The cooler and drier Fall weather is not only great for outdoor projects, it is also a signal for the leaves on the trees to change color. This annual “event” is so spectacular that folks from all over come to New England to see the change. While everybody loves a party, when it is over, it is the host who has to clean up. The Fall clean up is a chore which can be made a lot more pleasant with the right tools.
We have always known that Fiskars makes great scissors. A few years ago, we discovered they also have an excellent line of pruners and loppers for gardeners. When we went looking for tools to help with our Fall cleanup, we were happy to find that Fiskars has some great gear designed to make the task easier. Tree pruners, rakes, and cleanup bags, they have ’em all and more. These Fiskars gear are not just “me-too” products. They have been rethought, reworked, and revised to work better, easier, and last longer. We were impressed with what we got and were eager to give the tools a workout over the weekend.
A rake is a pretty simple piece of equipment and one would think not much could be done to make it better. However, Fiskars took a fresh look at the basics of the leaf rake and made some noticeable improvements. The Fiskars leaf and shrub rakes have features not found in any other rakes:
- Uniquely curved, extra-wide tines transport leaves without trapping
- 24-inch rake is sized for moving a high volume of leaves with less effort
- 8-inch rake is sized to fit easily between densely spaced plantings
- Flexible and durable resin tines designed not to break
- Sturdy aluminum handle is lighter, easier to maneuver than traditional handles
- Teardrop-shaped shaft provides a surer grip and reduces hand fatigue
- Lifetime warranty
Raking leaves and clipping into a pile is just the first step. Sooner or later we have to either move it out to the street for the sweeper or bag it for removal. The 30 gallon Kangaroo container is designed to make collection and disposal easier. The container compresses to 3.5 inches for storage, is made of a durable vinyl-coated polyester, and has an internal spring to make it easy to open and close. The HardShell base has drain holes at the bottom to prevent water from pooling and won’t tear when dragged over rough terrain. The handles are padded for comfort and easy unloading of its content. Like the other Fiskars gear, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Pruning branches can be a difficult task, especially since it can be dangerous to cut branches while standing on a ladder. The Fiskars Power-Lever Telescoping prunerwas designed to give the user up to 16 feet of reach while standing safely on the ground. The telescoping pole is made of fiberglass and aluminum. The poles extend with a simple twist and locks tightly for use. There is a cushioned grip for both comfort and control. Integrated into the business end of the pruner is both a saw and a 1-1/8 inch lopper. The 15-inch cutting blade is made with hardened steel. It is coated to prevent binding and can be quickly converted to a hand saw.
The shade from the forty-foot Cottonwood trees in front of the office is great at keeping our building cool in the Summer, but some of the branches can get a bit unruly. Every Fall we prune back and clean up what we can reach. It gives the hostas and other shade-loving plants just a bit more light next season. This Spring, a branch cracked higher up on the trunk than we could reach. We have been waiting for it to fall off the tree for six months, but it is still hanging on. It was the first thing we tackled when we got the pruner assembled.
The Fiskars tree pruner was light and easy to maneuver, even when extended. Cutting on the pull stroke required much less effort than expected. The cutting action was smooth and efficient. There was no binding or skipping. The branch came down with just a dozen or so pulls and the cut was very clean. The pruner was so easy to use that we had to restrain ourselves from cutting branches simply because we could reach them! The ability to convert the pruning blade to a handheld saw enabled us to quickly trim and cut things down to a manageable size for stacking.
Fall weekends are for driving around back country road in a convertible with the top down, not for raking and bagging leaves. However, if you MUST spend it cleaning up around the house, then make it easier on yourself and use tools which will minimize the time and maximize your effort.