For a couple of years I hired a “green” landscaping company to do my spring cleanup, because: 1) spring is a busy season and it was hard to make the time; and 2) they promised to mulch all my leaves and garden debris. Well, they lied. What they meant was that they would cart off all my leaves etc. and then give me the option of paying them to bring it back.

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So I’ve gone back to doing spring cleanup myself. With some of the money I saved, I bought myself a Ryobi hand-held electric (cordless) leaf mulcher. Actually, I learned that such a thing existed from Cortney who writes the blog Box and Bay.

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The mulcher arrived on Thursday and this weekend I was able to take it out for a spin. So here are a few observations.

First of all, THIS IS NOT A LEAF BLOWER. I hate leaf blowers! Instead of blowing leaves, it vacuums them in, shreds them, and deposits them in a canvass bag. It’s pretty quiet compared to a leaf blower – makes about as much noise as a vacuum cleaner you’d use indoors.

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Raking the leaves off the Parkway Bed exposed a bunch of Daffodil leaves in search of sun. There was a very thick layer of densely packed leaves, though, thanks to the city plows. Plus, they were mostly maple leaves – blech. 

While it’s got a decent amount of power, you shouldn’t just shove it into a giant pile of leaves and garden debris. This will result in a clogged vacuum. This I learned the hard way. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to unclog. If you’re trying to deal with a huge quantity of leaves (especially densely packed maple leaves), as I was this weekend, just go slow.

On the other hand, if you’ve just got a couple of inches of leaves spread out on the lawn, use it like a vacuum cleaner on a dirty carpet, and it works great.

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Newly uncovered Daffodils now surrounded by fluffy leaf mulch. 

The mulcher stops working automatically once the canvas bag is full of leaf mulch. I’ve got to say, it was lovely mulch – soft and fluffy. I just reapplied it to the areas where I had raked off the leaves.

One more thing: though this mulcher comes with a pair of wheels to support the tube, it is not super light. It’s 13 lb. before the canvas bag starts to fill with mulch. Once full, the whole thing weighs much more, so your arms will get a moderate workout.

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Here’s the battery.

Also, the amount you can get done is limited by the need to recharge the battery (after 1-2 hours as far as I could tell), and empty out the leaf mulch. Because of this, this leaf mulcher is appropriate for a suburban yard but probably not for someone with acres of garden.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with my leaf mulcher, and it was a real pleasure to get started with spring cleanup this weekend. Much more on garden cleanup to come in future posts.

32 Comments on “New Toy for Garden Cleanup: Cordless Electric Leaf Mulcher”

  1. We have a leaf blower that converts to a leaf mulcher/vacuum. I forget to use it. It is electric. It is good for getting around shrubs and difficult places. I would much prefer a battery operated model. Maybe I would use it more often.

  2. Hello Jason, I hope your new leaf vac’n’shred serves you well. I still do things the manual way using a combination of rakes, hand-picking and a raised mower for the grass. When all else fails, I bury the mess under a thick layer of mulch.

  3. I’ve had an electric leaf blower/mulcher for years. I love the mulching feature. But as I have aged into my 70’s, I am not sure how much longer I can do this myself. I hate landscape companies and need to find someone young and energetic, lol.

  4. I have an electric one that I use as a “vacuum” for my fallen autumn leaves. Otherwise, it’s the broom for me. I hate the loud “garden” equipment that the mow-n-blow guys/gals use. Glad you’re having fun with the new toy.

  5. Thanks for reviewing this, Jason! After I saw your first post on Facebook, I wanted to ask you more about it, especially about its weight. I had never heard of such a tool before, but I am definitely going to look into it–I rake up a ton of leaves, oak as well as maple, off my flowerbeds every spring. I have a cordless weedeater by Black and Decker that I love, and it also works only for an hour or so before having to be re-charged. I’ve found that time limit isn’t a problem–after an hour, I’m too pooped to do anymore anyway.:)

  6. Most of my leaves are just left to rot and the bulbs just push through. At least you are recycling all your organic matter – what a crime for those who cart it away. You might detect a tone of mild tone of disapproval Jason

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