Raking leaves is, truth be told, an awful lot of work. And yet, it somehow does seem to come up a lot when you’re looking for fall lawn maintenance tips. If you’re plagued by the question- should you rake your leaves during fall, and are wondering if keeping the dead leaves could cause any trouble, you’re not alone.
Well, here’s answering just that for you, and a lot more! Read on..
Should You Rake the Leaves in your Lawn During Fall?
Watching the leaves change color during fall is a highlight of the season. But that’s until the leaves hit the ground and cause problems for homeowners, lawns and gardens.
So should you rake your leaves every now and then? Well, it actually depends.
Raking leaves and removing the dead leaves off your yard can be great, because it can help the grass underneath get exposed to sunlight, and in turn, grow well. This is especially helpful if you’re growing cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass in your lawn.
And of course, there’s the aesthetic appeal too! Raking and getting rid of the dead leaves makes your property and space look neat and well cared for.
Why You Shouldn’t Rake Leaves On Your Lawn
If you’re feeling lazy, and don’t want to rake the leaves, it’s totally okay! You’ll actually be doing the environment a favor while you’re at it.
Environmental experts say raking leaves can actually rob your lawn or garden of the opportunity of getting some beneficial organic matter from the fallen leaves.
The layer of leaves on the surface of the soil can actually be helpful in retaining moisture and also suppress weed growth, which can be a big win for your garden!
Why it is Better to Leave the Leaves
It is probably important to change your cleaning routine for Autumn. The 2018 Landfill received more than 10 million tons of landscaping material, including leaves.
The methane generated by the waste can be absorbed into soil and emitted in landfill sites.
Unfortunately, at this point the whole amount of leaves just goes back into landfills and produces terrible greenhouse gases,” he added. It’s a better solution than dumping all the organic stuff in the landfill. “
Is Raking Leaves Really a Bad Idea?
Raking leaves and removing them from your yard is generally good practice, but if practiced the wrong way, it can have detrimental impacts on the environment.
The fallen leaves are often disposed off in non biodegradable packaging and bags, which contributes to landfills and takes years and years to break down and decompose.
Plus, since these leaves decompose in the landfills where they don’t receive enough oxygen, they release the greenhouse gas methane.
How Else Can I Remove the Leaves, if Not by Raking Them?
While raking leaves can be an excellent exercise, it can also be back breaking work. If you’re looking for an alternative way to remove leaves, using a leaf blower is your best bet.
Many modern leaf blowers also have an option that allows you to vacuum up the leaves and transport it to your compost pile.
Remember never to burn the leaves, as it can generate greenhouse gas and toxic chemicals like carbon monoxide, which can be harmful to the environment.
Can Leaving the Leaves Help my Yard?
Fall leaves are a good natural fertilizer for plants. David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation claims that these supposedly dead leaves on your lawn actually help suppress weed growth and act as a natural mulch that fertilize the soil while they break down.
Letting them stay in your lawn can also help natural wildlife habitat thrive- everything from birds and critters to even moths, caterpillars and butterflies.
When they sit on the surface of the soil, they become a meal for the earthworms. The earthworms pull the leaves from the ground into the soil and consume them. They then leave nitrogen rich castings which lends more nutrients to the soil, improving its quality.
What Do I Do With the Leaves if Not Rake Them?
Well, for starters, if it is just a thin layer of leaves, just let them stay.
Mulching is another excellent option you can consider, and it can be a great way to put all those leaves and yard trimmings to good use.
Start adding them to your compost pile, and cut down the larger leaves into smaller pieces using a shovel or a rake to help them decompose faster.
You can also shred and chop up dry leaves and use them as dry mulch. This can insulate the area well, and also offer many nutrients.
So Should I Rake or Not?
The idea is to remove the leaves just the right amount, and in the spots where they are not needed. Be sure to remove them from the areas where the grass needs a lot of natural light, and focus on using the dead leaves to mulch the other areas of your garden.
And if you’re still looking for more help with mulching, you might want to check out this post!