How to Pick Up Sticks in the Yard Fast: A Guide to Quick and Easy Removal

Paul West/ Backyard Maintenance

How to pick up sticks in the yard fast? Clearing sticks in your yard can seem like a tedious and time-consuming chore (especially in autumn and winter). That said, keeping your lawn free of fallen branches, twigs, and other woody debris is an important part of maintaining a healthy, attractive landscape. Plus, it only takes a few simple tools and techniques to make quick work of yard stick removal.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover why picking up sticks matters for your lawn’s wellbeing and safety. You’ll also learn step-by-step instructions for fast, efficient methods to clear sticks from your yard using tools like leaf blowers, lawn sweepers, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly removing sticks is vital for a healthy, safe lawn.
  • Leaf blowers, rakes, grabbers and lawn sweepers all help quick removal.
  • Compare top-rated tools to choose the best options for your needs.
  • Reuse sticks for compost, crafts, firewood and other eco-friendly projects.
  • Follow tips like mowing over small debris and prying up embedded sticks.

Why It’s Essential to Remove Sticks from Your Yard

Before jumping into the how-to, let’s look at the reasons why picking up sticks in the yard is so important:

Lawn Mower Safety – Sticks and branches can become dangerous projectiles when run over by a mower. They can also jam under the mower deck.

Prevent Dull Blades – Constantly mowing over sticks and branches accelerates blade wear, requiring more frequent blade sharpening or replacement.

Improve Grass Health – Excessive sticks block sunlight from reaching grass blades. They also promote fungal growth and disease.

Pest/Rodent Control – Stick piles provide shelter for pests like mice, voles and snakes. Removing them eliminates hiding spots.

Comply with Local Laws – Many municipalities prohibit piles of yard debris for safety and aesthetic reasons. Fines may be issued.

Curb Appeal – Clearing sticks gives your lawn a tidy, well-kept appearance that enhances visual appeal.

Reduce Tripping Hazards – Sticks and branches on the lawn pose tripping hazards, especially for children and elderly individuals.

Now that you understand the importance of stick removal, let’s explore your options for fast, efficient pickup methods.

Step-by-Step Guides to Quickly Picking Up Sticks

Several techniques and tools allow you to make fast work of stick cleanup in your yard. Here are some of the most effective options:

Use a Leaf Blower

Leaf blowers generate powerful concentrated air streams that can swiftly blow sticks into piles for easy pickup.

Step 1 – Use rake to loosen any sticks jammed in ground

Step 2 – Wear safety goggles and ear protection

Step 3 – Working in sections, blow debris toward a centralized collection area

Step 4 – Gather accumulated piles and dispose in debris can or compost bin

Tip: Set blower on high velocity, low volume setting to better control stick movement.

Rake by Hand

A traditional bowed rake easily collects sticks and leaves into mounds to be picked up.

Step 1 – Use a stiff, robust rake with curved tines, like a bamboo or metal leaf rake

Step 2 – Rake gently to avoid damaging grass blades as you collect debris

Step 3 – Lift and turn rake over pile to dump contents

Step 4 – Deposit accumulated piles into trash cans or lawn waste bags

Tip: It helps to rake across (not along) your mowing rows to avoid catching blades.

Grab With Pick Up Tool

Grabber tools allow you to pick up sticks without bending over using their “claw” mechanism.

Step 1 – Select a pickup tool with handles long enough to prevent bending/squatting

Step 2 – Grasp stick firmly at base with grabber jaws

Step 3 – Lift stick straight up and walk to debris pile/container

Step 4 – Release stick from grabber claws to deposit

Tip: Choose a grabber with comfortable grip and sensitive spring action.

Mow Over Debris

Running a mower over small sticks can mulch them into manageable pieces.

Step 1 – Mow lawn first on usual high setting

Step 2 – Raise mower deck to maximum height

Step 3 – Run mower over yard, mulching up sticks and leaves

Step 4 – Lower deck setting and mow again to tidy up

Tip: This won’t work well for large, heavy sticks. Focus on light debris.

Use a Powered Lawn Sweeper

Lawn sweepers use rotating brushes to sweep up and collect yard debris.

Step 1 – Attach sweeper to lawn tractor or ATV if available

Step 2 – Adjust brushes to lowest setting to hug lawn surface

Step 3 – Drive slowly over lawn as sweeper gathers debris

Step 4 – Periodically empty sweeper collection bin as needed

Tip: Wet conditions can lead to clogging issues with sweepers.

Now that you’re familiar with stick pickup methods, let’s compare popular tools to find your best option.

Reviews of the Top Rakes, Blowers and Pickup Tools

With many rakes, blowers, grabbers and sweepers to choose from, it helps to compare standout options side-by-side. Here are some of the top-rated tools for fast, easy stick and yard debris pickup:

Leaf Blowers

Model Key Features Pros Cons
Ego Power+ LB5302 600 CFM, 150 MPH, 56V battery Lightweight, cordless convenience Battery life up to 30 min
Greenworks 40V Blower 185 CFM, 110 MPH, 40V battery Very quiet operation Less power than gas models
Ryobi Gas Blower 200 MPH, 150 CFM Gas power for max blowing force Heavier and noisy

Takeaway: Battery models like the Ego offer cordless flexibility while Ryobi’s gas blower packs more oomph.

Lawn Rakes

Model Key Features Pros Cons
Gardenite Ergonomic Rake Aluminum handle, wide fan head Adjustable length, comfy grip Can’t stand upright
Worth Garden Metal Leaf Rake Bamboo handle, spring steel tines Lightweight balanced feel Tines are thin/bend easier
Bully Tools Steel Tine Rake Fiberglass handle, 22 steel tines Sturdy construction, won’t splinter Heavier than other models

Takeaway: The lightweight Gardenite is ideal for easy maneuvering while Bully Tools is the most rugged.

Pickup/Grabber Tools

Model Key Features Pros Cons
Nifty Nabber Pro 36″ non-bend handle, rapid grabber Long reach, fast spring action Jaws don’t open wide
Unger Nifty Nabber Ergonomic grip, 36″ handle Comfortable for extended use Small handle diameter
MLTOOLS Grabber 42″ handle, serrated grabber Extra long reach Locking latch can stick

Takeaway: Nifty Nabber Pro optimizes speed and reducing bending with its long, lightweight shaft.

Lawn Sweeper

Model Key Features Pros Cons
Agri-Fab 45-0492 52″ sweep width, 25 cu ft hopper Wide sweeping path Difficult to assemble
Yard Tuff YTF-42STQA 42″ sweep width, 13 cu ft hopper Very maneuverable Lower capacity than others
Ohio Steel 50SWP26 52″ sweep width, 26 cu ft hopper Large debris capacity Complex adjustments

Takeaway: The Agri-Fab model offers robust sweeping coverage to handle large yards.

Now that you’ve seen top options, choose the tools that best match your needs and property size. Also consider extras like hoppers, goggles, and ear protection to simplify the pickup process.

Eco-Friendly Uses for Collected Sticks and Branches

Once you’ve cleared sticks from your yard, reuse or repurpose them to avoid sending yard waste to crowded landfills. Here are some environmentally friendly ideas:


Chop sticks into smaller pieces and compost with other yard trimmings to create rich fertilizer for your garden.

Crafting Rustic Decor Projects

Use sticks to create unique wreaths, sculptures, centerpieces and other decorative items for your home and garden.

Building Wildlife Shelters

Make beneficial bug houses, bird feeders, or hedgehog homes from natural sticks and branches.

Making DIY Weed Killer

Boil freshly pruned twigs and sticks to create an all-natural weed killing spray for your lawn and gardens.

Kindling for Campfires

Keep a stash of sticks and twigs on hand for easy fire starting and fuel when camping or using a fire pit.

Smoking Foods

Use stick bundles when smoking meats, fish, jerky or cheese in a smoker or grill. Imparts delicate flavor.

Additional Tips and Common Questions

Here are some final pointers and answers to frequent queries on stick removal:

  • Use a flat bladed shovel to pry up sticks firmly embedded in the ground.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and watch your footing when carrying piles of woody debris.
  • Monitor areas near trees/woodlines where sticks accumulate and tackle monthly.
  • Avoid removing sticks immediately after high winds when debris will be heaviest.
  • Don’t include any black walnut sticks as they contain a natural herbicide.
  • Disinfect tools after handling sticks by cleaning with rubbing alcohol to prevent disease spread.
  • Have separate bins/cans for woody sticks vs softer leaf litter, if planning to compost.

Does lifting sticks pull up grass roots?

Gently lifting sticks will not disturb turfgrass roots significantly. Just take care to not forcefully yank up sticks that seem firmly lodged in the ground.

Is it OK to mow over sticks and branches?

It’s fine to mulch over smaller sticks and twigs but larger branches can damage mower blades or throw dangerous projectiles.

Can sticks go in municipal yard waste pickup?

Most municipal waste haulers allow sticks under certain size limits to be placed in yard debris bins for regular collection. Just check your local guidelines on permitted materials.

That’s That Then

Regularly removing fallen sticks, branches and woody debris is crucial for maintaining a healthy, hazard-free lawn. While it may seem like a daunting chore, with the right tools and techniques like power blowers, ergonomic rakes or grabbers, you can make quick work of yard stick cleanup. Just tackle stick removal routinely before sticks accumulate and get out of control. And always dispose of or repurpose sticks in eco-friendly ways.

With this comprehensive guide’s tips, you now have all the knowledge needed to efficiently pick up sticks from your yard fast. Just choose the best method and tools for your needs, grab your debris bin or compost pile, and get grabbing! Your lawn will look pristine in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of rake is best for removing sticks?

The optimal rake for stick removal has a curved, fan-shaped bamboo or metal head with sturdy, stiff tines. This allows you to easily rake debris into mounds while avoiding excessive bending. Choose a rake made of high quality materials that won’t easily bend or splinter under force.

How do you pick up sticks on a hill?

Removing sticks on slopes and hills takes a bit more effort. Use a stiff rake and rake downward to pull debris into piles at the base of the hill. You can also carefully blow sticks downslope with a leaf blower set on a low power setting. For safety, approach the slope from the side to avoid slipping.

Why are there so many sticks in my yard?

Excessive fallen sticks usually occur due to overhanging branches, nearby woods, storms breaking branches or inefficient yard maintenance. Trimming back encroaching branches helps reduce future stick drops. Also regularly removing sticks monthly stops them accumulating.

Can I burn yard sticks and branches?

Many areas prohibit open burning of yard waste due to air pollution and safety concerns. However, small recreational fires burning clean wood may be allowed. Check your city regulations. Some communities permit burning only during certain seasons and times.

How short can I cut sticks to go in yard waste bags?

Most municipalities require sticks be cut into lengths no longer than 4 feet in order to fit easily into yard debris collection bags without ripping them. Sticks between 1-2 feet are ideal. Cut sticks over 6 inches in diameter should also be split lengthwise.

What should I avoid when picking up sticks?

Avoid yanking up sticks stuck firmly in the ground as this can tear grass roots. Also steer clear of poison ivy vines when removing sticks. And do not include sticks from black walnut trees, as they contain juglone, a substance toxic to plants. Wear gloves and watch your step when carrying sticks.

Further Reading

Paul West
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About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!