Mulching leaves will save you work, improve your soil, and add nutrients. If you choose to rake up your leaves, it can cost you in the long run. Your local taxes will pay for the trucks that sweep up your leaves from the roadside or pick up your bags of leaves, all of which often will end up in the landfills.

If you choose to burn your leaves, it can be dangerous because the ashes can float upwards and start fires in unexpected areas downwind, such as someone’s leaf-filled gutters. Burning leaves also have a negative impact on the atmosphere.  Mulching your leaves is much simpler and a natural resource of nutrients for your soil. Brad Grimmet of Grim Cuts Lawn Care LLC states “I only mulch and I never bag anything up, it’s the easy and the best way to handle the leaves. Might as well put the nutrients back into the soil. Leaves are relatively light, the danger of burning is an out of control fire.” 

Here are a few tips for mulching. First, you will want to rake or use a leaf blower to move the leaves about one foot from each side of the house, fence lines, or other areas that can not be reached with the lawnmower.

Secondly, remove the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn. You want to mulch the leaves down to dime-size pieces. When about half an inch of grass can be seen through the mulched leaf layer, the leaves have been broken down enough. Once the leaf bits settle into the grass, microbes and worms will get to work on recycling them. Any kind of leaf can be chopped up. You will want to make several passes of your mower in order to chop them into small enough pieces. You can mulch up to 18 inches of leaves.

A few other things to keep in mind for the fall season, the grass will keep growing until the first hard frost so keep mowing, the ideal height is 2.5-3 inches. Keep watering your lawn, even though fall usually has more rainfall and dew, it might not be enough water to keep your lawn healthy. Fall is also a good time to aerate your lawn because it lets the water, oxygen, and nutrients get to the soil. Aerating also prevents the soil from becoming compacted. It also prevents weeds from getting into the holes and taking root in your lawn.