Should you rake and remove or mow and leave?  When it comes to falling leaves, maybe you never knew you had a choice.  Many of us were brought up to believe that you should always rake your leaves and remove them from your lawn because not only was it “tidier” but better for your grass.  But science is telling us that our lawns could actually benefit from the annual input that the autumnal leaves bring.

But won’t the leaves smother and kill the grass?  Well yes, excessive accumulation of leaves that are left in thick piles throughout the winter, can kill your grass.  But fallen leaves can also provide an additional layer of beneficial organic material that will ultimately compost into much needed nutrients for your lawn and plants.  As noted by National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski, “Fallen leaves offer a double benefit. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down.  According to a Michigan State study, mulching leaves into a lawn will actually reduce dandelions by 60%. 
In order to get the best benefit from your leaves and avoid harming your lawn, it is recommended that you actually mow over the fallen leaves to turn them into smaller pieces.  A mulching mower will make easy work of the leaves, but if you don’t have one any mower will do.   First you will need to rake or blow leaves from your beds into your lawn, then run over the leaves a few times with the mower to chop them into small pieces.  Lightly rake the chopped leaves into a pile and mow that pile a few more times.  You can then rake the leaf mulch into the lawn.
You can also use this leaf compost as a mulch around your trees and flower beds.  Covering your garden beds with a thick mulch in the fall is a simple and effective way to build nutrients in the soil to feed your plants and trees.  
Remember that fall is a great time to address any issues you might be having with your lawn as well as start an organic lawn care program to feed your lawn before winter. 

At Organic Solutions! Inc., we have been in the lawn care business for over 17 years and are experts in the unique needs of your Treasure Valley turf.  If you would like an estimate on our lawn care programs, please contact us.  We can be reached by email,, or by phone, 208-884-8986.
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