After being so excited about our new leaf blower/vacuum shredding leaves for composting, I found that there is a lot of controversy about leaf blowers. You can see from this picture that the mulching leaves feature of the vacuum does a great job of creating shredded leaves.
Leaf blowers bring out a lot of heated negative emotions in communities because they are so noisy and intrusive, they create and blow around a lot of dust and particles and give off fumes. Several communities in California and New York have banned them for at least part of the year.
Of course one could buy a shredding machine to avoid buying a leaf blower/vacuum. But garden shredders are noisy also and the one I looked at cost about 4 times as much as our leaf blower/vacuum. Though the shredder would mulch wet and dry leaves. We found that when we vacuumed right after the leaves had fallen off the tree the vacuum got jammed more often. I think it was because the leaves still had moisture in them. It worked much better a few days later when the leaves were drier.
It is certainly more meditative and healthy to rake leaves and sweep sidewalks. The difference between raking and using a leaf blower is like night and day. Gas driven models are noisier and usually more powerful than electric models. We purchased an electric model and it seems somewhat noisy to me.
So instead of using the vacuum for the whole job we rake the leaves into piles and then vacuum and mulch them. So we still get to rake. Because raking is fun. It is a way to experience the fall, breathe the fresh air, smell leaves and have fun. Kids love to rake and then jump in the piles.
So my conclusion is that I think we are stuck with some type of shredding machine. The leaves compost so much better when they are shredded. And we need the browns in the composter. More on the greens and browns in the next post.