Have you ever seen someone mowing their lawn with leaves on it in the fall and wondered what on earth they’re doing? Fall has its own beauty, with its warm colors, but it is short-lived, and before you get to enjoy the season, the leaves from the trees start to fall and sit on your lawn, waiting for you to do something with them. Normally you would think of raking, blowing, piling, and possibly bagging them. Each of these processes requires a lot of time and energy. Apart from the environmental pollution caused by the disposed leaves, you’re also depriving your lawn of the natural nutrients present in the leaves.
Mowing Over Leaves, this is how to remove your leaves easily:
Generally, mowing leaves is one of the easiest methods to remove leaves from your lawn. It works by chopping the leaves into mulch and spread this on your grass or other locations. As a general rule, your lawnmower should have sharp blades and set it to a higher height than normal. If possible, use mulching blades. Try to mow only dry leaves and do not add a thick layer of mulch on your lawn.
The best way to manage your lawn and make it look clean and healthy without spending a lot of time and effort on it is to mow over leaves – commonly known as mulching. Mulching is an easy and effective method of cleaning your lawn whether you are a homeowner or a professional. Mowing over leaves is becoming a popular choice for lawn owners. Instead of raking leaves, it is proved that mulching them into fine particles when mowing can improve the grass blades’ appearance.
This article will show you the difference between raking and mulching, the pros and cons, how you should mow over leaves, and the right time for mowing leaves. We will also talk about others things you need to avoid when mowing your lawn.
- 1 Problems with Leaves on a Lawn
- 2 Difference between Raking and Mulching
- 3 Harmful effects of raking
- 4 Benefits of Mowing Over Leaves
- 5 When to Mow Over Leaves
- 6 How to Mow Over Leaves
- 7 Useful Tips when Mowing Over Leaves
- 8 Other Ways to Manage Fall Leaves
- 9 Final Word
Problems with Leaves on a Lawn
You might have heard that leaves are a natural source of nutrients for grass, so why is there a need to remove them? You’ve heard that right, leaves do provide nutrients, but they must be crushed or mulched. Leaving them on a lawn can block the sunlight and airflow from reaching deep down into the grass. This can cause serious turf problems such as fungal disease, which can eventually kill the grass. Other than this, when it rains, the problem can become even worse: the leaves turn soggy and keep the roots of the grass moist, making the roots rot. Fall is the prime time to prepare your lawn for the coming winter season. Therefore some extra care is needed. There are different ways you can adopt when taking care of fall leaves.
Difference between Raking and Mulching
The two best-known methods for cleaning a lawn in the fall are raking and mulching. Raking is the process of collecting leaves from a lawn with a rake’s help and piling them in one corner. This method is time-consuming but good for those who don’t have a lawnmower. Leaves are collected on a sheet and either used for making natural compost or disposed of.
On the other hand, mulching is a technique of chopping leaves into small parts with a lawnmower’s help. The blades of a mower are sharp; they cut the grass blades along with the leaves. The residue mixture of grass clippings and crushed leaves is redistributed and spread on the lawn’s surface by the mower simultaneously.
Harmful effects of raking
Raking is important, but when you have other options to remove the leaves from your lawn, why go for this longer and tougher practice? There are several reasons why raking leaves is not an ideal way to remove leaves.
● Environmental Factor
The clippings and dried leaves are packed into bags that are then sent to landfills after raking. According to EPA data, the waste produced from yard trimmings was 34.7 million tons in 2015, 21.3 million tons of this waste was reused in making natural composting, and the other 10.8 million tons went to trash yards adding pollution to the environment.
Raking is labor-intensive work and consumes a lot of time. First, you need to rake the leaves on one side of the yard and then collect them from all the corners and not leave anything behind. After that, you’ll mow your lawn if the grass has grown. Raking and mowing side by side in the fall demands a lot of strength and time. Once done with mowing, you have to collect the entire mass and collect it into a leaf pick-up service bag. This might not be available in all parts of the country.
Benefits of Mowing Over Leaves
There are several benefits of mowing over leaves. It not only makes your lawn healthier but economical. Research by the Michigan State University has proven that leaves contain natural ingredients that are beneficial for a lawn. Hence mowing over them can improve both soil and turf.
● Less fertilizer
Adding crushed leaves into the lawn reduces the need for fertilizers. Leaves contain natural ingredients that help grass maintain its health all year long. Apart from that, there are chemical substances present in fertilizers like methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen that are harmful to planet earth.
● Improves soil
Adding mulch into the soil improves the soil structure. It provides nutrients that help to hold the soil and reduce erosion and soil compaction. It also reduces the water loss from soil, maintaining the moisture and reducing water retention. Besides that, it acts as an insulating layer over the soil, maintaining the soil temperature on cold winter nights as well as hot summer days.
● Improves Grass Health
The organic nutrients present in leaves are broken down slowly by the microorganisms present in the soil, which enhances the health of the grass for a longer period. It also breaks down the soil and makes a pathway for deeper penetration of water and airflow, which reaches the grassroots, thus strengthening the turf.
● No More Weeds
Organic mulch helps in keeping weeds away from a lawn. It acts as a barrier against unwanted guests, making your life easier and your garden healthier – and even if the weeds grow, they are easy to remove.
Mulching is a lot easier than raking or blowing leaves off your lawn. All you need is a mower. The process is simple and requires less effort than raking, piling, and bagging them.
As discussed earlier, throwing away leaves or blowing them off your lawn into the street can cause environmental problems. It adds to the pollution and greenhouse gases. Mulching them back into your lawn improves the health of the lawn and helps the environment.
● Much easier
Mowing is much easier than raking. The process is less hectic and requires less energy. And who doesn’t love that? Mowing over leaves only demands a lawnmower with blades that are designed to mulch leaves.
When to Mow Over Leaves
There is no specific time to mow over leaves during the fall. Mow your lawn whenever you see a thin layer of leaves lying over the grass, covering the turf. The layer is chopped into small pieces by a mower and redistributed deeply into the soil at the same time. This process is an easier way of providing compost to the soil. Mowing over leaves in fall is a regular process as trees shed all their leaves over this season.
It is recommended not to pile leaves in the yard to mow them all at once. Mow them when there is a one-inch layer of leaves. According to research, it is recommended to mow a total of six inches of dried leaves in the fall. This does not mean that you have to wait and pile up six inches. Instead, mow frequently in the fall. Depending upon the number of trees around your house, it is usually done once a week.
How to Mow Over Leaves
Now that you know the benefits of mowing leaves on a lawn, you should also know how to mow properly to take the maximum benefit out of them. There are advanced tools available for mowing. If you can afford a mower designed for mulching, you can make the best investment for your lawn. However, if you want to use the mower you already have, then you can add blades available in stores specifically for your mower. Mulching requires sharp blades that can cut leaves into smaller pieces and at high speed.
If you want to remove the leaves from the surrounding area, you have to use a leaf blower or rake to move them on your lawn. Once that is done, run your mower over the leaves to chop them into small parts. Mowing leaves properly may require more time than regular mowing. You might have to pass the mower twice to get the desired results. Once you’re done with mowing, and you notice that the mulch is well distributed and your grass blades are hardly visible, then you can attach the bag to the mower and go over the grass blades once again to collect unnecessary residue. You can add this into the compost pile or planting beds for later use.
Useful Tips when Mowing Over Leaves
Here are some useful tips to make your lawn mowing this fall a bit easier.
- Sharp blades: Mower blades should be sharpened.
- Mow only dry leaves: Ensure that the leaves are dry. Don’t mow over wet leaves. They’ll clog the mower and make your lawn messy.
- Do not rake: Avoid raking this fall and let leaves fall on your lawn for better mulch.
- Too much mulch: Avoid adding too much mulch to the lawn to the point where you cannot see the grass blades.
- Thin mulch layer: The mulched layer should be thin. Otherwise, it can block the sunlight and airflow from reaching deep down the grass blades.
Other Ways to Manage Fall Leaves
Mowing leaves into the grass is one way of managing fall leaves, but there are other things you can do with fallen leaves.
● Natural Compost
If you don’t like mowing and want to remove leaves from your lawn, one way to make use of these leaves is to pile them up in one corner of the backyard. The good thing about this is that it doesn’t need to be dry all the time. After about 1 to 2 years, you will have rich homemade compost ready to be deposited in different beds in your yard. Another plus point of the compost is that you can add other items like grass clippings and food scraps, which add more nutritional value to the compost.
● Bag Them
Collecting leaves and bagging them is a great way to use them in the spring and summer seasons, as there aren’t enough brown leaves for the compost bin. Storing them in bags where they remain dry is a great way of storing them for the coming seasons.
● Use for Insulation
Another way of using fallen leaves is to use them in winter for insulation purposes. You can either shred the leaves or leave them for flower and vegetable beds to protect them from harsh winter weather.
Removing leaves from the lawn is an essential step when maintaining your lawn’s health. It is important to be observant towards a lawn and calculate when it needs mowing or fertilizers. Mowing over leaves is an easy and cheaper way of removing fallen leaves that are covering your lawn without wasting the nutritional value they can add to your yard. Mowing over leaves gives remarkable results. All you have to do is be patient and put in some effort to see you become healthy.