Is it Okay to Mow Leaves Instead of Raking

Shade trees are wonderful to combat the intense heat of summer but come fall, homeowners might sing a different tune. You’ve watched the healthy green leaves turn into beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red before falling off to settle on the ground below. You let out a big sigh because you know that means one thing: it’s time to rake up those once beautiful leaves before winter comes.

The chore of raking leaves can be time-consuming, back-breaking, exhausting work, especially if you have a big yard and lots of trees. If raking up all those leaves keeps getting added back to your to-do list, you may have another option.

Is it okay to mow leaves instead of raking?  Yes, it’s alright to put the rake down and turn on the lawnmower to handle the leaves on the ground. In fact, over the years, studies have confirmed it’s actually better for your lawn to mulch the leaves rather than rake them.

Here are a few benefits you can expect from mowing your leaves instead of raking them.

Fewer Weeds

When mulched into small pieces, the leaves will naturally fall between the grass blades onto the soil underneath. Over the winter, these pieces will decompose and nourish the soil and grass roots, strengthening them so they can block out those pesky weeds.

Free Fertilizer

If you purchase fertilizer each year to keep your lawn healthy, you might be happy to know that mulched leaves on your lawn can provide free fertilizer. As they decompose, the leaves release nutrients into the ground and surrounding grass.

Much like crowding out weeds, decomposed leaves can provide much-needed fertilizer to your grass over the winter, bringing you a lush and full lawn in the spring.

Fill in Bare Spots

Weeds love to creep into bare spots, and what better time than to take root over winter, filling in those spots meant for grass seed. Mulching the leaves into small pieces will cover over the bare spots, preventing weed seeds from germinating before you’ve had the chance to put down grass seed.

Ready to see how easy it is to mow leaves?

Mulching Leaves with a Lawn Mower

According to research by Michigan State University, here’s the best way to mow leaves instead of raking them:

  1. Set your mower deck to the highest setting.
  2. Mow as normal, being sure to cross the leaves twice.
  3. Mow once or twice weekly until you mulch the leaves, and a thin layer of mulch residue remains.

Before you begin, make sure the leaves are spread out evenly, and there aren’t large piles of leaves. For best results, mow the leaves when they are slightly wet, like on a fall morning before the sun’s angle dries the ground.

A Tip for Your Garden

If you have a bagging mower, consider alternating between leaving your mulched leaves on the grass and bagging them. Once bagged, you can add the mulched leaves to your garden and flower beds to provide the same benefits as you’re getting on your lawn.

Don’t Own a Rake? No Mower?

If you don’t have the proper equipment for the task at hand, the 410 Lawn Guy can take care of it for you. Call us at 410-LAWNGUY (410-529-6429) or fill out our contact form for a free estimate on mowing your lawn so you can get the benefits of mulched leaves without the work involved.