One of my favorite activities in fall is gathering pine cones with my kids. They love running around on the lawn, no matter how much I tell them to be careful about the needles.
In the end, you ensure their safety by removing the excessive leftovers. Hand-picking is not an option for someone with a terrible back.
When all these issues started to bother me, I decided to put my foot down and find out how to pick up pine cones like a pro.
There are many tools specialized for picking up pines cones, but the process is the same. Each apparatus will remove them meticulously. Besides, the old-fashioned raking over the grass is not lost to me either.
The best news is that all options are pretty fun to work with.
7 Cool Ways to Pick Up Pine Cones
So, how do you collect pine cones? I have tried out most options mentioned below. The rest I gathered by asking around the neighbors to learn about different means.
Just when the pine cone falling season begins, we reunite to decide which way to opt for this year.
You can try it out with your friends and family too. I make sure to include my eldest kids to keep the legacy on.
1. Get Yourself A Pine Rake
It is not what you have in mind. This rake is specific in picking pine cones with its unique design.
Regular rakes are straightforward with wider tines. They cannot trap the smaller cones despite your full effort. Why waste time and energy raking the same area repeatedly?
So, go for a pine rake. It comprises long tines with little spaces in between. The structure allows you to snare the little ones alongside the needles confidently.
It offers maximum use by delivering a wide scope of clearance, even in constrained places. I recommend buying a lightweight one with an adjustable head and foldable handle.
If you want to buy something for a yearly operation, why not get the best!
2. Using A Regular Rake
Suppose you do not wish to spend extra at the moment. You already have the standard rake to remove leaves. How do you implement it for ridding of the pine cones?
Although I said it is difficult to entrap them using this rake, I never said it was impossible.
Grab the handle and rotate the rake in the opposite direction. The teeth should face up.
Most designs have braces by the head. You utilize that section in the scraping technique to lift cones.
After collecting a sufficient number, you dump them in a collection bag or a bucket.
I call this the Classic Way.
A Bag-A-Nut is a non-motorized harvesting equipment for nuts. Although it is a commercial unit, any lawn owner with pine trees can obtain one for regular use.
The device works like a lawnmower, but instead of a deck with sharp blades, it comprises a large roller at the back.
This roller incorporates bristles to cling the acorns, nuts, needles, and pine cones into them. There you go!
Just a simple stroll with a Bag-A-Nut (as if walking with a baby’s stroller) will gather the nuisances quickly before someone gets hurt.
The only drawback is that the roller cannot work well on soft ground/grasses. It can collect only about 15% of the fallen cones at the time.
On the contrary, it gathers about 40% of the cones/acorns from hard or concrete surfaces.
Honestly, I am not making up these names! Stab-A-Nut is the smaller version of the Bag-A-Nut.
It offers a long handle with a head filled with hard bristles. There is a push-down ejection system by the handle top.
So, you stab at the pine cones instead of rolling the tool over them. Then expel the collection into a bag/bucket. That is all you have to do. If you want to release your fury without causing any damage, I find this device a charming solution.
It is like hitting two birds with a stone.
Its disadvantage is that it is suitable for smaller pine cones only.
5. Lawn Sweeper
Do you have a lawn sweeper? Then you are saved from all the hassles of buying new tools. Most homeowners with big lawns or landscapers have this gadget in their storage.
Some might also know it as a lawn brush or leaf sweeper. You pull or push the equipment across your turf to pick twigs, debris, leaves, grass clippings, etc.
The brush in the device rotates as you maneuver to propel forward, allowing the collection bag at the rear to fill up with scraps.
I admit that it can take up considerable space in your garage or storage room. However, it is a multipurpose unit.
6. Grab a Wizard!
Now, this tool is my favorite, and I even let my children work with it as an activity. The wizard, being apt by its title, is a fantastic picker-upper.
You do not have to wait for the lawn ground to be soft or hard. It rolls on any surface except water, obviously.
It consists of a long handle and a rugby ball-shaped frame with flexible arms. Simply roll the thing over the pine cones and acorns to force them inside the entrapment.
This tool is so handy it has become a popular means to pick up various nuts, acorns, cones, etc., all over the states.
7. Hand Picking
Remember when I said I let my kids gather pine cones? Never allow them to participate in the activity without hand gloves.
Cone skin is sharp – I do not doubt it after accumulating so many cuts. Still, if the old method of hand-picking is your way to clean the yard, put on gloves.
But I must warn you about potential back pain due to constant bending up and down movement.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When do pine cones fall?
Symbolizing autumn are pine cones. Children and adults can search for pine cones scattered among crunchy fallen leaves and pine needles on the woodland floor.
Most pine cones fall to the ground in the autumn, so you can usually find them between September and December. Forests, parks, and gardens with conifer trees are the best places to find them.
2. What should I do with the gathered pine cones?
You can use some of them for craft purposes to create artistic projects before Christmas. You can even roast the pine seeds as snacks.
You can also leave extra seeds in the wilderness to fulfill their part in nature. Here are some other ways to use pine cones:
- Kids’ Craft Activities
From owls to cows, you can make any number of pine cone characters and creatures to keep little ones entertained. Each piece can be customized by adding twigs, coloured paper, felt or paints.
- Tasty Snacks
Pine seeds are edible, did you know that? It is best to roast or toast them rather than eat them raw. By keeping pine cones warm and dry, you can encourage their seeds to open.
As we gather and forage from nature, let us only take a small amount and leave plenty behind so nature can fulfill its purpose.
- Organic Mulch
Whether used whole or broken up, pine cones make great organic mulch since they take a long time to decompose.
In addition to retaining moisture and suppressing weeds, they also look good around trees and flower beds. Additionally, they provide useful habitat for spiders and are good natural slug repellents.
- Help Wildlife
It’s also the time of year when wildlife needs a little extra assistance to make it through the colder months. It is fun to make pine cone bird feeders or ladybird palaces, or to add them to bug hotels for other minibeasts.
- Decorate Your Home
It doesn’t matter how artistic you are, pine cones can be used to make a variety of decorations! You can create a cozy atmosphere in your home by simply placing some in a vase or bowl, especially if you combine them with other autumnal accents. For a festive look, add fairy lights, tinsel, or mini baubles.
Depending on your creativity, you could make pine cone garlands, wreaths, baubles, and place names. You can keep them simple and rustic or add paint and other craft materials to make them more colorful. Be as creative as you like!
3. What is the fastest way to pick up pine cones?
The fastest way to pick up pine cones will depend on the quantity of pine cones and the area you need to cover.
The pine cone wizard is highly famous for being a fun, quick picker-upper. Go for a pine rake if the cones have mainly fallen on the roof.
The Bottom Line
If you do not pick up the excessive pine cones and needles, they may thwart the small grass from growing. It is one of the reasons why I had to figure out how to pick up pine cones in various ways.
I hope this guide helps you in the long run as you prep yourself for the looming season. Have fun!