only identical replacement parts.
  • Do not use a leaf sweeper for any job except that for which it is intended.
  • Do not force the sweeper.
  • Store when not in use.
  • Do not perform any maintenance or make repairs while the sweeper is moving.

Green Living with Leaf Sweepers

One great benefit in using a leaf sweeper is its help in protecting the environment, especially those not powered by gas or oil. They do not emit fumes, and unlike leaf blowers or leaf vacuums, they do not add to carbon emissions, which increase the health risk for respiratory diseases.

Below are more environmental benefits of leaf sweepers:

  • Harvests weed seeds and reduce their growth, which in turn reduces the need for a chemical weed control service.
  • Reduces the aggravation of allergy and hay fever because of grass clippings.
  • Reduces health problems such as asthma and hay fever because of grass, tree and weed pollen.
  • Reduces the risk of fires because of debris.
  • Helps eliminate potential breeding grounds for insects like flies.
  • Some debris can become potential sources of alternative fuel. Grass, for example, is now being converted into bio crude oil.

Collected debris can also be made into mulch or compost. Compost is any organic matter that has been decayed for use of aiding the growth of plants and trees in particular. Mulch on the other hand is used to suppress growth, weeds specifically, and should not have undergone decomposition.

To make compost, collect shredded leaves and place them in a compost bin. Mix and water the ingredients. Turn the mixture over and swap the layers to ensure that decomposition becomes even. Once decomposed thoroughly, transfer it to another container.

To make mulch, just shred leaves and they are ready to use. Unlike compost, you do not need to do any treatments on it once placed in a bin.

Keeping your backyard and garden clean and your lawn looking perfectly manicured takes a lot of effort and time, and buying a leaf sweeper will probably be the best investment you will ever make in this aspect.

Related posts:

  1. Why a Leaf Sweeper is Good For Your Garden
  2. What Type of Lawn Sweeper is Best?
  3. The Benefits of a Commercial Leaf Vacuum
  4. Vacuuming Leaves In Your Yard
  5. How to Save Time on Your Landscape