If you have a lot of mature trees on your property like we do, you will be faced with this project once or twice a year. In our case, we sometimes fall down on the job and don’t get to it when we should. This year, though, I see Fall approaching rapidly even here in Southern California. We are only about a month away from our first regular rains of the season and it is never good to have a bunch of leaf litter on your, and in your gutters, when the rains come. It can cause water to dam up agains the shingles and leak into the house and also shorten the life of your roof generally.

If you can, it is always better to plant trees some distance from the house to prevent damages from falling limbs and invasive roots. I only have a bit of control over this, though as the previous owners planted all there trees long before we purchased the home. We have removed the most dangerous trees, and removed quite a few smaller ones, but the size of the lot dictates that the trees overhang the house quite a bit.

What the roof looks like now

Leaves on the main roof

What it should look like — the garage roof after cleaning

Garage roof after removing leaves

So, struggling to get anything done today, I tackled a small part of this project. I started with the garage, as I can reach all the leaves on this section of roof without actually climbing up on the roof. I was along for most of the morning and, as you might imagine. climbing around on your roof without anyone nearby who might be able to call 911 is not very smart. That said, I was able to clean off about 90% of this roof, except for a few, small areas that will require an actual visit up there.

I also cleaned up the small section of gutter on this area. The gutters on the house are almost non-existent and really need replaced, so I have never taken the time to fit leaf guards so I don’t have to clean them out. Of course, I have never gotten around to replacing them either, so I still have to deal with the problem every year. Sometimes you can get caught in a bad cycle like this. Still, I do plan on replacing these gutters eventually…sometime…really…I mean it…would I lie to you? (LAUGH)

A small section of gutter that is now clean and ready for the rain

How the gutters SHOULD look

The majority of this leaf litter will be run through out chipper-shredder, as soon as I get it out of moth balls. We don’t have a lot of occasion to use this behemoth of a machine, but along with these leaves I have a host of small pruning jobs that could also be shredded, either for the compost pile or as mulch for the garden beds.

I plan on pressing forward with this project as quickly as I can since possible thunderstorms were already  predicted for the area. This means that our regular Fall and Winter rains can’t be far behind. I these leaves get wet before we can remove them, the job becomes much more difficult due to the extra weight and mess involved.

I’ll keep you informed on my progress and whether my good intentions help me to finish in time.

What is happening in your garden as Fall approaches? I have seen some people pulling up their tomatoes and babying their pumpkins already. Leave me a note in the comments to share your stories!