Do you have the right rake?
By: Garden Gate staff
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Plastic leaf rake
Cover a lot of ground quickly when you use a wide-headed plastic leaf rake — this one is 30 inches across!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Because of the repetitive nature of leaf raking, comfort is key when you’re choosing one of these tools. There are actually lots of different features and widths available — try several out at the store before you buy. Check out those with curved handles and assess the weight and balance. The one in these photos has another interesting feature: The tines are joined together so the head won’t get clogged with leaves.
HOW TO USE IT With a sweeping motion gather any leaves or debris in your lawn. Be sure to take frequent breaks so you can avoid repetitive motion-related injury.
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Metal leaf rake
Clean up the lawn or your border with a metal leaf rake.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR These rakes come in a variety of widths and some are even adjustable. Look for one that has an enamel-coated head to avoid rust. And a stress distribution bar helps keep tines from twisting.
HOW TO USE IT This is a good multipurpose rake. Its springy nature is perfect for working debris out of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, carefully fluffing up a ground cover in spring or working the thatch out of the lawn if you don’t own a thatch rake. It’s also good for raking leaves from the lawn but the narrow tines can sometimes get clogged with skewered leaves or snag on a vine or ground cover.
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Get your packed perennial border cleaned up in no time.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR A plastic head and lightweight aluminum handle make a shrub rake like this lightweight and easy to haul around with your hand tools.
HOW TO USE IT The 8-inch head on this rake is narrower than others so it gets in between plants without a problem. The long handle reaches into the backs of borders that are hard to reach otherwise. Once you’ve gotten rid of all the debris, use this handy rake to help spread mulch or compost on the beds and around your plants without tearing leaves or breaking stems.