Do I Really Need to Rake My Leaves?

brightly colored leaves covering the courtyard of an old stone houseJim Pruitt / Shutterstock

Even if you are tempted not to rake this year, do not do it. Raking your leaves can be a pain, but leaving them where they fall will damage your lawn. Instead of ignoring them, try these alternatives.

As tempting as letting the leaves fall where they can, if you let them accumulate undisturbed on your lawn, you'll have the recipe to start your spring garden maintenance routine with a bunch of mold and dots dead on your lawn. You do not necessarily need to rake them, however, and even if you do, the end result does not need to be bagged. Here's what you can do instead.

Use a lawn mower

If your mulch leaves a lawn mower in place, you can leave them on the grass where they will help add nutrients, without smothering them. Leaving leaves on the lawn will block the sun and cut the oxygen off your lawn.

The mulch leaves on your lawn will also be help stop weed growth.

Use mown leaves as mulch in gardens

If you mow the leaves and still do not want to leave them in your lawn, use them to protect your flowers and gardens. They will add nutrients to the soil and protect your plants during the winter (by isolating the roots from the snow).

The compost

You do not need to mulch your leaves to add them to the compost pile, although you need to rake them. Compost needs green materials, such as grass and leaves, mixed with brown materials. Compost can be used in gardens and on the grass to promote growth.

Make a worm bed

If you are a fisherman or have pets such as lizards or some fish that need live food, it is easy to create a worm bed in your garden when you add leaves to the mix. You can find worms under piles of wet leaves, so you will not even have to bring your own worms. Just put a pile of leaves on bare earth in your garden, flip them from time to time and dig up the earthworms underneath when you want to catch fish.

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