Do You Really Need to Rake the Leaves in Your Yard?
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
As the weather cools off, the leaves begin changing colors, and you likely have all things fall on the mind. However, as trees begin losing their leaves, you may wonder – do you really need to rake them up?
That’s a good question. Keep reading for some scenarios that may apply and recommendations for each one.
When to Rake the Leaves in Your Yard
Here is what you should know if it ever seems like a good idea to leave the leaves where they fall on your lawn.
Local Ordinance Considerations
Some neighborhood HOAs and even cities have rules related to removing leaves to keep things tidy and looking nice. In this situation, it is necessary to rake up the leaves. If you don’t, you may be fined.
Your Lawn May be Damaged
Some people rake up their leaves because they were taught that leaving them in place may suffocate the grass, invite pests, and cause diseases. They may also block nutrients and water while preventing new grass blades from emerging next spring.
These issues may arise with a thick layer of leaves; however, you don’t have to remove every last leaf to protect your lawn.
Leaves Result in Other Issues
Along with threatening the overall health of your grass, leaves may also start to clog storm drains and downspouts, stain the wood portion of your deck, and make the sidewalks slippery.
What Alternatives Do You Have to Raking?
You can pull out the leaf blower if you want to get rid of all the leaves but don’t want to rake. There are some other alternatives, too.
Mow Over the Leaves
Wait until the leaves that have fallen are crunchy. Once they reach that point, run your lawnmower over them. If the leaves are more than a few inches thick, it may be a good idea to rake a little at first.
When you mow over the leaves, it chops them up in tiny pieces, which will then protect and feed your grass. If this is the option you choose, make sure not to use your mower bag.
Turn the Leaves into Mulch
You can leave a thin layer of leaves you have mowed on your lawn. However, the leaf litter you create also makes a quality mulch. You can easily relocate chopped-up leaves and use them in your garden beds, which will add nutrients to the soil.
Compost the Leaves
It doesn’t matter if you mow, rake, or blow your leaves, think about bagging them up and putting them in your compost pile. Just remember that leaves don’t compost on their own. You need to turn them regularly and add the right amount of moisture and other organic material. If you are interested in this option, be sure to learn more about composting.
If you don’t want to do anything with the leaves yourself, then hire the professionals. They can will be able to help you handle the leaves and any other landscaping service you may need.