It’s more than leaves

It’s the beginning of September 2015 and the leaves are just beginning to show signs of turning to those beautiful shades of autumn colors. It won’t be long before your yard is covered in those vivid colors and for many that means it’s time to get the rakes out and get busy cleaning up. But did you know that every year thousands of people show up at the hospital or their doctor’s office with twisted backs, strained muscles, allergic reactions, breathing problems and other injuries from their annual yard raking and cleanup?

Other landscaping hazards

Salem Oregon Landscaping ServiceIf you live in an area that allows you to burn yard waste, consider that burning leaves contain carbon monoxide and the smoke may contain chemicals that can be carcinogenic. Smoke is particularly harsh on the elderly and young children and burning damp leaves produces dust and other particles that can enter your lungs and cause chest pain, coughing and other symptoms that may result in long-term respiratory problems. Consider also that we’ve had a lot of fires this year and burning yard waste contributes to air pollution. Instead of burning your yard waste try composting, which after decomposing can be used to add nutrition to your soil and feed your plants and trees. Mow the leaves on your lawn into a mulch before adding to your compost bin.

If you don’t burn your yard waste there are other problems to consider. Leaving them on the ground during the wet autumn and winter seasons can breed molds, mildew and fungus that can contribute to allergies, asthma, headaches, swollen eyes, eczema and other health problems. Even dead molds can contribute to health problems and there are over 50 molds that can be problematic including the dreaded black mold of the Stachybotrys genus. Late autumn, winter and early spring are the worst times for mold so if you’re prone to allergies or have health issues always wear protective covering and air-filtration masks when working during damp seasons outside.

If you are determined to rake leaves, be sure to do some stretches before your cleanup and begin on a day when the leaves are still dry. Bend at the knees when picking them up off of the ground; wear gloves to avoid bites from insects and spiders and to prevent blisters; wear a mask to filter out microscopic particles including molds and other allergens; turn around instead of twisting when tossing the leaves to avoid injuries and when you’re done, avoid contaminating the inside of your home with exposed clothing and follow-up with a nice, hot bath to relieve the strain on your muscles.

Or better yet, call Green Thumb Landscaping at 503-362-7327 and sign up for a maintenance package today! We’ll keep your residential landscaping clean and beautiful throughout the changing seasons.