Autumn is just around the bend. The leaves will start out with gorgeous colours, but eventually, end up as a mess on your lawn. The clean-up of autumn leaves is not a chore most homeowners look forward to. Some even wonder if it is obligatory to rake the leaves. Don’t they just compost naturally on the lawn?

They will. Only if you leave a few leaves lying around, you may be better off letting them blow off into the bushes, turning into mulch.

You may have also been considering running your lawn mower over them and letting the shredded leaves feed your lawn. If you have a considerable amount of leaves on the lawn, so many that you are unable to see the lawn underneath, they will smother and kill the grass long before they turn into fertilizer.

If that is the case, eventually, you will have to gather the leaves from your lawn and there are not that many options.

Leaf Raking Options

  • Try connecting a Bagging System to your Lawn Mower. This works well with lawn tractors. If you own a large property, mature trees or even a bad back, a leaf bagger will make your life a lot easier. As with most mechanical leaf clean-ups, the leaves should be dry or you will clog the mower and the bagger.
  • Make the most of a Hand-Held Leaf Blower/Vacuum. They tend to be loud, heavy and users always seem to end up fixated on blowing that last renegade leaf. In their favour, blower/vacuums do an excellent job of shredding dry leaves and they make clearing driveways and sidewalks a quick job. Nevertheless, do not waste your time trying to use one on wet leaves.
  • Raking is not the most glamorous method, but it is effective and there are few feelings of such total gratification as when you have completed raking your yard. These days, there are many options when it comes to choosing a lawn rake.

What to Do with All Those Leaves

Whichever method of leaf clean-up you choose, remember not to push the leaves to the curb for pick-up. Fall leaves are garden gold. Leaf mould, or semi-rotting leaves, are high in nutrients and adds significant organic material to your soil. You can create leaf mould by piling all your leaves in a heap and letting them sit for a year or so. The bottom of the pile will begin decomposing first and can be used as a fertilizer or mulch.

Mulch can also be made from shredded leaves. The leaves should be dry to shred, but moisten them instantly after mulching or the wind will carry them all over your lawn. Do not use leaves that are not shredded. They will mat together and create a dense layer that will not allow water to permeate.

You can add both shredded and whole leaves be used as the ‘brown’ component to your active compost pile. Dry leaves piled alone will in due course, decompose into leaf mould, which is a type of compost. But combining dry leaves with your green garden waste will produce an actively decomposing pile and will accelerate the process.

Both are great uses for your leaves.

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