Recently improvements in leaf blowers that have a vacuum attachment can reduce the amount of resulting waste in your garden.
The Leaf Blowers are pretty much the same as they always have been with one important improvement.
Impeller Design for Mulching
Probably through customer complaints manufacturers of leaf blowers that also had a vacuum attachment found that the impeller or blades in the unit would break quickly if made of plastic.
When they reverted to metal they found that with some slight adjustment to the impeller they could actually shred the leaves as they passed through the blower unit.
By shredding the leaves and debris that are stored in the catch bag a larger number of leaves could be collected without the need to increase bag size or empty the bag as often.
This is a plus side in manufacturing that only came about because of poorly designed plastic parts causing returns.
What to look for in a blower vacuum with shredder option.
The most important thing is the impeller. It must be made out of metal and because so much debris will pass through the impeller it is important that you have easy access to clean any wood chips, sticks or other matter that could stop the impeller from turning.
You have to remember that this type of mulcher is not a solution for large yards. If you have more then about an acre of land and a number of large trees including oaks that can supply thousands of acorns then you are likely to burn one of these units out rather quickly.
On the other hand if you only have a small amount of land with few trees you can definitely benefit because a single unit can blow the bulk of your leaves in to a pile and then allow you to dispose of them quickly.
Blowing the leaves into a pile will also reduce the chance of picking up things like acorns and sticks which are heavier then leaves and will remain in place.
What size motor should you purchase?
If you are now using a smaller 5 amp blower or even a medium sized 10 amp blower with vacuum attachment you will probably want to step up a bit when looking for a unit that can also mulch your debris.
For Mulching 12 to 15 amp units are probably a good idea. This will give you the same power as a well designed circular saw but the unit will also be heavier then smaller units.
A strap to allow you to support the unit over your shoulder will most likely be included. Using a shoulder strap will reduce pressure on your wrists hands and arms and allow you to work longer.
If necessary you may want to make or purchase a pad for the strap to distribute the weight wider on your shoulder and to reduce back strain you should switch shoulders at least half way through the job and take breaks as needed.
Safety and work method
Always remember to wear eye protection when using your leaf blower. Even though you are blowing the leafs away from you …. you will still kick up a lot of little debris that can kick back at you if the wind changes.
Work your way down hills and work with the wind if you have any. This will reduce your effort and time required to finish the job.
Never try to vacuum wet leaves because they will clog.
If you have room mulching your leafs is a great idea a pile of leafs will reduce by about 2/3rds over winter and will require much less space then you may believe.
Shredding your leaves will also reduce the room.
Mulch will turn into soil in just a few years.