As the trees begin to drop their leaves, raking season begins – but is raking good for your lawn? Should you rake the leaves as they fall, or should you leave them be until they decompose throughout the winter months?
How Do Fallen Leaves Impact Your Grass?
Fallen leaves are part of autumn’s unique charm, but as they begin to form a thick layer over your grass, they could cause long-term damage to your lawn.
A thick layer of fallen leaves may block the sun from reaching your grass, preventing your lawn from absorbing the right amount of light. They may also lock in moisture, which can lead to rotted roots or fungal diseases. If you live in a hot and dry climate, fallen leaves can pose a fire hazard, and can lead to much bigger problems than patchy grass.
Alternatives to Raking Your Lawn
Raking leaves into a pile and leaving them there can destroy the area they’re sitting on. You should remove leaves entirely from your lawn to prevent damage as mentioned above. Leaving a layer of leaves on your lawn isn’t recommended, but you can use methods other than raking to remove them.
Mulching lawn mowers are designed to tear leaf matter into small pieces, turning the leaves into mulch. The mulch will slowly compost under the right conditions, eventually creating a nutrient-rich compost material.
Leaf mulching should be done early in the autumn season, before too many leaves begin to collect on your grass. The compost material can be beneficial for your grass in moderate amounts, but it may begin to compete with your lawn for nutrients if it is layered too heavily. As the mulch composts, it may siphon nitrogen from your lawn’s soil, ultimately hurting your grass. After a 3-centimeter layer of leaves forms on your lawn, stop your mulching process and use another method to prevent further damage to your grass.
One way to reduce leaf mulch’s competition for nutrients with your lawn is to compost the leaves before you place them over your lawn. Instead of raking your leaves and leaving them on a pile to destroy one area of your grass, consider putting the leaves in a compost drum. Combine the leaves with several cups of nitrogen-rich soil and let them sit for several weeks. During this period, the leaves will break down and form nutrient-rich compost material.
After your leaves have composted, take the material and spread it evenly across your lawn. It’s packed with nutrients your grass needs, like nitrogen and phosphorous, making it an excellent and budget-friendly way to improve your lawn’s health.
Keep Your Lawn Green During Autumn
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of leaf removal and other alternative methods to raking, contact our team to learn more about our services. The Bur-Han Garden & Lawn Care team offers Leaf Clean-up services to help keep your lawn looking healthy and green as the trees begin to drop their leaves. Call us today to get a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your next outdoor project.