How to pick leaves with a lawnmower, two methods explained

Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes

With the fall setting in, you might see crisp leaves lying scattered all across your garden. Though it may seem satisfying to some, collecting and raking leaves can be quite a hectic job, especially if you do it manually. If you’re wondering whether there’s any more comfortable way of doing this job, then you might have come to the right place. Well, in case you don’t know, the solution to this problem is the machine parked in your garage. A lawnmower can pick leaves. Yes! You read it right.

How to pick leaves with a lawnmower, two methods explained:

  • Method 1: Leaf bagging: The lawnmower collects the leaves from the ground and stores them in a bag. Use a special leaf bag compatible with your device and attach it to store the picked leaves.
  • Method 2: Leaf Mulching: The leaves are broken down into smaller pieces and are left on the lawn. Use the mulch settings on your mower. Mulching can be done with both riding and push mowers.
  • Use a high mower height. Try to mow dry leaves for a better result. For mulching, use the correct blade.

With time, many improvements have been made to lawnmowers. They can help you clean your lawn quickly and easily. I definitely will save you time. The article below shall guide you about how you can pick leaves using a lawnmower.

We suggest you keep reading this article to further insight into using your lawnmower for picking up leaves.

Why using a lawnmower is preferable to other possible ways to pick up leaves?

There are various ways to pick leaves; by hand, piling and raking, or using a leaf blower or leaf vacuum. But one of the best and easy ways is to do this job by using a lawnmower.

A lawnmower is more potent than a hand-held leaf blower or vacuum. It completes the job quickly and can hold a good number of leaves at a time. Besides, you don’t need to carry it. Additionally, it has a greater contact area than a hand-held leaf vacuum.

Different ways to pick up leaves with a lawnmower:

There are two ways to pick up leaves using a lawnmower:

  1. Bagging
  2. Mulching

Method 1: Leaf Bagging

Bagging the leaves means putting them in a bag. Most lawnmowers provide an optional bag attachment. This bag is attached to the back or side of the lawnmower. As you move around your lawn, the leaves are collected and are stored in this bag. When the leaf bag is full, it shall be removed from the lawnmower and dumped.

– Grass and leaf bags:

  • Container: The bag acts as the storage box of a vacuum cleaner.
  • Grass bag: You can use a grass bag that comes with the lawnmower, or a larger leaf bag can also be used.
  • Leaf bag: This leaf bag helps you pick many leaves without emptying the bag time and again.
  • Collecting only leaves: In case you don’t want to collect the freshly cut grass, but only the leaves, you should adjust the lawnmower settings so that it doesn’t cut even a little amount of grass.
  • All leaf sizes: Bagging can help you pick both large and small leaves from the lawn.

– How to buy a leaf bag for the lawnmower?

  • Leaf bag, not a grass bag: As mentioned above, it is preferable to use a leaf bag instead of a grass bag, as it has more storage space.
  • Compatible: While buying a leaf bag for your lawnmower, the first thing to be kept in mind is that it should be compatible with your lawnmower.
  • Size: The next step is to buy the bag of the appropriate size. This depends on your lawn’s size and the number of leaves you often have in your yard.
  • Durable: The bag bought should also be of good quality and durable. A low-quality bag may choke out all the leaves during the process, which can create a mess.

Method 2: Leaf Mulching

– What is leaf mulching?

  • Mulch: The second method to remove the leaves from your lawn is to mulch them up using your lawnmower rather than picking them.
  • Mulching: Mulching means cutting the leaves into small pieces and letting them stay on the lawn.
  • Act as a fertilizer: These small pieces act as a fertilizer for the lawn, enhancing the grass growth rate.
  • Very small: The mulched leaves are so small in size that your garden shall look like a leaf-free zone.
  • Less volume: Mulching reduces the leaf’s volume to 1/10th of the original size

How to mulch the leaves using a lawnmower:

Leaf mulching can be done with or without the aid of a leaf bag. Most lawnmowers available in the market also come with a mulching kit that efficiently completes the process. The following steps should be followed to mulch the leaves successfully:

Step 1. Use a Mulch blade: If possible, try to use a mulching blade. These blades are specially designed to cut grass and leaves into small pieces. On most mowers, you can exchange your current blade for a mulching blade.

Step 2. Set the lawnmower’s deck to the highest level: To mulch the leaves, the lawnmower’s deck is to be set at the highest level.

Step 3. Activate the mulch plugin: Activate the mulch plugin of your lawnmower and close the side discharge.

Step 4. Mow the lawn: Start mowing the lawn. Move the lawnmower around the lawn repeatedly to mulch all the leaves. Ensure that you don’t leave too much mulch behind, as the excess of everything is bad!

How to pick leaves with a riding or a push lawnmower?

Both riding and push lawnmowers can use the leaf bagging and leaf mulching methods to remove leaves from your lawn. Here is a comparison of using the two types of lawnmowers to pick up the lawn leaves.

Using the push lawnmower to remove leaves:

Most of the push lawnmowers available in the market have the ability to mulch and bag leaves.

– Bagging the leaves using a push lawnmower:

  • Step 1. Remove the rear discharge plug: Remove the rear discharge plug of the push lawnmower.
  • Step 2. Attach a bag: Attach a bag to the push lawnmower to collect and store the picked leaves
  • Step 3. Close the side discharge chute: Close the side discharge chute of the push lawnmower.

– Leaf mulching using a push lawnmower:

  • Step 1. Remove the leaf bag: Remove the leaf collection bag from the lawnmower.
  • Step 2. Reinstall the rear discharge plug: Install the rear discharge plug back into the push lawnmower.
  • Step 3. Close the side discharge chute: Close the side discharge chute of the push lawnmower.

Using a push lawnmower to pick leaves is recommended if you have a small lawn and the number of leaves on the yard is also fewer.

– Using a riding lawnmower to pick leaves:

A riding lawnmower is another effortless way to pick leaves. It can do both; bag and mulch the leaves.

Bagging the leaves using a push lawnmower:

  • Step 1. Attach a leaf bag to your riding lawnmower: If your riding lawnmower doesn’t have a leaf bag attached by default, you shall attach it before attempting to bag the leaves.
  • Step 2. Mow the lawn: Ride over your lawnmower and mow the lawn. Move your lawnmower over the entire lawn repeatedly to bag all the leaves.

Leaf mulching using a riding lawnmower:

The procedure to mulch the lawn has been explained step by step in the “How to mulch the leaves using a lawnmower” section above.

Comparison of leaf mulching and leaf bagging:

Mulching seems like an excellent option that also saves you time and effort. But there are a few drawbacks:

  • Fertilize: As discussed earlier, mulching helps fertilize the soil. But if the leaves are in a large number, the mulch generated would be too much for the lawn, which will over-fertilize the soil.
  • Grass burn: Over-fertilizing may burn the grass.
  • Too much mulch: A hefty coating of mulch over the grass wouldn’t allow the sun to reach the grass and soil. So in case of a lot of leaves, it will be better to remove them.

This issue can be resolved by bagging some of the mulch and leaving an adequate amount of mulch. Mulching the leaves is less time consuming than bagging, but both are necessary to maintain a beautiful lawn.

When to pick leaves from your lawn?

  • The right time: Whether you are bagging or mulching the leaves, it is essential to pick leaves at the right time.
  • Dry leaves: The best time to pick or mulch the leaves is when the leaves are dry, as dry leaves put lesser stress on the lawnmower than the fresh ones.
  • Fresh leaves: Mulching fresh leaves can be a risky task, as they might get stuck in the lawnmower’s blades.
  • Bagging wet leaves: If you try to bag wet leaves, they may stick to the inside walls of the bag; it can be tough to dispose of them off in this case.

Related Questions:

1. What is the fastest way to pick leaves from the lawn?

  • Although there are many ways to pick up leaves, the fastest and most efficient way is with a lawnmower.
  • Another preferable way is to mulch the leaves rather than picking them up, which acts as a fertilizer to your soil. Lawnmower settings should be set such that they cut the minimum or no amount of grass while mulching.

2. Can the bagged leaves be put into any use, or shall I dispose of them?

  • Leaves are a great source of nutrients. The bagged leaves can be mulched and sprinkled over different parts of the lawn.
  • However, if you want to dispose of them off, you can buy a decomposing bin and throw them inside the bin.
  • You can also store them and use them later as a fertilizer for your lawn.

3. To what height shall the lawnmower be set to mulch the leaves?

  • To mulch the leaves correctly, set the height of the lawnmower’s blade to 3 inches.
  • The lawnmower should also be rolled over the entire lawn multiple times to mulch the leaves completely.

Final Remarks:

A lawnmower is a versatile machine that not only mows the lawn but can also pick leaves. Two methods, mulching, and leaf bagging, can be used to remove the leaves from your fancy lawn. Make sure that you don’t pick or mulch wet leaves, as they might damage your lawnmower. Your lawnmower size and the number of leaves decide whether you should mulch or bag the leaves. Whatever method you adopt, it is important to take care of leaves that appear on your lawn during the autumn season so that the grass returns healthy in the spring.