Leaves: Rake and remove vs. mulch

Nov 26, 2013 |

Do you rake and remove leaves from your lawn, or do you use them as mulch? Like most endeavors, what’s right for some isn’t right for others. Done correctly mowing leaves can benefit your lawn, but as landscapers we also appreciate the value of a tidy green lawn year-round. To get you thinking about what it takes to mulch leaves, and what the advantages are, we put together a few points:

– The preferred tool is a mulching mower, but a regular mower can take care of leaves as long as they’re not too built up.

– Properly mulched leaf pieces should be small, the size of a postage stamp or dime.

– Keep about 1 inch of mulched leaves on your lawn. You want about half an inch of grass to still appear above the mulch. If you have a lot of leaf debris on your property you may have left-over leaves which will need to be removed from the lawn.

– Too much leaf matter will have the wrong effect on the lawn; a thick layer will encourage fungus, inhibit air circulation, and prevent sunlight from reaching the grass.

– Left over mulched leaves can be used in gardens or spread around trees and shrubs. Use about 2-3 inches for this purpose.

– Worms and microbes in the soil will break down the mulch leaves, leaving behind beneficial nutrients for your lawn and soil.

This NY Times article makes a convincing argument for mowing leaves back into the lawn. If you haven’t formed an opinion read through the article and don’t miss the comment section, some reasonable points are being made on both sides.