Should You Rake Leaves? (Why You Shouldn’t)

During fall, most deciduous trees shed their leaves in preparation for the winter season. They do this to conserve resources for survival in the harsh conditions ahead. However, thick layers of leaves make a yard unsightly and may also smother your grass. So, should you rake leaves?

You shouldn’t rake a few leaves on the lawn. Mulch and let them decompose which helps in adding nutrients to the soil. On the other hand, large amounts of leaves that completely cover the grass should be raked to avoid possible damage to the grass.

Should you rake leaves?

Some types of trees and shrubs will produce a small number of leaves that easily decompose and benefit the plants and grass and thus not necessary to remove them. Just mow over the leaves to shred them into smaller pieces that decompose easily.

Thick layers of leaves are usually harmful to lawn grass and there is a need to rake them up. A thick blanket of leaves can block sunlight from reaching the grass and its roots. The leaves are also likely to become wet and smother your grass.

Leaves usually harbor insects and other pests which can be destructive. Animals like moles and skunks will start visiting your yard to hunt for insects and in the process, they end up digging holes in your yard and tearing up your lawn.

A pile of leaves in your backyard can also be an eyesore especially when they get scattered everywhere. The leaves may also make their way into gutters, streams, and waterways. This can lead to flooding or standing water in the yard after a downpour.

Is raking leaves bad for your lawn?

While using a rake with sharp tines helps in removing thatch, this can damage roots and stolon of the emerging grasses.

Further, raking in spring can also encourage weeds to emerge after their seed have been exposed to optimum sunlight and warmth. To avoid such problems on your lawn, do the raking in autumn.

A leaf blower is a great alternative, especially on small lawns. The leaves are blown into a pile before you collected and take them to a compost pit. When using a leaf blower, be sure to use the correct settings, or else it will be difficult to control the leaves.

A hand-held leaf vacuum or a vacuum attachment to your mower can also be used to suck leaves and other debris into a bag. All you need to do is push the machine gently over the leaves, and the suction takes care of the rest.

Avoid moving the vacuum machine over large items such as rocks, and twigs as they can jam the machine.

How to Rake Leaves

Raking is an enjoyable task when you plan adequately. Most people consider it a workout. To protect your grass and make the raking process easier, below is how to do it correctly.

  1. Understand when to rake leaves on your lawn. Towards the end of the fall, most leaves are off the trees, and thus the best time to rake. This should be done right before the first frost. Drier leaves are easier to rake than when wet. The day has to be windless for easier control of leaves.
  2. Choose a good rake, plastic or metal rakes are often used. However, it can become tedious and tough if you don’t choose a comfortable rake. Make it enjoyable by using a sturdy leaf rake with ergonomic foam cushioned handle.
  3. Wear working gloves and start the raking process as you strike small reaching movements while the rake is correctly positioned at the leaves. Create several small piles of leaves if working in a large yard.
  4. Bag the leaves and use them as mulch in the garden or add them to a compost pile where they can decompose. You may also take them to the municipal picking point. Do not throw the leaves in the streets or near storm drains.

What is the mower height for mulching leaves?

Usually, the best mower height for mulching leaves ranges from 2 to 4 inches depending on the height of your lawn grass. However, the highest setting of your mower is recommended when mulching leaves. If you select the lowers height, the leaves will be pushed by the front side of the lawn mower.

Final thought

Raking leaves in lawns not only makes your backyard look neat but also enhances the growth and health of your grass. However, timing is critical to avoid harming the roots and grass stolon. Always use a comfortable rake or other effortless methods such as leaf mulching, vacuuming, or blowing.

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