It’s important to pick up all the dead leaves scattered across your yard and garden. If left to decompose as is, it can ruin the fertility of soil, support bacteria growth, and leave brown marks all over your yard. You can pile the leaves and other dead debris using a rake or leaf blower but how would you go about disposing of the leftover mess?
Luckily, fallen leaves, pine needles, hedge trimmings, dead plants, and even the fruits and vegetables you eat can be turned into mulch. Mulch is a natural fertilizer made of decomposed organic matter which supports plant growth, maintains warmth near a plant’s roots, and gets rid of weeds, among other benefits.
The best tool to make mulch at home is with an electric leaf mulcher. Using this power garden tool, you can create mulch in mere seconds, thanks to their high-speed steel blades or plastic cutting lines that tear throw dry and moist leaves.
If you own a large plot of land with hundreds or even thousands of trees, then you should consider investing in a gas-powered leaf mulcher-shredder-chipper combo – they’re extremely portable (no power cords) and offer much more power than electric and cordless models can ever hope to give.
If you don’t own this type of machine – or if this is your first time ever hearing of it – and you’re unfamiliar with the process of using an electric leaf mulcher, then keep reading. This article aims to give you the basic knowledge of operating an electric leaf mulcher.
Because we’re using a corded-electric model, it’s important that we be near an outlet to power up our machines. If you need to do mulching a few hundred feet away from home, make sure that you have long, durable extension cords. Another way to bring electricity to your leaf muncher is with the help of a portable generator. If you have neither of these, try pile up any fallen leaves, grass clippings, dead plants, and pine needles close to the unit.
Choosing the Right Mode
Depending on the brand and make of your electric leaf mulcher, there will be several modes to choose from. The most common modes determine the fineness of the mulch (coarse, medium, and fine). Other units come with additional modes for grinding up pine needles or grass and thatch, exclusively. Select the mode you want and hit the power button. Be sure to have a plastic or paper bag fitted under the exit chute to catch the shredded leaves.
Inserting Leaves into the Mulcher
After the machine is on, it’s simply a matter of putting as many dead leaves into the hopper as possible. Most models feature a hopper-and-blade combination for shredding more than 20 gallons of leaves per minute. When your trash bag is full, turn the machine off, replace the bag, and repeat operations until there’s no more dead organic matter to shred.
Personal Protective Equipment
Using a leaf mulcher is messy business. Because their steel blades or cutting lines rotate quickly to effectively pulverize leaves to a pulp, they produce a lot of airborne dust that can get not only damage the machine’s motor, but also create health risks to the user.
In addition, be sure you wear protective gloves at all times. Some leaf mulchers come with a push paddle for forcing leaves directly into the spinning blades. It’s bad enough imagining the push paddle accidentally making contact with high-speed steel blades, but it could be so much worse if your hand gets nicked while working.
One of the most important steps to ensure that your electric leaf mulcher will see many years on Earth is by keeping the unit as clean as possible. Because this type of leaf mulcher runs off of electricity, there’re no maintenance issues involving refueling or oil changes. However, make sure that the outside and inner components are wiped clean or blasted with compressed air to get rid of minuscule leaf and grass particles. After it’s been cleaned up, store the machine somewhere dry.
This is just a general guideline on how to operate an electric leaf mulcher. The brand and make that you own may have additional steps unique to its own design and construction so be sure to give the owner’s manual a thorough read-through to fully understand the dos and don’ts of your particular device.