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What are leaf rakes used for?

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Leaf rakes are designed to be used with leaves, they are light so are not suitable for heavy duty gardening tasks Leaf rakes are specifically designed for gathering leaves and other very lightweight debris.

Gathering leaves

Leaf rakes are specifically designed to move large piles of leaves. Leaf rakes are designed to gather fallen leaves from gardens and pathways. With their wide heads, you can sweep and move lots of leaves at a time. With a scooping leaf rake, you can also lift piles of leaves, making them easy to dispose of. For gathering leaves around plants or in small spaces, there are leaf rakes with particularly narrow heads, often called shrub rakes.
Wonkee Donkee says "For most plants it’s the leaves which produce most of their food. Leaves use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen with a molecule called Chlorophyll."

Gathering grass clippings

Leaf rakes can gather leaves or grass clipping but are not usually suitable for moving anything else Leaf rakes can be used to gather grass clippings because they are also lightweight. Leaf rakes with closely spaced tines will be most effective at this as there is less space for small pieces to slip through them.

Spreading topsoil, grass seeds or fertiliser

Leaf rakes with strong plastic tines should be able to spread topsoil or fertiliser over lawns. Fertiliser and topsoil should be fine and relatively lightweight, and will need to be fairly thinly spread onto lawns. Small piles of topsoil or fertiliser can be poured onto lawns and leaf rakes can sweep and level it over grass. Leaf rakes with strong plastic tines can be used to spread thin layers of topsoil, grass seeds, or fertiliser over lawns. If the leaf rake has weaker tines they can easily be damaged if moved over uneven surfaces.