Leaf Removal: Should I Rake or Keep Leaves?

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Leaf Removal Isn’t Always Necessary

As the temperatures drop in New Jersey, the beautiful green leaves are beginning to change colors to lovely hues of orange and red. While it is a breath-taking sight, the trees that offer much-needed shade during the hot months of summer can quickly be resented by homeowners when leaves fall and clutter the ground. Raking leaves in the autumn months is a common time-consuming chore for many households, but leaf removal is not always necessary.

Is Leaf Removal Necessary?

For years, homeowners have been under the impression that fallen leaves can smother grass, restrict sunlight, and cause various lawn diseases as a result. This thought process encourages homeowners to rake leaves, bag them, and put them out with the trash. What experts have learned over the years is that leaves offer many nutrients to grass and don’t need to be raked and gotten rid of like once thought.

What to do with Fallen Leaves

When leaves begin to find their way to the ground this fall, consider trying one of these before raking them.

Mow the leaves.
Mowing the leaves several times chops them into small pieces that act as mulch in the grass. The smaller the leaves are, the easier they are able to decompose and deliver nutrients into the soil. Grass grows healthier, and homeowners usually see fewer lawn diseases and weeds because the grassroots have the nutrients they need to feed and grow.

Recycle the leaves.
Leaves can also be recycled after mowing and used in or to start a compost pile. Leaves can also be used flower beds and gardens as mulch. Build a layer of leaves between three and six inches thick to prevent soil erosion during the winter months and keep the ground healthy for planting.

When is Raking Leaves Necessary?

Leaf removal isn’t always necessary, but there are some times when raking leaves is a good idea.

  1. The grass can’t be seen.
    Some leaves on your grass are fine, but too many leaves can cause more harm than good. If the leaves cover more than half of the yard or you can no longer see grass blades sticking up through the leaves, it is best to rake and discard them or mow them into smaller pieces.
  2. Too much rain occurs in a short timeframe.
    Too much rain can cause leaves to become a matted mess in your backyard and turn grass into a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mowing wet leaves is not recommended as it can damage a lawnmower.
  3. Pests start to make a home.
    During the cool autumn months, mice start to look for warm places to make their nests and leaves are often an easy and accessible solution. If you find signs of mice in your backyard, raking the leaves up is best to prevent them from becoming a bigger problem.

Do you have more questions about the health of your lawn this fall? Contact the team at Perennial Lawn Care today.

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