Why You Should Rake and Bag or Mulch Your Leaves in the Fall

 November 29, 2017

As leaves fall, you may be tempted to just leave them, especially if your property has a lot of trees. For a variety of reasons, this is a bad idea. While it may look okay at first, as rain and snow begin to break down the leaves, they will blacken and become a slick mess. The longer you leave them, the wetter and harder to clean up they’ll become.  The extra moisture on your lawn can also lead to diseases like snow mold, which will result in circular brown patches on your lawn next spring.

Why You Should Mulch Your Leaves

Leaves are full of nutrients. Your lawn needs nutrients. Mulching your leaves delivers those nutrients to your lawn, and involves less work than taking the time to rake and bag leaves. And, you don’t have to pay for nitrogen-based fertilizers. So, it’s better for your lawn, less work, and less expensive.

If you’re a gardener, you may want to consider composting your leaves, and use the compost on flower or vegetable gardens. Simply place the leaves into a large bin, add other compostable material like vegetable waste, plant and garden trimmings, and rake or stir once or twice month to speed up decomposition.

Aren’t Leaves – Especially Oak Leaves—Bad for My Lawn?

No. This is an old wives’ tale that may have come about because wet leaves left on lawns over winter can cause damage or disease. All leaves, even oak leaves, contain nutrients that are beneficial to your lawn. Finely mulched leaves will deliver those nutrients to you lawn.

When You Should Rake and Remove Leaves

If you regularly fertilize your lawn, mulching may be too much of a good thing. In this case, you may want to rake and bag leaves. Some communities will collect leaves for mulching and make the mulch available to residents for use in their gardens.

How Often Do I Need to Remove Leaves?

You’ll need to remove leaves throughout the fall. Depending on where you live, this may last four to six weeks. Doing it in stages, rather than waiting until all the leaves are down, may end up being less work in the long run. If you’re mulching the leaves, your mower may be unable to handle a thick carpet of leaves as efficiently, leading to more passes and larger pieces of mulch.

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