How much does it cost to clean up leaves?
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Leaf Clean-Up Cost Guide
Updated: March 7, 2023
As the season’s name implies, trees begin to drop their leaves all over your yard when fall comes around. As a homeowner, you will want to get them cleaned up right away. Leaves create a blanket in your yard that can cause many issues if not removed. As winter and snow come around, leaf clean-up can get much harder. Fall is the best time for leaf removal. Depending on the amount of leaves in your yard, you may require more than a one-time leaf clean-up service.
The national average leaf clean-up cost is between $150 and $550. Most people pay around $300 to get a fall leaf clean-up with a vacuum and mulching of leaves on a 1/4 acre lawn. At the low end of the spectrum, you will pay around $50 blowing, collection, and bagging for city removal of a 1/6 acre lawn. At the high end, you may pay up to $700 for blowing, removal, and disposal of leaves of a 1 acre lawn.
Leaf Removal Prices
|Leaf Clean-Up Cost|
|National average cost||$300|
Leaf Removal Cost per Acre
Typically, leaf removal costs between $400 and $700 per acre, depending on many factors such as the condition of the lawn and amount of leaves. The most common cost of leaf removal is between $95 and $250 since most homes are built on a ¼ acre lot. Keep in mind that the exact costs of disposing of the leaves from your yard will depend on how many leaves there are and the method you use to remove them. The most common cost ranges are presented in the table below:
|⅙ Acre||$50 - $150|
|⅕ Acre||$75 - $200|
|¼ Acre||$95 - $250|
|½ Acre||$225 - $400|
|¾ Acre||$270 - $600|
|1 Acre||$400 - $700|
Leaf Removal Cost by Type of Cleaning
There are three main types of leaf removal cleaning methods, all with different costs: blowing, raking, and vacuuming. Most companies charge a rate per hour for each worker of around $15 to $60, with a minimum fee of $75. If you want them to bag the leaves for disposal, they charge $5 to $10 per bag. It can be a beautiful scenic view to watch the leaves change color and fall, however, it becomes a project when they need to be removed for your yard. Leaves should be removed promptly, however, before they make their way into your gutters, start to rot and produce a foul smell, or damage your lawn. Luckily, with the right tools the job is quite easy for any professional. The most popular methods are highlighted below with their respective costs.
|Type of Cleaning||Cost per Hour||Extra Cost (per Bag)|
|Blowing||$15 - $45||$5 - $10|
|Raking||$25 - $50||$5 - $10|
|Vacuuming||$30 - $60||$5 - $10|
Leaf Blowing Service
Leaf blowing is a popular method for removing leaves from a yard and costs $15 to $45 per hour and an additional $5 to $10 per bag to dispose of the leaves. A leaf blower is a tool that pushes air out of a nozzle to move debris and is great for driveways, gutters, and larger yards. They are powered by electric or gasoline motors and are typically self-contained carried units or backpack-style units with a handheld wand. Leaf blowing is less time-consuming than raking, however, carrying the blower around can get heavy. A leaf blower is not efficient at directing wet leaves and can scatter them around instead. A rake is still needed to put the leaves in a consolidated pile after blowing for easy bagging or composting.
Raking is the oldest and most traditional method for collecting leaves and costs $25 to $50 per hour and $5 to $10 per bag to dump the leaves. The yard worker will use a heavy-duty fan rake to collect the leaves into multiple piles throughout the yard for easy pickup into bags. Fan rakes are beneficial in collecting leaves without causing harm to the lawn, as well as picking up wet leaves. If you have a big yard, raking may not be the best method of removing leaves as it can be time-consuming and tedious.
Leaf vacuuming is the most effective and easiest way of removing leaves and costs $30 to $60 per hour and $5 to $10 per bag. A leaf vacuum has a similar appearance to a leaf blower, but instead of blowing the leaves it sucks them up and collects them in an attached bag. This method is an efficient way of removing leaves from the lawn without having to blow them or rake them up. The only downfall is that the bag can get heavy and require frequent emptying.
Average Leaf Clean-Up Prices by Frequency
Depending on the size of your lot and the number of trees, you may want to inquire about setting up a contract for more frequent leaf clean-up services. The more frequent the service, the less you can expect to pay per visit. The frequency of clean-up is up to the homeowner. Many people prefer to have their yards free of leaves. When a yard is cleaned up of leaves more often, less time is involved. However, when more trips are required for a company to come out to complete the work, this results in a higher expense.
Depending on your needs, leaf removal companies will work with you to set up a plan and price for regular business. You can expect to pay $150 to $500 for an annual service, depending on many factors. A one-time visit for a small yard costs $250 to $850 per year. A quarterly service, four times a year, costs $200 to $750 per year. For a monthly service, you can expect to pay between $300 and $900 per year. A bi-weekly service, 26 times a year, costs $1,170 to $1,560 per year. The table below lists the visit frequency and their respective costs.
|Frequency||Average Cost per Year|
|Annual Contract||$150 - $500|
|One-Time Visit||$200 - $850|
|Quarterly Contract||$250 - $750|
|Monthly Contract||$300 - $900|
|Bi-Weekly Contract||$1,000 - $1,500|
Leaf Clean-Up Service Cost
Three different pricing methods are common in leaf clean-up. These methods include per bag, per hour, or per acre. Most companies charge by the hour for average jobs, ranging from $15 to $60. Companies charge per acre for large properties over an acre, ranging in price between $400 and $700. Some companies may charge a minimum flat rate for leaf removal in yards smaller than 500 sq.ft. The minimum charge is usually around $75 to $200. For the average residential property, companies typically charge for bagging leaves by the bag ranging in price from $5 to $10 per bag.
One of the largest determinants of the cost associated with leaf clean-up is the yard or property size. The larger your yard, the more you can expect to pay because it takes more time and power to remove all of the leaves. Another big cost factor is the number of trees and the amount of leaves. The more trees you have, the more leaves that fall onto the ground, and therefore the higher the cost. To remove wet leaves, you can expect to pay more because they are heavier and harder to clean up. Pine needles are harder to rake or move with a leaf blower and cost more than a standard maple leaf.
Some trees may also drop things other than leaves, such as seeds and acorns, making it more difficult to get the job done. Whether the job requires a leaf blower, rake, or vacuum influences the cost of the project. The more advanced the equipment or the more workers needed increases the overall price. The table below lists the different charging methods and their average cost.
Fall Leaf Removal Cost
You can expect to pay $200 to $500 for a fall yard clean-up, on average. If you don’t take care of the leaves right when they come off the trees, then they can start to rot in your yard and clog up your gutters. Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for professional clean-up companies, so you may find that the prices are double as much as you would pay compared to other seasons. In the spring, many homeowners look into leaf removal services to remove all the leaves that fell after the fall season. This spring leaf removal service would be a one-time project and is cheaper than a fall yard clean-up. You can expect to pay $100 to $300.
Leaf Pickup Service Cost
Professional leaf pick up can be done for a fee of approximately $30 to $50. The leaf company will pick up and dispose of your leaves. A professional landscaper can haul the leaves away, leave them for city pick up, or mulch them for your yard. Another option available in some places is leaving the bagged leaves at the curb for pickup as part of regular garbage service on yard waste day. Having your leaves disposed of for you can leave you with a lot less work and stress involved in the job.
Mulching leaves is a great method of disposing of leaves by helping to reduce a pile to about one-tenth of its size. Unshredded leaves are sucked up or placed into a mulching unit where they are chopped into tiny pieces. Most times, a professional has equipment that allows for picking up and mulching the leaves at the same time, which is a quick method and great for larger jobs. For smaller yards, leaves can be mulched using a lawnmower and attachment, but they will still have to be picked up after mulching using another tool. Shredded leaves are great to use for compost or lawn fertilizer. Some companies offer mulching services at an additional cost to your project. The average cost for mulching is $50 to $150 and depends on the size of the property and the amount of leaves.
Compost is organic matter that has been allowed to decompose. Home-made compost starts as a variety of kitchen scraps including egg shells, banana peels, apple cores, and other kitchen castoffs (though dairy, meat, and poultry byproducts should be left out). Instead of throwing them in the garbage or disposal, these items can be added back into the environment and, with the help of plenty of earthworms and microscopic organisms, create great, nutrient-filled food for your soil. Dead mulched leaves are a great base for compost due to the nitrogen formed during the breakdown of the leaves. These nutrients can help to create thick, green grass for the next season. Professional companies mulch the leaves for you. If you keep them for composting, you will not pay any removal fees.
Why Clean Up Leaves?
There are many reasons why your leaves should be cleaned up other than giving your yard a tidy look and attractive curb appeal. Leaves that aren’t removed or mulched create a blanket across your yard that won’t simply decompose into the soil without any work. They will eventually cause damage to your yard by destroying your grass. The longer the leaves are left, the more likely they’ll rot. In addition to destroying grass, rotting leaves can also suffocate and cause disease in tree roots and other plants.
Leaves are also known to collect in other places such as your roof, gutters, and driveway. If you do not have gutter guards, the leaves are likely to pile up and collect in your gutters causing them to clog. This can lead to severe water backups if not cleaned. Paying attention to the need to remove leaves as they fall in the yard can help you remember to take care of your gutters, too. Wet leaves can also be problematic by collecting in corners and keeping moisture against your home. They can even cause moss to grow on the roof and other places outside the home.
Mulching Leaves vs Bagging
Mulching and bagging are two methods for removing leaves from your lawn. Mulching is the process of grinding the leaves using a mulching unit where they are shredded into one-tenth of their original size. The mulch then is used for compost or lawn fertilizer. Bagging is the process of putting leaves into bags for removal. They can then be disposed of by the leaf removal company or by your city/town through yard waste pickup. There are pros and cons to both types of removal.
Mulching can be less labor-intensive compared with bagging because it uses a mower that returns the chopped leaves into the lawn. Mulching can be a great source of nutrients for the soil without harming the lawn. One disadvantage of mulching is that if you mow dried leaves, you should wear protection from the debris. Mulching wet leaves can also be tough on the mower and sometimes still produces larger leaf pieces. Mulching may not work depending on the type of trees, such as pine, as the needles decompose too slowly and will suffocate the lawn.
Bagging leaves can leave your lawn looking neat and uncluttered and it can be good exercise to do so. Most cities/towns will pick up the bags of leaves and take them to make compost. The cons of bagging leaves include that it can be a tiring, tedious task, and the leaf blower can be quite noisy and annoy your neighbors. You must have enough bags to fill with leaves and be able to move them to the curb or disposal site. While most cities/towns allow for curbside pickup, there are some that do not and then you will have to make other arrangements.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Cleaning Leaves from Gutters
Gutters are important in keeping water away from your house. They can only do their job efficiently, however, if they are free of clogs from leaves and other debris. A professional will use a leaf blower with a special attachment to remove the leaves from the gutters. The average cost of gutter cleaning is between $150 and $225, with most homeowners spending around $190 for cleaning 100 linear feet of gutters.
The average cost for lawn care is from $65 to $150 per visit, with most homeowners spending around $100 per visit for a weekly lawn care service. Keeping your lawn looking good is a tedious job and therefore many homeowners opt into hiring a lawn service company to do the work for them. Lawn service companies will come in each week or every other week to maintain the lawn and provide services including fertilizing, mowing, yard clean-up, and much more. Every lawn is different and the needs may vary depending on the size, season, and location.
If you want to keep your yard healthy and increase regrowth for the following season then fertilizing your grass is a good option and can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on the type and size of the area. Fertilizer adds nutrients to your soil that make your grass grow green, thick, and luscious. Fertilization mainly occurs in the spring and summer, right before the main growing system, but some lawns may need additional treatment throughout the year. The cost to fertilize a lawn is dependent on the lawn size and fertilization type.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. Leaf removal can be a DIY project, but it can be a tedious job that requires a lot of strength and time. The larger your yard and the more trees, the more leaves, which can mean more physically demanding work. Using a rake can take a significant amount of time to get the job done, and of course bending and lifting the leaves into bags can be hard on the body. That is why hiring a professional lawn care company to do the job can be a wise choice.
- Licenses. Many landscaping companies offer a variety of different services that vary from company to company. In most states, a landscaper will need a license to operate and should always carry their insurance on them. To obtain this license, they must work for a minimum of 3 years as an apprentice and pass a professional exam.
- What is the best way to remove leaves?
The best way to remove leaves is using a vacuum or a leaf blower. You can also use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves if there aren’t too many.
- How much does fall leaf removal cost?
You can expect to pay from $200 to $500 for a fall yard clean-up.
- How do you remove leaves?
Leaves can be removed using a vacuum, leaf blower, a rake and bags, or lawn mower to mulch them.
- Do you have to remove leaves off your lawn?
You should remove leaves off of your lawn in order to keep them from killing your grass. Cleaning up leaves makes it more difficult for fungus, disease, mold, and mildew to grow. Wet leaves are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Without them, you'll have less mosquitoes.
- How do you dispose of leaves?
A few options are available for disposing of leaves. The first option is having your waste service take them away. Depending on your location, some have specific dates for yard waste pickup. Another option is to hire a landscape company. Finally, you can take them to the waste yard to dispose of them yourself.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.