What to do with Leaves

Fall will be with us before we know it, and with the arrival of the new season comes lawn care tasks like getting your lawn ready for winter and dealing with the leaves that are falling off any deciduous trees you may have. Raking is an iconic fall task, although the issue of what exactly you should do with your raked (and bagged) leaves is considerably more complicated. An easy option used to be to simply take all of your bagged leaves to a landfill or burning facility, but in recent years many states have clamped down on this, forcing lawn owners to resort to more environmentally-conscious procedures. For this reason, this post looks at some of the ways that you can not only deal with your leaves but also (in some cases) put them to good use for your lawn.

Shred Leaves to Reduce Volume

The benefits of shredding and/or mulching

Shredding and mulching are considered perhaps the most effective processes for dealing with your leaves. Shredding is particularly useful in that it will dramatically reduce the volume you are left to deal with. In fact, it is estimated that shredding cuts down the volume by upwards of 50%. The only downside with shredding is that you may need to purchase a shredder or chipper, which can be expensive. Alternately, some lawn mowers will shred leaves, or you can purchase a shredding attachment for your mower. Whichever tool you use, just be sure to shred leaves when they are dry.

After shredding the leaves, it is a great idea to use the leaves for mulch. You can spread mulch on your lawn, around trees or planting beds, or with your compost pile. The benefits of mulch are varied and include preventing weeds, assisting with moisture collection, and adding warmth for the winter months.

Other considerations

If you don’t care about the appearance of having leaves all over your lawn, you may be tempted to just let them remain on your lawn. Whether or not this is acceptable for your lawn is open to debate. The consensus holds that certain warm-weather grasses can handle leaves on the lawn, but if you have a cool-season grass (and snow cover), it’s really best to just dispose of them.

In the event that you have a tree with a leaf disease, you definitely want to make sure that the leaves are discarded, even if you have to do so yourself. Leaf removal will ensure that the tree does not get re-infected in the future.

Dealing with leaves is an important aspect of caring for your lawn during the autumn. Shredding and mulching is optimal, but you can also drop them off through a community pick-up program. Whichever approach you select, make sure that your lawn is ready for winter and that you don’t just dump the leaves off at a landfill.


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