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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Single track is covered with leaves. Told it was best to leave them on trail and let riders "mulch" them into trial over the winter. Now spring is here. Are these leaves holding water or protecting trail? Leave um or rake um off? Thanks.
 

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jennasdad said:
Single track is covered with leaves. Told it was best to leave them on trail and let riders "mulch" them into trial over the winter. Now spring is here. Are these leaves holding water or protecting trail? Leave um or rake um off? Thanks.
Rake them off, biggest problem is they can be as slippery as ice.
 

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I'd say rake em.

They hold moisture underneath and as said before can be slippery. I rake the trails on my property in the fall before it snows, then come spring they are ready to go.

Just my .02, I'm no professional. ;)
 

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I went to my first trail maintenance day yesterday. We were cutting brand new trail. After we finished the guy leading the group had us sprinkle (not cover) the new trail with leaves. The intent was to help protect the trail against rain hitting the bare dirt directly. Several of the regular workers had attended at least one IMBA trail building course so I'm sure there is sound logic behind the concept.
 

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I remove the leaves for two reasons. 1) Can't see most of the trail with the leaves until many, many, many people have ridden them and some years there aren't enough riders to do the trick. 2) The trails dry out much faster. With 3.5 miles of trails to rake it takes a few weeks to accomplish, but there is simply no benefit to leaveing the leaves.
 

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When they drop in the fall they should stay down for a while, to help establish the tread. If they are still there in the spring, take them off. I use a leaf blower, much less abrasive to the trail and much quicker.
 

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Get rid whether you rake or blow. You want the tread to be dirt and not grow anything, and you won't want to mulch or do anything that makes any more muck or mush when it rains. Then there would be the riding issues like keeping the tread visible and not slippery.

Our IMBA affiliated club actually owns and borrows leaf blowers and we have blowing the trails clear as a specific regular fall (if it can is is done) or spring task where there is lots of oak in the forest canopy. It does a lot to make low spots that do not dry so fast in better shape, and really does a lot to make the for great riding in the late fall through early spring if there is no snow cover. Many miles of leaf blowing is not fun, but it makes for a lot more biking if we have a low snow or low ice winter.

I can't understand at all the practice mentioned where one spreads leaves on the trail afterwards. If you're doing good work and making sustainable trail you want the tread cleared well so nothing grows on it and so a berm does not form, and good design solves erosion problems.

I'm not saying I know it all, but I have seen areas I've built and areas I've fixed hold up to riding and 4 seasons of weather by making a clear tread area, eliminating berm and making a path for water to escape slowly and away from the trail.

BTW: Thanks for your interest and concern for trail building!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
THANKS to all for the informative advice. Sounds like there are many good reasons to clear leaves. Another question on topic: anyone recommend a good book (beginner) on trail building/maintainence? Thanks
 

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Vecsus said:
I went to my first trail maintenance day yesterday. We were cutting brand new trail. After we finished the guy leading the group had us sprinkle (not cover) the new trail with leaves. The intent was to help protect the trail against rain hitting the bare dirt directly. Several of the regular workers had attended at least one IMBA trail building course so I'm sure there is sound logic behind the concept.
IMBA recommends covering the displaced soil from new trail construction with leaves. That's the soil which is moved below the trail tread after it is excavated. Covering the tread isn't in the book or taught in the class.

I prefer a clear trail tread, but can also appreciate a trail that doesn't get ridden enough to be cleared by use. If removing the leaves is needed for saftey reasons (hidden objects) or to make some wet spot more sustainable, I say go for it. If its to keep you from sliding out in a turn, or to keep leaves from getting stuck between your frame and tire, then leave them.
 
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