Raking leaves is an age-old American chore, but mulching your leaves may be the way of the future. Mulching leaves has become a big trend in yard care over the last couple of years. While it's excellent that mulching is more environmentally friendly, it's also pretty helpful that it's more user-friendly than other leaf removal methods.
Why you shouldn’t ignore the leaves on your lawn.
During the fall and winter seasons, leaves descend from their lofty branches to land on our roofs, streets, and yards – again and again…and again. Throughout the cooler months, leaves continuously fall and pile up to blanket our yards.
It can be rather tempting to want to wait to deal with the clean up till all the leaves have fallen. And we know it’s also tempting to just ignore the leaf blanket entirely. However, deciding to leave your lawn covered by leaves for an extended amount of time can result in some severe yard problems.
A solid blanket of leaves can form a harmful barrier over your grass, blocking out the sun, water, and air.
A thick layer of wet leaves can also smother, matt, and weigh down on your turfgrass and soil. Not to mention the pests and critters that will enjoy making a cozy home out of your leaf piles. For all of these reasons, leaves left piled on your yard can cause your grass to brown and die.
Although dealing with a lawn covered by leaves seems daunting (and just plain annoying), we promise that accomplishing this yard chore will be worth it. By keeping up with leaf removal, you can avoid pests and patches of dead grass. And if raking seems like too much back-breaking trouble, then we have a great alternative for you…mulch your leaves!
Why mulching can be a great alternative to raking.
Raking and bagging leaves take time and are hard work – the understatement of the season! No one enjoys spending their precious time off work toiling hours away by raking, bagging, and dragging leaves around.
After raking, almost every yard will need multiple bags for the leaf piles, and some larger yards can use up 30 bags or more. Buying all those bags can get pricey. Then once those bags are full of moist leaves, acorns, and other debris, they can get pretty darn heavy too!
Then, unfortunately, once you manage to get those heavy bags to the curb, in some cities, they end up in landfills adding to municipal waste.
If you’re looking for an alternative to bagging and dragging your leaves over and over this year, we have a solution that may even benefit your grass. Mulching! Mulching (or shredding) your leaves with a lawnmower saves a lot of time and energy.
While mulching, you remove your grass clipping bag, set the mower to "mulch" settings, and push through the layers of leaves. Pushing your mower through the leaves shreds them and dramatically reduces the volume of your leaf piles.
The best method is to set your mower to "mulch" and normally mow across your yard until the leaf shreds are about dime-sized. Once the leaves have been shredded enough, so your grass is NOT overly covered, you can simply leave the shreds behind to break down into your soil. No bags necessary!
How mulching leaves can benefit your yard.
When you mow through the leaves in your lawn, the idea is that you’ll be leaving behind shreds of leaves throughout your yard. These leaf pieces and grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer when they break down and seep into the soil.
The leaf litter is rich in Carbon and Nitrogen and provides healthy nutrients for plants and grass. Mulched leaf shreds have even been shown to impede weed growth.
Your grass will reap the maximum benefit if you mulch your leaves weekly. Once you see leaves starting to collect, you should get started. Don't wait till the end of the season when the leaves have completely buried your yard. Leaving the leaves for too long can be harmful to your grass. Also, if the leaf piles get too wet or dense, then it'll be challenging to mow effectively.
If you mulch weekly, then the leaf litter has a chance to break down into the soil faster. In fact, by the time you mow the next week, you may notice the old shreds have already been completely broken down. With this approach, the leaf litter will feed the soil continuously. The key is to keep up with it!
Another great benefit to mulching can be recycling some of the leaf litter into your garden. You can save money on garden mulch by bagging some of your mulched leaves and spreading them on your plant, tree, shrub, and flower beds. The leaf litter will protect the plants, and the nutrients will act as a natural fertilizer.
10 essential tips for mulching your leaves.
1. When you're done mulching, you must be able to see grass. Too much leaf litter left on top of your lawn can cause damage. If there is too much leaf clutter, then reattach your grass clippings bag and make another pass to collect some of the top shreds.
2. Ideally, you'll want to use a mower with mulching capabilities, but it's not absolutely necessary. If you’re using a mower without mulch settings, then you may have to make a few extra passes to get the pieces down to the right size.
3. Even if you're using a mulching mower, you'll want to make a second pass over the yard to thoroughly shred the leaves and to help push them back into the grass. However, if you're taking our advice and mowing weekly, then a second pass each week won't be necessary. A few leaf stragglers each week won't be harmful to your grass.
4. Set your mower blade to the highest setting. This setting will leave enough room for the shredded leaves to make their way down to the soil. It's also a healthy length for your grass. For the final mows of the season, you can set your blades a little lower to a 2.5"-3" setting.
5. Keep up with your mulching! Try to mow weekly. Get more mowing tips here.
6. Thick layers of leaves can be mulched, but you should use a higher power motor. You’ll also need to make at least one extra pass over the lawn.
7. Mow while the leaves are crunchy. Avoid wet leaves.
8. If your mower starts to push the leaves rather than roll over them, then slightly tilt/lift the mower and the mower will be able to run over the pile.
9. Mow in stripes.
10. If leaves are collecting on items in your yard (such as toys), blow the leaves into your yard and mulch them.
Gecko Green Can Help
Gecko Green offers all of the best lawn care program options – all customized to your individual property. Our "Year-Round Lawn Care Program" will keep your lawn healthy and green through every season.
Our locally owned and operated company genuinely cares about taking care of your yard.