Don't rake your leaves this fall

Raking leaves can be a big pain. Once you get a nice pile, a gust always comes along and messes it up.
Then you have to worry about what to do with them. If you have a large property and a compost pile or tumbler, that's a good use for them, but you also need to have an adequate amount of green material in your pile to offset the browns.

If you live in a town with a leaf collection program, you rake it out onto the street or bag it and wait for pick up. The leaves can disrupt curb side parking and create a mess when it rains.

A better solution, just mow over them. The mower will crush them into little pieces and over time they will decompose into material that will help feed your lawn. It's like composting in your lawn. You save the trip to and from the composter as well as the effort in turning.

You don't even need a special mulchinig mower or mulching blade. I searched online and found a few people suggesting that you can mulch mow with a regular blade. This year I decided to sharpen my blade and stop using my bag. That way the grass clippings go back into the soil.

This fall, I did the same with the leaves. Instead of raking up the leaves I just mowed them over. The leaves were a couple of inches high but the leave fragments that were left were only scattered among the blades.

I didn't just do the leaves either. As you're trimming back your plants just throw them on the lawn and mow them in too.

Some things you should keep in mind:
  • Make sure the leaves are dry. Wet leaves clump up and don't chop easily.
  • Use a rake to spread the leaves around so you don't have spots that are too dense.
  • While spreading around, pick up any twigs, branches, pine cones or other debris.
  • If necessary, make two passes, one on the high setting the other on a lower setting.
  • Go slowly to chop the leaves up finely.
  • Make sure you're blade is sharp.
The chopped up leaves should decompose quickly and no longer be noticeable. Soon enough, snow will cover your lawn anyway.
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