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Watch Your Back: Leaf and Snow Removal Tips

Sep 14, 2015 07:25AM ● Published by Family Features

Some people loathe the task of raking leaves and removing snow in the fall and winter months, with perfectly good reason. A bad back, or the fear of throwing out a perfectly good one, can be a hindrance when it comes to keeping up with your yard and driveway.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to help keep your pastures green and concrete jungle clear.

Ergonomic options
Recognizing the strain that the repetitive motion of raking or shoveling can put on the body, manufacturers have designed a wide range of ergonomic shovels and rakes that are less taxing on muscles and joints. Test-drive your options for a comfortable fit; look for a secure grip and a height that is comfortable (although bear in mind that the longer the handle, the more energy you’ll need to put into hefting a load of snow).

Put some power to it
There is no gold medal for completing all your yard work by hand, especially if doing so results in days of pain. There are an array of leaf and snow blowers available to give you a hand with the chores. With electric and gas models, and a wide range of power to handle jobs big and small, you can save your energy for another item on your to-do list. Similarly, many riding lawnmowers offer the versatility to tackle projects like mulching, or even snow removal with the proper attachments, while atop a comfortable seat.

Mulching made easy
If raking and bagging leaves puts too much strain on your back, mulching with your mower is an ideal alternative. Models such as the John Deere Z235 EZtrak zero-turn radius mower allow you to easily switch from side discharge or bagging to mulching mode with a mulching kit attachment. Be sure to mulch leaves only when they are dry, as mulching wet or damp leaves can cause build up or clumping under the deck. Grass needs sunlight in the fall to help store food for winter, so don’t let leaves build up on the grass. With regular upkeep, a thin layer of mulched leaves adds nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer. 

Say goodbye to snow
Many riding mowers offer attachments that easily transition to year-round workhorses. John Deere’s X500 Select Series mowers are compatible with a front blade attachment to push snow out of the way, or a snow blower that is more powerful than the standard single-stage walk-behind throwers.

Hire out the work
As temperatures begin to drop, it’s the perfect time to research the cost of hiring someone to rake or shovel. There are many options for lawn care services, many of which carry their services into winter for snow removal. Be aware that you may pay a premium for an initial visit to get things in order, and rates are generally lower when you commit to an ongoing maintenance plan. Also, kids – whether yours or a neighbors – are usually eager to earn some extra pocket cash, so put that youthful energy to work.

For more advice to help keep your lawn and drive clear as the weather cools, visit

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