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Do You Really Need To Rake All Those Leaves?

Do You Really Need To Rake All Those Leaves?

Yes! Excessive leaves on your lawn going into winter is bad for several reasons. Here's why–

  • It will smother the grass, depriving it of the essential sunlight it needs, if they are not removed.
  • It will inhibit growth if left on entering spring growth.
  • It promotes the snow mold diseases.
  • Turf damage from critters (voles, mice, etc.) can be more extensive in the spring.

Here are 4 options to clear out the leaves on your lawn:

  1. Rake them up – compost the leaves or dispose of them.
  2. Use a blower – compost the leaves or dispose of them.
  3. Use the bagging attachment for your mower – compost the leaf/grass mix or dispose of it.
  4. Mulch the leaves with a mower (i.e. chop them into small pieces so they will fall into the canopy).
    This is my preferred option because the nutrients and organic matter benefit the lawn and soil.  Some leaf types have been shown to reduce weed seed germination when mulched into a lawn canopy (maples, others).  The leaves of some particular tree species (legumes like honey locust, others) might actually add a significant amount of nitrogen to lawns because these species fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, so higher leaf nitrogen contents in these leaves is possible.
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