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Raking Vs Mulching Fall Leaves

Oct 04, 2023

To rake or not to rake? That is the big question of the fall season! While we certainly don’t recommend leaving the leaves untouched until winter, there is another option: Mulching! Here’s how to know when raking or mulching is best for your lawn (not to mention your back)!

Removing Leaves

Why do the leaves need to be removed at all? There are a few ways fall leaves can negatively affect the health of your lawn.


  • A blanket of leaves can prevent essential nutrients like sunlight and air from reaching your grass, smothering it and causing it to die.

  • Leaves can trap moisture, causing mold to grow.

  • Leaves can also create a moist environment for lawn diseases to thrive. 


It’s important to deal with accumulating leaves promptly throughout the fall season so your lawn can come back healthy and green in the spring!


Raking fall leaves on lawn



The age-old method for removing fall leaves is raking and bagging, and for good reason. When you rake and bag the leaves, you’re able to fully remove them from your lawn, preventing the potential lawn damage listed above–just make sure you don’t let your raked leaf piles sit for too long!


The downside of raking? It’s a lot of physical exertion! If you choose to mulch instead, your mower can do some of the work for you.


Mulching Lawn Mower



The biggest difference between mulching and raking is that mulching lets you use the natural benefits of fall leaves to your lawn’s advantage. Mulching mowers (or regular mowers with mulching blades) can shred unwanted leaves into tiny, organically-rich particles that will eventually decompose on your lawn. These leaf particles add valuable nutrients right back into the soil.


The downside? It only works if the leaves have not had time to thickly accumulate, so you’ll want to mulch multiple times throughout the fall season to keep the quantity of leaves manageable. If you wait too long and you’re dealing with a thicker layer of leaves, they can still harbor moisture and smother the grass, even when chopped into small pieces, and the wet, compacted leaves will interfere with the effectiveness of the mulching mower. That means you may end up raking and bagging anyway.

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