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How to Remove Leaves From Gravel— Proven Ways That Will Make Yard Cleaning Easier

Removing leaves from gravel landscapes is one of the most challenging aspects of yard cleanup in the fall. The wet, soggy leaves can be difficult to dislodge from a paved driveway with a leaf blower. But getting rid of the leaves from gravel patios, driveways, and pathways can seem almost impossible. However, it’s crucial to know how to remove leaves from gravel; otherwise, not removing wet leaves creates a slip risk or may clog drainage.

So how can you turn this seemingly difficult work — removing wet leaves from gravel — into a simple fall cleanup task that requires minimal effort? The short answer is to use the right tools, wait until the leaves are dry, and pick them up regularly.

The Typical Tools for Clearing Leaves from Gravel —

How to remove leaves from gravel

A leaf blower, rake, leaf vacuum, or your hands — can remove stones along with fallen fall leaves if you’re not careful. However, using a leaf blower incorrectly on gravel or wood-chip mulch could create a cloud of small stone chips, leaves, and other garden debris.

Unfortunately, leaf removal in the fall is challenging. For example, October and November — when most tree foliage drops — are typically wet months characterized by rainfall and strong winds. Therefore, you need a multi-strategy approach to know how to remove leaves from graveled landscape areas easily.

How to Remove Leaves From Gravel

To remove leaves from gravel effectively, set the leaf blower or vacuum to its lowest setting. It’s best to clear the leaves on a calm, dry day when they and the gravel are as dry as possible. Additionally, a flexible leaf rake and soft broom can make the task easier.

Why Removing Leaves From Gravel Is Challenging

Using gravel in landscapes is excellent for mulching, improving yard aesthetics, and drainage. However, leaf removal is a common gravel garden challenge when it comes to yard work in the fall. Without the appropriate care, you risk blowing pieces of gravel along with the leaves.

But, suppose you are using a leaf blower with a vacuum function and mulcher to remove clumps of leaves from a gravel garden. In that case, sucking up gravel and pesky leaves could damage your equipment.

Of course, a trusted rake with thin, flexible tines can be useful for removing leaves from a gravel surface. And this can make it easier to create piles of leaves to clean up your yard. However, moving the dead leaves into piles for the compost heap can be a tiresome, backbreaking job, especially if you have what seems like miles of gravel paths to clear.

How to Remove Leaves From Gravel — Five Tried and Tested Ways

Knowing the best ways to remove damp leaves from gravel depends on what you are dealing with. For example, you need different approaches when dealing with dry leaves or stubborn wet leaves that stick to gravel mulch. Additionally, you may need to use various tools to deal with Autumn leaves on a gravel surface.

1. Use a Leaf Blower to Blow Leaves From Gravel

The easiest way to remove any amount of leaves from gravel is to use a leaf blower. Choosing the best type of leaf blower for gravel is one with adjustable settings. Therefore, set it to the lowest speed. Also, keep the nozzle at least four inches (10 cm) from the surface. This method is useful to clear a gravel landscape from dry leaves.

You may have to adjust the airspeed settings depending on the following factors:

·        Size of the gravel

·        Type of plants nearby

·        Dampness of the leaves.

Because there is the risk of flying pieces of gravel, always wear safety goggles and work away from windows and people.

2. Remove Leaves from Gravel with a Leaf Vacuum

Man Blowing leaves from gravel with leaf blower

A leaf vacuum is perfect for removing dry leaves from any type of gravel. Remember that dry foliage is lightweight and weighs less than stone chips. Therefore, suck the leaves from the gravel using the lowest vacuum setting. If the leaf vacuum has a mulching capacity, you can shred leaves as you clear them.

It’s good to remember that a leaf vacuum may not be as effective on gravel when trying to remove wet leaves.

3. Use a Rake for Leaves to get Rid of Them from the Gravel

A lightweight leaf rake with flexible tines is ideal for removing leaves from gravel areas around your house. Ideally, the type of leaf rake to use should have a triangular head with bendy metal, plastic, or bamboo tines. This design allows you to rake leaves without picking up gravel.

The best type of rake to remove leaves from gravel

Use a rake with a flexible head and tines that bend easily. Stiff metal or plastic tines will remove gravel along with leaves. This type of rake will also be useful for removing thatch from lawns or getting rid of leaves from rock gardens and under shrubs.

4. Use a Corn or Straw Broom for Leaf Removal

Sometimes called a witches broom, a straw broom can gently shift fall debris into leaf piles without disturbing gravel. Using a corn broom to get rid of leaves can help you get into nooks and crannies where a leaf blower or vacuum cannot.

5. Pick Leaves up by Hand to Remove Them from Gravel Driveways

From time to time, you will have to get on your hands and knees to pick up stubborn leaves. You may have to use this method to remove stray leaves from hard-to-reach places, like under shrubs or if you have delicate plants in your garden.

Although handpicking dead leaves is hard work, you don’t risk disturbing driveway gravel, and you don’t need any special equipment. Also, removing leaves by hand may be your only option if the leaves are extremely wet.

6. The Sifting Method can Remove Leaves from Gravel Paths and Drives

Leaves mixed in with fine gravel or small decorative landscaping stones are challenging to separate and remove. In this case, you will need a metal screen, a tarp, and plenty of energy. The goal is to separate leaves from the gravel because gravel falls through the holes in the screen.

What to Do After Removing Leaves From Gravel? Mulch Them

Leaves collected from your yard are valuable for adding to the compost pile. Composting chopped-up leaves allow the leaf matter to break down, releasing essential nutrients that are vital for the health of plants in your garden.

Here are some ideas about what to do with leaves after removing them from gravel areas:

·        Leaf mulch: Use a leaf shredder to chop dead leaves into bits and put a layer of two to three inches around your plants and shrubs. This helps to insulate your plants and vegetables from the cold temperatures outside. Then, when spring comes, they’ll break down into rich compost for your garden.

·        Leaf mold: Shredded leaves break down into leaf mold if you store them in a container in a dark, damp place. You can use the leaf matter as a soil conditioner.

·        Compost: Once you have collected leaves from your lawn, driveway, and gravel areas, move the pile of leaves to your compost heap.

How Do You Clean a Gravel Driveway?

It can be challenging to clean a gravel driveway. There is always the risk of removing stones and small rocks when you clean debris like autumn leaves, twigs, moss, and dirt. So, when using a pressure washer or leaf blower on gravel landscapes, you must take care.

When clearing leaves or dirt from gravel, always ensure the equipment is on the lowest settings. For example, set the leaf blower to a minimal speed and blow leaves into small piles. This way, you minimize the risk of displacing lots of loose stones.

What Kind of Rake Do You Use for Gravel?

A bow rake is the best kind of rake for maintaining a gravel driveway or pathway. These have a relatively narrow, slightly curved head and are ideal for spreading and leveling small stones in a gravel garden. However, the chances are that you also need a landscape rake and leaf rake to keep a gravel area looking attractive.

Here are the three types of rakes you need for use on gravel:
Leaf Rake

·        Gravel rake: This rake has a wide, straight head with strong, sturdy, wide-gapped teeth. It is an ideal tool for leveling gravel and won’t wear down over time.

·        Bow rake: Smaller than a gravel rake, this has longer tines and a rigid rake head. The bow-shaped steel head is ideal for working with gravel. You can also use this type of rake to spread topsoil and manure.

·        Leaf rake: This type of rake is vital for removing leaves from the surface of gravel areas. The flexible metal tines minimize gravel disturbance and help collect leaves into piles with minimal fuss. 

How Do You Get Pine Needles Out of Gravel?

One of the challenges of a gravel garden is getting pine needles out from in between decorative rocks. The thin needle leaves are difficult to pick out by hand, and there are so many that the task would take hours. So, what is the best way to remove pine needles from gravel?

A leaf blower with a vacuum function is ideal for clearing pine needles between small stones. The needles are small and lightweight and move easily under low air pressure. You can blow the needle leaves into small piles and then suck them up with the vacuum.

Pine needles are slightly acidic. Therefore, they can leach acid into the ground. This can create an inhospitable environment for plants that generally prefer alkaline soil. Therefore, if you use gravel mulch for your shrubs and garden plants, removing pine needles can help protect plant health.

Removing Leaves From Gravel — In Conclusion

Removing leaves from gravel is straightforward; however,  it’s not as simple as it sounds.

The easiest way to get rid of leaves from a yard is to wait until they are dry. Then use a leaf blower on its lowest setting to shift leaves into piles. Additionally, a leaf rake is essential to ensure your gravel pathway, driveway, or landscaped areas are always free of fallen leaves.