MILWAUKEE, WI (September 27, 2016) – As dead leaves start to pile up, the question on many homeowners’ minds becomes “what do I do with all this?” There are two main options: either rake or mow and mulch. Both have benefits and drawbacks and understanding each is key to helping keep your lawn in top shape and ready for next spring.
Raking is the tried and true, time-tested yard cleaner. While it may be time intensive, it’s a great way to rid a yard of fallen debris. It’s the ideal way to access hard-to-reach areas in the yard, making for a more thorough cleanup. Plus, it’s a serious calorie-burner. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. One of the biggest is what to do after all the leaves have been gathered. Most people end up bagging their leaves and dropping them off at a municipal yard waste site or leaving them on the curb for city workers to sweep up.
Mow and Mulch
Mulching leaves is a great alternative to raking. It’s a time saver and back saver. To mulch, simply change the setting on the mower (there’s typically an actual “mulch” setting). Don’t bag the chopped up leaves; instead let them stay on the grass. Leaves shred most efficiently when slightly damp so mow after a light dew.
“Mulching is a great alternative to raking,” says Julie Mollen, marketing communications manager of the engines group at Briggs & Stratton. “It allows you to return nutrients to your yard and helps to set you up for a healthier lawn the following year.”
One key watch-out: don’t let leaves pile up too much before mulching. Mow once per week. Then, either leave it atop the lawn, bag the leaves, or spread them in planting beds or compost them. And be sure not to let a thick layer of leaves cover the lawn all winter. Excessive amounts of leaf matter left on grass could smother the lawn over the winter and possibly lead to snow mold.
Each method has its pros and cons depending on the foliage type, geographic location, equipment, and homeowner preference, but with the right information homeowners can tackle debris to ensure their lawn is in top shape and ready for next spring.