Keeping the garden tidy requires a few deft moves with the right tools, and, time and again over the seasons, shrub rakes are... Read more »
Entire books have been written on the science of making compost, but it isn’t as hard as people think. In five easy steps, you... Read more »
Weeding, pruning, and raking all make a huge difference in the appearance of a garden, but, to finish the job, you have to rou... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
Are school fundraiser ideas keeping you up at night? A unique handmade art piece that represents your school is sure to be a p... Read more »
Creating beautiful and personal touches does not have to be difficult, especially when you have great designs to work with! Read more »
Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Transform a simple hoodie into a super simple unicorn costume and take the stress and pressure out of making a complicated Hal... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Try some new punches out and make some cards to celebrate World Card Making Day! Read more »
A personalized Duck Tape® crown is quick and easy to make with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors. It is a fun way to cele... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Preserve your wonderful vacation memories with these heart-felt, embellished, glass vases.
Leaves, those once beautiful, but now brown, tree appendages start to fall just about the time we’re ready to plant cabbages, pansies and bulbs. Oaks, which make up the majority of the native, deciduous trees in central Oklahoma, have the toughest, most fibrous leaves I know of, but if you rake and shred them, they can become a gardener’s best friend.
In my fair state, Interstate 35 is the demarcation line between the short grass prairie and the beginning of the deciduous forest. I live east of that line, in an area called the Cross Timbers known primarily for blackjack oak and post oak, but also, cottonwoods, Mexican plum, elms, black hickory and other woody vegetation. By mid-November, my lawn and front flower beds are covered with leaves. However, blackjacks (Quercus marilandica) retain their leaves into winter so a second round of raking occurs in late winter or early spring.
If leaves aren’t removed, they smother shade grass like fescue or perennial rye and smaller herbaceous plants. However, if leaves are shredded, they make splendid winter mulch, great compost and an even better outdoor, seed starting medium. In a state like mine, your soil hungers for good compost. If you have clay, over time compost will loosen it. If you have sandy soil, compost will improve its ability to hold moisture and nutrients. After six months of sitting, shredded leaves will crumble in your hand, becoming pure, black gold which requires no screening.
Why do leaves work? In forests, they fall to the ground and decay bringing nutrients and beneficial fungi to the understory, where ferns and other shade loving plants grow. Can’t you just feel that springy forest soil under your feet? By shredding your leaves, you’re simply helping nature do her thing more quickly.
I use my two trusty rakes and the roomy thirty gallon HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container. I like the larger leaf rake for the lawn and the more, narrow shrub rake for the beds as it can maneuver around established plants. Both are made of aluminum which is one of my favorite materials for garden tools. It’s light weight, and if I accidentally leave a tool outdoors, it doesn’t warp or rust.
After raking, I take the container of leaves and dump them into a large, heavy duty plastic trashcan. I put on safety glasses and use my string trimmer to shred them. Then, I either put the leaves back on the garden beds as mulch or into large piles. These piles break down and are used throughout next year’s garden season. If I incorporate leaf mold with the soil in a planting hole, plants seem to settle in sooner and thrive. Further, a layer of it on top of seeds in the spring encourages germination. If you don’t want to use the leaf trimmer idea, you can mow over shallow leaf piles and collect them in the bag attachment.
So, when you rake your leaves this fall, don’t put them in trash bags. Instead, keep them out of the landfill and use them for their original purpose to improve the soil in your garden. If you do, just consider the bounty from your garden a pat on the back from Mother Nature herself.