Do you have plants in your garden? 


I am assuming the answer is “yes” if you are reading a gardening blog.  If you have trees, shrubs and ground covers in your landscape, then you have to deal with cleaning up fallen leaves.

 
It used to be that the tool of choice for cleaning up dead leaves was a trusty leaf rake.  As a child, I remember scattering the piles of leaves that my father had spent hours carefully raking up, much to his dismay.

 

 
Well that was then.  Now, we have helpful equipment such as leaf blowers that make cleaning up leaves much easier.


As a member of Troy-Bilt’s Saturday 6, I have partnered with the folks at Troy-Bilt on their new campaign and have been able to try out quite a few of their products.   


 
Early last year, I had the opportunity to test one of Troy-Bilt’s handheld leaf blowers.  I was impressed at how easily it started and its relatively light weight, which made it easy to use.
 
For my own landscape, Troy-Bilt sent me a 4-cycle TB4BP backpack blower to try out.
 
 
The blower came with easy to follow directions, which made assembly easy.  Troy-Bilt also has a helpful video that guides new users in step-by-step assembly, including instructions for use and how to maintain the blower.
 
 
The backpack harness is adjustable and made from a nylon mesh, which help keeps the wearer cool.
 
 
I must confess that I do not like pull-starts.  As a horticulturist and certified arborist, I have had to operate my share of equipment and it can be challenging for a woman to use equipment that has a pull-start.
 
One of the things that I have been most impressed with, after operating numerous pieces of Troy-Bilt equipment, is how easy it is to use their pull-starts.  In addition, much of their equipment has the ability to be started with JumpStart.
 
 
This rechargeable starter uses a drill bit, that fits into a portal and starts up equipment without having to use a pull-start.  
 
I did not have to use the JumpStart for my new leaf blower, because the pull start was easy to use.
 
 
The front landscape was filled with fallen flowers, leaves and seed pods, so I got to work.
 
My palo verde tree had finished flowering and the fallen flowers had dried and faded, so I used my leaf blower to help clean them up.
 
 
I then moved onto using the blower to collect a few fallen seedpods from my cascalote tree into a pile.
 
On the inner handle of the blower is a cruise control lever, which allows you to set the speed of the air blowing out.
 
 
The next task for my new blower was cleaning up the fallen leaves from my large sissoo tree. 
 
 
I got a little carried away with the power of the leaf blower – it can blow up to 150 mph, which is helpful for large piles.  My piles weren’t too big, so I used the cruise control lever on the handle to lock in the desired speed.
 
 
I blew the leaves into a corner, which made it easy to trap the leaves.
 
 
Did I mention that Troy-Bilt sells vacuums that can suck up leaves?  I may need to get one 😉
 
 
Did you know that leaves can make a great mulch for plants?  In nature, leaves fall and decay, enriching the soil. I took some of the leaves and used them around my newly-planted feathery cassia shrubs.
 
 
I took the rest of my newly-blown leaves and put them in my compost pile, where are considered “browns” or carbon-rich material.  The other part of compost is made up of “greens” or nitrogen-rich material.  
 
The leaves will break down and enrich my compost, which I will later use in my edible gardens.
 
 
I took my blower into my largest edible garden where I used it to clean out fallen debris underneath my blackberry bushes.
 
**For areas struggling with drought, a leaf blower can be a great way to clean a sidewalk, driveway or deck instead of using spraying with water.  I love seeing dirt being blown out of the seams in my patio.
 
 
The TB4BP is a 4-cycle Gas Leaf Blower that runs on unleaded gasoline – there is no need to mix gas and oil.  
 
Thoughts and observations:
 
– The leaf blower was surprisingly light and the backpack was comfortable.  After blowing my entire landscape, my back felt fine.
 
– The blower worked great for blowing leaves, but without using the cruise control, the powerful engine can blow piles apart when you are attempting to pull them together.  So, I will always use the cruise control to set the desired speed.
 
– The long, flexible handle was easy to use and decreased the elbow strain that some people can get moving a hand-held leaf blower side to side.
 
– As I mentioned before, this blower is very easy to start.
 
If you have a large garden, then a backpack blower may be just what you need.  However, for those of you who have a smaller landscape, one of Troy-Bilt’s handheld leaf blowers may be just right for you.
 
The great news is that folks at Troy-Bilt are allowing me to give away a brand new leaf blower!
 
The winner of this giveaway can choose the TB4BP Backpack model or the handheld TB4HB Gas Leaf Blower model.
 
All you need to do is leave a comment.  For an extra entry, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter and be sure to let me know when you leave a comment.
(Be sure to leave your email address if it’s not on your profile, or I won’t have any way to contact you.)
 
I will pick a random entry on Saturday, May 31st.UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO WON!

 
*******************
 
I am a proud owner of several pieces of Troy-Bilt equipment.  You can read about my experience with Troy-Bilt’s Neighborhood Rider Lawn Mower and my String Trimmer, Cultivator and Chain Saw.
I am paid for my involvement with the Saturday 6 and the equipment, described above, was provided to me at no cost by TroyBilt, who wanted my honest opinion – good or bad.  I can honestly state that I am very impressed by the quality and design of their leaf blowers and other pieces of equipment that I have tested.
 
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

61 replies
  1. little addictions
    little addictions says:

    This contest is perfect timing! I was outside this morning wondering what I could do about all the leave my Bottle tree has been shedding. I felt like it was autumn in May! I'm wondering if the tree needs more water or if it's supposed to shed this time of year? I love the Bottle Tree but the mess it's been making lately makes my succulent garden look like it's in the woods rather than a rock garden. Fingers crossed! Thx! 😀

    Reply
  2. little addictions
    little addictions says:

    This contest is perfect timing! I was outside this morning wondering what I could do about all the leaves my Bottle Tree has been shedding. I felt like it was autumn in May. I'm wondering if the tree needs more water or if it's supposed to shed this time of year? I love the Bottle Tree but the mess it's been making lately makes my succulent garden (planted nearby) look like it's in the woods rather than a rock garden. Fingers crossed! Thx! 😀

    Reply
  3. Renee Aquino
    Renee Aquino says:

    This blower is exactly what my family and I need for our 7800 sq foot yard. It is terribly expensive to hire landscapers each month to do basic yard maintenance with the average cost per month of $85 – $105. In an effort to cut expenses, this would be an ideal solution for our family. Thanks for the presenting this amazing contest offer…I'll pray that we win! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Deb
    Deb says:

    Would love to win this! Also, can you post a photo of your entire back garden? It may not be possible, but I'd love to see the whole view in one shot??

    Reply
  5. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    Love your blog, and how great to have the opportunity to win this leaf blower! We have leaves upon leaves upon leaves.. From our trees and all the neighbors, and probably neighboring states, when the CO winds get to blowing.. Not to mention the Chinook winds!

    Reply
  6. Linda Worsnop
    Linda Worsnop says:

    Hi,Noelle,
    I would LOVE to win this leaf blower to help me with my yard filled with leaves from my 3 huge mulberry trees, my tangerine tree and multiple other leafing plants!! It would also be wonderful for blowing off the sidewalk and carport of leaves and constant dirt!! Because it is lightweight, I would be able to use it even with my bad back!! Thanks for all the helpful information I continually find on your site!! I LOVE your ideas and great pictures!!!
    Blessings,
    Linda Worsnop

    Reply
  7. Linda Worsnop
    Linda Worsnop says:

    Hi,Noelle,
    I would LOVE to win this leaf blower to help me with my yard filled with leaves from my 3 huge mulberry trees, my tangerine tree and multiple other leafing plants!! It would also be wonderful for blowing off the sidewalk and carport of leaves and constant dirt!! Because it is lightweight, I would be able to use it even with my bad back!! Thanks for all the helpful information I continually find on your site!! I LOVE your ideas and great pictures!!!
    Blessings,
    Linda Worsnop

    Reply
  8. mkeeney
    mkeeney says:

    I need one of these! I have lots of gravel and lots of leaves and it's impossible to rake the leaves without also raking up ten tons of gravel! Besides, I'd rather do this than vacuum the house! 🙂

    Reply
  9. missreneer
    missreneer says:

    We just bought a leaf blower and it just won't do the job unfortunately(we were being cheap..lol) This would be a major blessing. Thanks for the amazing giveaway and review 🙂

    Renee
    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  10. Sabrina Campbell
    Sabrina Campbell says:

    I recently purchased my first home and am "trying" to turn the yards into something that doesn't resemble the abandoned house that it does now. Since i am just starting out, I have only a rake and a spade; I'm still borrowing the mower and the broom does okay-ish with the rest. I'm so glad to jave found you and your blog for inspiration! And a blower would really be great as my first piecw of power equipment. Here's to hoping to win!!!

    Reply
  11. Sabrina Campbell
    Sabrina Campbell says:

    I just bought my first home and am doing what I can to make thw yarda look less like they belong to an abandoned house. I'm glad to have found you and your blog for inspiration and guidance for landscaping in the desert southwest (El Paso). Since I am starting from zero, I have a rake and a spade to my name, I borrow a mower amd the broom does okay-ish with the rest. The winds make that a never ending battle! A blower would be a wonderful addition to my arsenal. Here's to hoping I win!!

    Reply
  12. Deane Alban
    Deane Alban says:

    We got rid of all our yard equipment when we moved from Maryland to Tucson since I wasn't sure what we'd need here. Turns out I didn't need the lawnmower, but I should have kept my blower, that's for sure! Please count me in – I could really use this! We have 2 palo verdes and several mesquite trees and I this time of year I have to sweep everything daily.

    Reply
  13. Amy Orvin
    Amy Orvin says:

    Nice giveaway! I need a blower so bad. We have this 40 year old magnolia tree in the front yard that rains leaves everyday from April to July. So, you can imagine how many leaves I rake up every other day. Thanks for the chance.

    I follow you on Facebook as Amy Orvin

    Email: 2dogs5catscrew@att.net

    Reply
  14. Jill
    Jill says:

    Great review. Always looking to add new "tools" to the arensenal. My gardens aspire to be like yours! Moved to Chihuahua Desert region after 19+ years in San Joaquin Valley of California. Our Myer Lemon trees could be twins except mine had a tad more hail damage 🙂

    JC

    Reply
  15. Aaron Dalton
    Aaron Dalton says:

    Hm. I think I may be in the (extreme) minority here — but I'd say, "Why use a leaf blower at all?"

    As you pointed out, the leaves make a good mulch. With the exception of oak leaves, I've found that most leaves break down fairly quickly here in Tennessee. (Though perhaps leaves take much longer to break down in Arizona?)

    I understand that there are aesthetic reasons to want to blow leaves into corners, but I think this is one of those instances where the world would be a better place if we could all learn to live with — and even enjoy — a bit more messiness in our gardens.

    From an eco standpoint, the idea of using gasoline to move leaves around just doesn't seem to make much sense. A 2011 Edmunds article last year made the case that gas leaf blowers can emit far more pollutants than a pickup truck! Crazy, right? http://www.edmunds.com/about/press/leaf-blowers-emissions-dirtier-than-high-performance-pick-up-trucks-says-edmunds-insidelinecom.html

    (The 4-stroke engine — which I think is the one on the model you're giving away — performed much better than the 2-stroke, but still…)

    And then there's the noise pollution. And the fact they contribute to particulate matter pollution by kicking up dust and other debris – http://webcms.pima.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6/File/Government/Environmental%20Quality/Air/Fugitive%20Dust/LeafBlowingMattersEnglish.pdf

    Overall, I'd encourage you to rethink this giveaway. If you think a leaf blower is really necessary in the garden, perhaps an electric model would be quieter and less polluting? Looks like Troy-Bilt makes one of those too! http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troybilt/tb180b-electric-leaf-blower

    Reply
  16. bailey
    bailey says:

    You always write about issues which concern me. I had never thought of the leaf blower to clean off the patio. Currently, the water hose is the only thing that works right now, and I don t like to waste water. Then, there are always tons of flowers from my palo brae tree – great idea to use the blower. Thank you for sponsoring this give away. I love your blog!

    Reply
  17. Rusthawk
    Rusthawk says:

    This looks like exactly what I need! I really like that jump start feature too. Thanks for the chance to win it, we sure could use a new one. I'm following you on facebook.

    Reply
  18. Kim
    Kim says:

    We just closed on a house today with NO landscaping. I am reading your blog to help me decide what things will grow in this climate. Thanks for all your great information.

    Reply
  19. Bobbi Austin
    Bobbi Austin says:

    I would love to win this leaf blower. I need one to control the tree area in my yard.

    Looks like a woman can handle the weight of the blower, you are not a very big woman.

    Reply
  20. Holly
    Holly says:

    Our electric blower just fell apart two weeks ago and I would love to replace it with this one! Loving your pics from Bisbee, have been wanting to go for a while but haven't made it there yet. When I do go, I'm going to find that huge Jasmine and take in that wonderful aroma!

    Reply
  21. M
    M says:

    I would love to have this leaf blower!! We are new home owners and last fall raked our entire yard… big mistake! A leaf blower would make it so much easier, and free up our time to do some fall gardening 🙂

    Reply
  22. mareee grandy
    mareee grandy says:

    This would really help me to clean my yard of leaves , after having both my wrists implanted with titanium this would be easier to use as it is on your back,I love gardening and taking care of my property this would keep me busy and at the same time keep the weight off my wrists, Thank you and good luck to all!

    Reply
  23. JOSE E TORRES
    JOSE E TORRES says:

    Like your blog, like your articles on houzz there good information. Wish you the best on your future posts and articles.
    The blower sounds excelant for any yard hat you are trying to maintai.

    Reply
  24. JOSE E TORRES
    JOSE E TORRES says:

    Excellent blog and great articles on houzz for the Arizona landscape. Great way for people out of state to inform them selves on this unique landscape we have here in Arizona. Wishing you the best on more blogs and articles.

    This blower would be ideal for any yard. Good luck everyone.

    Reply
  25. Cindy LaMunyon
    Cindy LaMunyon says:

    Hi Noelle,
    I would love to be the lucky recipient of the Troy built blower. We just bought a property with 1.25 acres with irrigation. We have great plans for the landscape and I know this will come in handy!

    Cindy

    Reply
  26. Rusthawk
    Rusthawk says:

    Oh, I loved your Bisbee post! So many beautiful pictures (and ideas) ….loved the star jasmine – wow! And the Iceberg rose ….do beautiful massing like that! I'm taking the extra entry for following you on twitter @rusthawk, I sure could use this blower. Wonderful pics!

    Reply
  27. little addictions
    little addictions says:

    Thanks again for your occasional giveaways–all your loyal fans and readers come out of the woodwork (including me!). Have you thought about a super special giveaway one day—an hour of your expertise? I'd love to see how many comments you get for that on!
    Here's hoping I'm the lucky girl today!
    Love your blog. Thanks for writing it!

    Reply
  28. little addictions
    little addictions says:

    Thanks again for your occasional giveaways–all your loyal fans and readers come out of the woodwork (including me!). Have you thought about a super special giveaway one day—an hour of your expertise? I'd love to see how many comments you get for that on!

    Here's hoping I'm the lucky girl today!
    Love your blog. Thanks for writing it!

    Reply
  29. carart1
    carart1 says:

    Hi,

    Enjoy your blog. It seems I'm always having to sweep and clean up the seed pods from the Texas mesquite in my front yard and the willow acacia in my backyard so I would LOVE to win a leaf blower.

    Reply

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