How to Pick Up Leaves With Riding Mower

Are you tired of spending endless hours raking leaves and debris from your yard? Do you have a large property that makes it challenging to keep up with the constant shedding of leaves during autumn? Using a riding mower to pick up leaves might be your solution.

How to Pick Up Leaves With Riding Mower

Nothing can ruin the perfect lawn faster than a significant buildup of fallen leaves. Trying to rake them all up by hand is arduous, but have no fear – with a riding mower, you can quickly and easily pick up those pesky leaves!

In this blog post, we’ll walk through how to pick up leaves with riding mower. Don’t let falling leaves prevent you from enjoying a beautiful, well-maintained lawn year-round – follow these simple steps and learn how easy it can be!

What Will You Need?

Before we dive into the steps, let’s make sure you have everything you need to get started. Here are some items that will come in handy when using a riding mower to pick up leaves:

  • A properly functioning riding mower with a bagger attachment
  • A lawn sweeper or leaf blower (optional)
  • Work gloves and protective eyewear (recommended)

With these items in hand, you’re ready to pick up leaves with your riding mower!

10 Easy Steps on How to Pick Up Leaves With Riding Mower

Step 1. Check the Manual

Before picking up leaves with a riding mower, it is essential to check the owner’s manual for any specific instructions. Different riding mowers may have additional requirements for safely picking up leaves, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with your particular machine before beginning.

Step 2. Adjust the Mower Deck

Once you are familiar with the instructions in the manual, you can begin adjusting your mower deck. Most riding mowers have a lever that allows you to adjust the height of the cutting blades. For picking up leaves, it is best to set the blades at their highest setting so they do not come into contact with any objects on the ground while mowing.

Adjusting Your Mower Deck.

Step 3. Use the Leaf Blower Attachment

Many riding mowers come equipped with a leaf blower attachment that can be used to pick up large amounts of leaves quickly and easily in a short amount of time. The leaf blower attachment uses air pressure to blow leaves into a pile or bag, which can then be disposed of or composted. It is essential to ensure that all safety precautions are followed when using this type of attachment on your riding mower.

Step 4. Start the Mowing Process

After you’ve adjusted the mower deck and attached the leaf blower, you can start the mowing process. Begin by steering your riding mower toward the area with the most leaves. Try to mow in a pattern that allows you to pick up leaves efficiently without making too many turns or going over the same area multiple times.

Remember to drive slowly and steadily, giving the mower time to properly collect and bag the leaves. It may take several passes to completely clear the area of leaves, especially if they are densely packed.

Step 5. Empty the Bagger

Depending on the amount of leaves in your yard, the bagger attached to your riding mower may fill up quickly. When the bagger is complete, stop the mower and carefully remove the bag. Empty the leaves into a compost pile or yard waste bag. Once the bag is emptied, reattach it to the mower and continue mowing until all leaves are collected.

Step 6. Repeat the Process

After emptying the bagger, you should repeat the mowing process. Continue to steer your riding mower systematically around your yard, picking up leaves and filling the bagger. Overlap your previous path slightly to ensure you get all the areas. Remember to go slow and steady to allow the mower time to pick up and bag the leaves effectively. This part of the process may need to be repeated several times depending on the amount and density of leaves on your lawn.

Step 7. Check for Missed Spots

Once you have completed the mowing process, it’s time to check for any missed spots. Park your riding mower and take a walk around your yard. Look for areas where leaves may still be lying. If you find any, start your riding mower again and review these areas until all the leaves are picked up. Ensure your bagger is not overflowing during this process; empty it if necessary. Your goal is to have a lawn that’s free from fallen leaves.

Step 8. Clean Your Mower

After successfully picking up all the leaves, cleaning your riding mower is crucial. Remove any leaf residue from the mower deck, blades, and bagging system to prevent clogs and maintain mower performance. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection during this process.

Cleaning Your Riding Mower

You can use a brush or air blower to clean the undercarriage and blades.  Remember to disconnect the spark plug before cleaning the blades for safety reasons. Once you’ve cleaned your mower thoroughly, store it in a dry, protected area. This step not only prolongs the life of your mower but also ensures it will be ready for the next leaf collection task.

Step 9. Compost or Dispose of the Leaves

After picking up all the leaves with your riding mower and cleaning your equipment, decide what to do with the collected leaves. Fallen leaves make an excellent addition to compost piles due to their high carbon content, aiding in creating rich, nutritious compost that can be used in your garden.

If you don’t have a compost pile, consider starting one. Alternatively, you can bag and dispose of the leaves according to your local waste management guidelines. Remember, some communities offer leaf recycling programs, turning them into mulch or compost that residents can use for free. This step not only cleans up your yard but also contributes to environmental sustainability.

Step 10. Perform Regular Maintenance

Once all the leaves have been picked up and disposed of, performing regular maintenance on your riding mower is crucial to ensure it’s ready for future tasks. Check all mower parts, including the engine, blades, and bagging system, for signs of wear or damage. If necessary, replace worn parts in a timely.

Regularly changing the oil, cleaning the air filter, and sharpening the blades will keep your mower running efficiently. Remember, a well-maintained mower performs better and extends the life of your equipment. Regular maintenance is the final step in successfully picking up leaves with your riding mower.

Cleaning the Air Filter

Following these steps, you can safely and efficiently pick up leaves with your riding mower. Always read the manual for your specific mower model and follow all safety precautions.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Adjust the Mower Deck Height: Set your riding mower’s deck to the highest. This allows the mower to pick up more leaves without clogging.
  2. Slow Down Your Speed: Riding at a slower speed allows the mower more time to suck up the leaves. It might take a bit more time, but it’s effective.
  3. Use a Mulching Blade: If your riding mower needs to be equipped with a mulching blade, consider getting one. These blades chop the leaves into small pieces, making them easier to bag or compost.
  4. Maintain Your Equipment: Keep the mower blades sharp and the bagging system clean. Leaves can be damp and sticky, which can cause issues with a dull blade or a clogged bagging system.
  5. Mow in a Pattern: Try to mow in a specific pattern, such as a spiral or back-and-forth, to collect the leaves more efficiently. This way, you are not scattering leaves to areas you’ve already cleaned.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can make the most of your riding mower and quickly pick up leaves without hassle.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Avoid Mowing Wet Leaves: Wet leaves can clog the mower and make picking them up harder. Try to mow only when the leaves are dry.
  2. Avoid Ignoring Safety Precautions: Always wear safety glasses and sturdy shoes. You should also avoid wearing loose clothing that might get caught in the mower.
  3. Avoid Large Sticks or Rocks: These could harm your mower’s blade or engine. Before you start mowing, clear your yard of any large debris.
  4. Avoid Overloading the Leaf Bag: Trying to fit too many leaves into a bag can strain your mower and make it less efficient. It’s better to empty the bag more often.
  5. Avoid Ignoring Maintenance: Regular maintenance and checks prolong your mower’s lifespan and ensure it operates at its best. If your mower struggles picking up leaves, it may be time for a service.
Wear Safety Glasses

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you use your riding mower to pick up leaves more effectively and safely.


To recap, now that you know how to pick up leaves with riding mower, not just let them sit there and decompose naturally, you are in a much better position to get the job done quickly.

Remember always to wear protective gloves and glasses when picking up leaves; use a rake or grabber for reach and convenience; push the leaves together into more enormous piles that will fit onto the bagging attachment of your mower; be sure to empty your bagger frequently so as not to compromise performance; and dispose of the collected leaves properly, either via composting or local disposal methods.

Knowing these tips, you can achieve optimum results in picking up leaves with a riding lawnmower! With these instructions in mind, take action now and start collecting those pesky fallen leaves!

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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