What Happens If You Don’t Rake The Leaves?

What Happens If You Don’t Rake Your Leaves?
Not raking your autumn leaves this year can have surprising consequences.

What if one bright, autumn day you decided, “How about I forget about maintaining my lawn, and just not rake the leaves this year?” What would happen if you threw your landscape to the wind? Would it devolve into utter disarray? Would you be met with unsightly dead patches of grass in the spring? If you don’t rake the leaves, you may be surprised by the consequences.

The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

Not raking the leaves has proven to be beneficial to a lawn. Leaves are full of nutrients, twice as many as some fertilizers. Leaves are a natural, free way to enrich the soil. Also, if someone leaves the leaves on their lawn over the winter, it will not necessarily kill the grass or do any damage. Some have even argued that it is better not to rake the leaves at all. 

The Problems of Fallen Leaves

On the other hand, fallen leaves do have the potential for some lawn problems. If your property has many big trees, you may have a thick pile of foliage covering your grounds every fall. If the layer of leaves is thick enough, it can eventually get matted and keep the grass beneath from air and sunlight. If your lawn is covered for weeks on end, problems may develop. Dead leaves are the perfect living quarters for unwanted insects, rodents, and slugs. The last thing you want is a yard infested with harmful critters. Compacted leaves can also lead to different types of fungal growth on the grass, like winter’s snow mold.

What to Do With Fallen Leaves

There are several ways to get the fertilizing benefits from leaves without letting them cause problems. One is to mow down the leaves into half-inch bits across the lawn. These leaf bits will sink past the grass blades into the soil and enrich it from there. Another method is to collect the mowed leaves or to rake the leaves and pile them onto garden beds and around trees. Still another way is to rake the leaves into one large composting pen. In the spring, you’ll have free fertilizer. If you decide not to rake your leaves this fall, it might not be that bad after all.

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