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Leaves! Mulch vs. Rake

Posted 2014-10-30

It's the heart of our fall season, and all of those lovely, colorful leaves are now falling like crazy!  We all know, whole leaves left on the lawn over the winter can do a lot of damage to the turf, as it will inhibit the turf's ability to photosynthesize and can cause snow mold.  So what is the best and easiest way to get rid of them?  Spend hours raking, blowing and bagging?  Actually the best way to rid your lawn of leaves is to mulch them with your mower.  Studies conducted by Purdue University and Michigan State University have found that mulching the leaves regularly with your mower is a very effective way to remove heavy leaf coverage and causes no harm to the turf at all.  Some even suggest the tiny leaf pieces left behind can actually improve the soil quality as they break down over time.

The key to effectively utilizing leaf mulching is to mow on a regular basis.  Obviously, allowing several inches of leaves to accumulate on the lawn will deter effective mulching, so mow as often as needed to effectively mulch a thin layer of leaves each time. You may have to mow over the same area several times if the leaves are especially thick in certain spots. Also, be sure the leaves are dry when trying to mow, as wet leaves will not mulch properly and could do damage to your mower. 

Mulching your leaves is a wonderful option in lieu of labor-intensive raking, blowing, vacuuming and bagging of your leaves.  Plus it's greener for our environment, as there is no need to dispose of all those leaf bags!  Happy mulching!