Can You Use a Garden Rake to Rake Leaves?

A garden rake is an essential component of every gardener’s tool box, as it’s highly efficient and versatile. However, can you use one to rake leaves?

You can use a garden rake to rake leaves using the prongs at its end. They help to gather any loose leaves on the ground so that you can tidy the area. You can also use a garden rake to rake large clumps of cut grass or soil. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss raking leaves using a garden rake in greater detail. I’ll also expand on whether it’s necessary to rake cut grass, the best type of garden rake, and if you can use a pitchfork to rake leaves.

How To Rake Leaves Using a Garden Rake?

Luckily, it’s easy to rake leaves using a garden rake. This is especially true if the grass is short. However, if the grass is long, it may get stuck in the prongs of the tool, making the process more time-consuming.

To rake leaves using a garden rake, all you need to do is sweep the leaves away from the area. You should use a garden rake the same way you’d use a broom. Along the way, some of the leaves may get caught in the prongs. If this occurs, you can pick them out and continue raking.

Of course, raking leaves can be quick if the garden is small; however, if there’s a lot of space to cover, the process can take a significant amount of time. Be sure to give yourself adequate breaks, especially if the weather is hot. It may not seem like it, but raking large sections of leaves can be very taxing on your body.

Another factor to consider is that gripping onto the rake for long periods can cause your hands to get sore (or even blistered). Because of this, you should think about wearing gloves to avoid too much irritation. You could also apply some pipe insulation to the rake for a softer grip.

Once you’ve gathered all the leaves, you can dispose of them (or leave them in a pile).

What Is the Most Efficient Way To Rake Leaves?

The most efficient way to rake leaves is to use a tarp by gathering the raked leaves onto it. Once the tarp is covered with leaves, pick up all corners so that the leaves are wrapped nicely. Transport the tarp to wherever you want to dispose of the leaves. Repeat as many times as necessary.

You could use trash bags to gather each pile of leaves, but this can be more time-consuming because a tarp can hold more leaves at once. Plus, using multiple trash bags can be wasteful, so it’s best to avoid using too many. You could use compostable trash bags if you want, but they’re more expensive and won’t be as strong as plastic ones.

Here are some things to consider before you begin raking leaves:

  • Stand upright when using a garden or leaf rake. Bending over too much from the hips rather than the knees can cause back pain, especially if you have a lot of leaves to rake. Over time, this can cause permanent back problems.
  • Rake the leaves towards you. Raking them away from you is difficult and won’t give you the best results. It’s much easier to rake the leaves in your direction.
  • Don’t rake if there’s a lot of wind. Wind will cause the leaves to blow around. Therefore, if you’re trying to make a pile, it’s more likely to get ruined in windy weather.
  • Raking dry leaves is more manageable than raking wet ones. This is because water is heavier than air, naturally making the leaves heavier. If the leaves are heavier, it takes more energy to rake them. They also stick together and to the rake more when wet.
  • Don’t rake all leaves into one big pile. If there are a lot of leaves to rake, you should rake them into smaller piles. This makes it easier to dispose of them. Raking sections of leaves onto a tarp is one excellent way to do this, as mentioned already.

Should You Rake Cut Grass?

You should rake cut grass if thick clumps cover healthy growing grass. This generally occurs if you cut the grass after it’s grown too long. Otherwise, there’s generally no need to rake cut grass.

Some people may like to rake their grass after the first cut of the season (in spring) because it might have gotten a bit too long since it was last cut. Afterward, freshly cut grass won’t need to be raked.

Since many people choose not to cut their grass during the winter months, it will likely grow to a point where it’s longer than usual. The main reason people don’t bother cutting grass during winter is that the temperatures are low, so grass growth also slows.

Additionally, cutting the grass when the weather is particularly cold or freezing can damage it. Therefore, many home gardeners put off doing so during winter months. That’s why the first cut in spring sometimes requires some raking afterward.

What Is the Best Kind of Garden Rake?

The best kind of garden rake features metal or good-quality plastic prongs that are durable and allow you to collect higher piles of leaves or soil. However, generally speaking, the best kind of garden rake is one that does the job efficiently and that you can use comfortably. 

It also depends on the job you’re carrying out. If the purpose is to move soil, a garden rake is your best bet. However, if you want to rake leaves, you might want to consider a plastic or metal leaf rake.

A plastic leaf rake will be more gentle on your grass and soil and it’s light to use. Since leaves are light, you don’t need anything hefty to rake them.

What Is the Difference Between a Pitchfork and Garden Rake?

The difference between a pitchfork and garden rake ilies in their function and shape. Pitchforks are used to gather and organize hay and straw. On the other hand, a garden rake is used to rake soil or leaves. While a pitchfork has 3-5 long prongs, a rake has more, and they’re shorter.

Pitchforks are common on farms, whereas garden rakes are more common in households. The gaps between each prong on a pitchfork are wider than the gaps between prongs on a rake.

Can You Use a Pitchfork To Rake Leaves?

You can’t use a pitchfork to rake leaves in most cases because the prongs are too far apart. Many leaves would escape through the gaps if you used a pitchfork, so it wouldn’t be the most practical option. A garden or leaf rake is a better tool if you need to rake leaves.

However, you can use a pitchfork for other activities like breaking up the soil or moving hay. 

Can You Use a Shovel To Rake Leaves?

You can use a shovel to rake leaves, but it would be highly time-consuming and inefficient. Instead of using a sweeping motion, you’d have to scoop up the leaves and transport them to the desired area. It would also take a lot more energy, so it’s best to use a rake.

The head of a shovel doesn’t have prongs. Instead, it’s entirely solid, meaning a shovel is primarily helpful for scooping stuff up. You could use a shovel after using a rake to gather your leaves into a pile. But other than that, it wouldn’t be beneficial.

Why Should You Rake Leaves?

You should rake leaves if they cover a lot of grass because they can block out sunlight, which may hinder the growth of the healthy grass underneath. However, it’s only necessary to rake leaves if an exceptional amount is covering the grass.

According to the University of Minnesota, one of the best ways to deal with fallen leaves is to mulch them into the soil. To do this, all you have to do is go over the leaves with a lawnmower. This grinds them into small pieces of debris and can benefit the grass.

It also generally takes less effort than raking, so it’s a win-win!

If you prefer to rake them, you can do that instead. But it’s good to know that it’s not always necessary and that there are other (easier) options.


You can use a garden rake to rake leaves because that is one of its purposes. You can also use rakes specifically made for leaves, but it’s up to you to decide. Rakes are usually made from plastic or metal, and plastic ones are more gentle on the grass and soil.

Although a pitchfork may look slightly similar to a garden rake, you cannot use one to rake leaves. You also shouldn’t use a shovel—a rake is the best option.

When raking leaves, it’s best to place them on a tarp rather than wasting trash bags.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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