Mowing leaves instead of raking, these are the best methods


Fall has started, the days are getting shorter, and you see hundreds, maybe thousands of leaves scattered across your lawn. With the leaves, the long and tiring battle of raking them from your yard has started. But you heard somewhere that leaves could be mowed off your lawn as well. You have a lawnmower, so why not use it. But can you use it to remove your leaves? In this article, we will look at different methods of mowing leaves, and we are going to look at which way is the best for removing the leaves from your lawn.

Mowing leaves instead of raking, these are the best methods:

Mowing leaves with a lawnmower is an excellent option. There are two main methods. The first is to mulch the leaves and letting these mulched leaves decompose on your soil. For the best result, set your mower height to the maximum. When the amount of leaves is significant, this method is not advised. In that case, the second method is to bag the leaves. Use a special leaf bag.

Mowing leaves instead of raking

Removing leaves from your grass is a time-consuming task. But several methods can help to make your work more manageable, compared to raking. These include using a leaf blower, a leaf vacuum, and mowing leaves. If you have a lawnmower, mowing leaves is a great way to remove them from your lawn and has several advantages. We will compare the two main mowing leaves methods with raking leaves and see which method is the best for you.

The two main mowing leaves methods are:

  1. Mulching the leaves and let them decompose on the soil.
  2. Collecting the leaves in the lawnmower

● Method 1: Mulching the leaves

Mulching leaves is an excellent way to remove the leaves from your lawn. As the leaves are mulched, they are spread over the grass. There they will decompose and protect and fertilize the grass.

– Pros:

  1. Fertilize: The mulched leaves that decompose on the grass will boost the quality of the soil.
  2. Takes less time: It is one of the fastest methods to remove leaves from your lawn. There is no bagging and transportation to dispose of them. And the lawnmower will have a smaller chance of cluttering.

– Cons:

  1. Too many leaves: When you have a considerable amount of leaves on your lawn, the amount of mulching can be too much. Too much mulch results in a significant layer on your lawn, and it will block the sun. And it can result in increased damage from fungal diseases.
  2. Pine needles: Mulching pine needles do not work well since the pine needles are too tiny to mulch. You’re mulching is essentially rendered useless and, you would still have to rake those off.

The following steps should be followed to mulch 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. Remove the collection system:

If your lawnmower has a collection system, then it is necessary to remove this from the mower. If this is not possible, then consider method two as a possible method to mow your leaves. If possible, use a side discharge, as this is the shortest way out for the leaves. This decreases the chance of cluttering when the leaves are a little bit wet.

Step 3. Remove big branches:

Removing big branches is essential to keep your mower in good condition since branches can damage the blades and engine of a lawnmower.

Step 4. Set the deck to its highest setting:

Set the mowing deck to its highest setting. We are going to mow leaves, not the grass. If you also want to cut the grass, you can better do this after mowing the leaves.

Step 5. Mow your lawn:

Start mowing your lawn. Go around the yard repeatedly to mulch all the leaves.

Step 6. Check your lawn:

Since too much mulch on your property can be bad for the plants, make sure to check your yard for possible spots with too much mulch. One-fourth to three-eights of an inch is too much. You should remove a bit of the mulch in those places and spread it elsewhere until the height is fine everywhere. If needed, you have to remove some from your lawn.

● Method 2: Leaf bagging

With leaf bagging, you mow the leaves and remove them from your lawn. You use the collection system from your lawnmower to do this. If possible, try to use a special leave bag instead of the bag you use for grass. This bag is bigger and means less stopping to empty it.

  1. You prefer no mulch: You do not want mulch on your lawn since mulch does not look good in your yard.
  2. Too much mulch: You already have too much mulch decomposing on your lawn, and you need to collect the remaining amount of leaves.

– Pros:

  1. Fast: Collecting the leaves with your lawnmower is a quick and easy way to remove most of the leaves on your lawn. But it is not as easy and fast as mulching.
  2. Less bagging: You will not need the same amount of collection bags compared to raking. The leaves will be mulched, depending on the blades you use, and take up less space.

– Cons:

  1. Stopping to empty the collection bag: Stopping and getting the leaves from the mowers collection system to the proper collection bags can be a more frustrating task.
  2. Wet leaves: If the leaves are wet from the rain, mowing leaves and collecting them is not the best option. The leaves will stick to the lawnmower, and you will need to remove the leaves from the mower regularly. And getting the leaves from the mower collection system is even more annoying.

The following steps should be followed to mow leaves successfully using a collection bag:

Step 1. Use mulch blades: Using mulch blades will make mowing leaves easier since mowers’ standard blades are made to cut grass and not leaves. If you do not have mulch blades, it is not a big problem. It only means that the leaves will take up more space in your collection bag. And when you dispose of the laves somewhere else in your garden, it will take more time to decompose compared to mulched leaves.

Step 2. Add the collection system if it is not on the mower yet: Adding the collection is crucial since you do not want the mulched leaves spread around your yard.

Step 3. Remove branches from your yard: Removing branches from your lawn is necessary to keep your lawnmower running smoothly with no damage to the blades.

Step 4. Set the deck to its highest setting:

Set the mowing deck to its highest setting. We are going to mow leaves, not the grass. If you also want to cut the grass, you can better do this after mowing the leaves.

Step 5. Mow your lawn: Start mowing the lawn. Move the lawnmower around the yard repeatedly to mow the leaves and get them in the collection bag.

Step 6. Move the mulch and leaves to collection bags: If the collection bag is full of leaves, open it and move the leaves and mulch to a different location, yard bags, or garbage bags. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your whole yard is clear from leaves.

● Method 3: Raking

Raking is probably the most used method to collect fallen leaves from yards. You only need a rake, some bags to collect the leaves, and enough energy. As with the methods above, we will look at the pros and cons.

– Pros:

  1. Cheap: Raking is cheap. You only need a rake, bags, and energy to rake the leaves together. No need to pay for gas.
  2. Easy: Raking is very easy to execute and understand.
  3. Also when the leaves are wet: Raking can be done when the leaves are wet, and even in the rain.

– Cons:

  1. Time-consuming: It can take considerable time and effort.
  2. Dull: Raking is dull and a repetitive task, not something you want to do very often.
  3. Problematic for big yards: Raking big yards will take a long time and might not be worth the effort.

Which of the mowing leaves methods is best for you?

Mowing leaves instead of raking leaves. Both are suitable methods to remove leaves from your lawn. But which of these methods is the best solution for removing these excess leaves for you? And when should you use these methods. Raking is cheap and can be acceptable for smaller yards. You can remove the leaves even when they are wet or when it is raining, but it takes a lot of energy.

Mowing leaves has a significant advantage because it is much faster and does not need a lot of energy from you. If you leave the mulched leaves on your lawn, it can protect and fertilize them. And you already have a lawnmower anyway, so why not use it?

After comparing all the pros and cons of the previous methods, we can conclude that the best solution for you will depend on your situation. The bigger the yard, the more reason to mow. If you only have a small lawn, raking can be fine. If you choose to mow, mulching is easier and faster and has advantages for your grass.

Related questions

1. Is mowing leaves bad for grass?

  • No. Mowing leaves is not bad for your grass. You mow leaves with the mowing deck on its highest settings, so the grass is not touched. And if you spread the mulch over your lawn, it helps protect it and fertilize it after it decomposes.

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

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

3. Do I really need to rake my leaves?

Most people rake their lawn because they believe that it is bad for the plants and grass underneath. But this is not the case. It is fine to leave them. Only when there is a big stack on top of the soil will it be difficult for the sun to reach the grass. And it can result in increased damage from fungal diseases.

4. How long does it take for mulched leaves to decompose?

It takes the leaves between 6 months to a year to fully decompose naturally on the ground. But this greatly depends on the size of the leaves and the amount. If you dump your leaves in a big pile, it can take a year. If you use a compost bin, it takes around 3 to 6 months for the leaves to decompose. If you mulch the leaves and spread them, they will decompose considerably faster.

Final remarks

Raking to get rid of excess leaves is always be a tedious and lengthy task, particularly if your yard is bigger. Using your lawnmower to mow leaves is much faster and easier. You can both mulch the leaves and spread them over your grass or use a collection bad to collect them. Mulching is the quickest method and has some additional benefits for your grass.

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