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Will the Fallen Leaves Hurt My Lawn? Why And When Should They Be Cleaned Up

It’s fall, a season when trees shed their leaves for the winter, and the wind blows them all over your beautiful lawn! Let’s try and answer a question you may have right now – Should you rake the leaves off your beautiful green grass, or do you let them stay?

Do Leaves Help or Hurt Your Lawn?

The natural school of thought encourages keeping leaves on the ground for the following reasons:

  • Leaves self-erode and mix with the soil giving it vital nutrients like carbon, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium to help fertilize it. 
  • Mulched leaves protect the lawn during cold winter spells and prevent weed germination.
  • Leaves provide shelter for insects and other small critters like earthworms, salamanders, and toads, some of which are beneficial for your garden. 
  • Leaves feed beneficial microbes.

The modern school of thought is against this idea of keeping leaves on the ground. According to them: 

  • Leaves smother grass by not letting sunlight or water reach it.
  • Fungus and other diseases can develop on the leaves and transfer to the plants and grass if not cleared away in time. 
  • Blanketing the lawn with leaves will make it difficult to see if it is healthy underneath or needs repair.
  • Rodents and pests can hide under thick layers of leaves.
  • Aesthetically, leaves on the ground looks unappealing and should be cleared.
  • Mushy leaves on the ground can cause an accident and are difficult to remove if wet. 

What approach is the right one? A balanced one! 

Don’t leave thick layers of leaves on the ground. Instead, turn them into mulch by mowing over a thin layer in your lawn when the earth is dry. Shredded layers of leaves will ensure that your lawn has some breathing space.  

How to Mulch Fallen Leaves

  • Keep your mower deck setting to its highest for mulching leaves. 
  • Remove the bagging attachment that collects clippings. 
  • Mulch over a thin layer of leaves till they are half an inch in diameter to help break them down faster. 
  • Mow over again if you see any thick foliage and break it down.
  • Mulch leaves weekly, if needed, to ensure they don’t overtake the lawn. Re-attach the bag to collect extra leaves. You can also use the mulched leaves for composting or add them around trees, shrubs, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. 

Remember, bag excess amounts of leaves if you see thick layers on the ground so that you don’t stifle your lawn. Another reason to bag leaves will be if you notice a disease or pests growing under them.

Let’s Not Leave all the Leaves Out! 

Make the most of fall’s abundant gift – leaves, by using them properly and see your lawn grow healthy, naturally! In need of tips to prep your lawn during fall? Get in touch with Greenskeeper’s lawn care experts to guide you every step of the way. Better still, we can take care of your lawn for you! Check out our service programs or contact us to learn more.

Call GREENSKEEPER at (215) 938-8440. You can also contact us using our online form for a free quote.