Last fall, my landscape architect son taught me some ways to stream line fall clean up. They were good ideas and I have used many of them with good results. However, if you do something enough, you branch out and experiment, and thus learn just what the limitations to a certain approach are. So it is that this fall, I discovered a number of things NOT to do while using a tarp. I spoke with my son about it and he added a few more things to the list:
1. Don’t use a tarp that is too big. 5 by 7 foot is recommended by my experienced son. Larger tends to add unwanted weight to try to carry or move, and is too easily filled beyond practical use.
2. Don’t overload them. The only thing that doesn’t get too heavy is leaves.
3. Don’t use one with holes in it.
3.b. Don’t put small debris in a tarp with holes in it.
4. Don’t drag them over rough surfaces. The tarp will shred quickly.
5. Don’t leave them around to collect water. Besides being potential mosquito habitat, the plant matter becomes harder to dump off and gets putrid.
6. Don’t leave debris unattended for several days. It gets very unpleasant to deal with molding plants, and it tends to collect a whole other level of insects.
7. Don’t forget to shake as much dirt as possible off of roots. Dirt gets heavy fast, retains moisture if you do accidentally leave the pile in the water, and doesn’t dump easily.
8. Don’t be careless about dumping it over a fence or into a trailer. Having it all fall on top of you is both disappointing and uncomfortable.
9. Don’t forget to pay attention to which way the wind is blowing. Yeah.
10. Don’t hesitate to use the tarp inside of a wagon to haul over greater distances.
11. Don’t forget to tie corners together. If two people are using it, do it like a taco. If it is just you, tie cross corners to make it stay together better while carrying it.
12. Don’t leave it tied for too long, or else you won’t be able to get it undone.
If you have any tips for using a tarp to make fall clean up more efficient, feel free to add them in the comments! (click on photos to enlarge)