When it comes to leaves, there's no stopping them from covering your yard. Every fall the leaves separate from their branches and weave into a bright yellow blanket as they make their way down to the surface of your lawn. Then comes the question, should you rake them? Are you going to cause damage by getting rid of them or are you causing damage by not? The answer isn't so simple.
Are Leaves Bad For Your Grass?
Yes, leaves can be bad for your grass, but it all depends on the number of leaves and how much of your yard they cover.
The good: Too many leaves on your lawn are bad for a handful of reasons. If they are allowed to accumulate and cover a large percentage of the yard they will suffocate grasses, especially newly seeded cool-season lawns, like Fescue or Bluegrass. Too much leaf cover also makes it harder to provide proper weed control in the fall making it likely to see some weeds breakthrough over the winter and into the spring.
The bad: On the flip side, a smaller amount of leaves that don't cover the majority of your lawn has actually been shown to improve the health of your soil, and therefore your grass. It's okay to allow for about 25% of lawn coverage from leaves, but if it starts to become more than that you'll want to remove them.
Alternatives to Raking Leaves
Ok, so you've decided you need to do something about your leaves. What should you do? Raking can be a pain and take a long time, especially if you have a big yard and a ton of trees. The good thing is there are a few different options other than raking.
Mulch them: In our opinion, the best alternative to raking leaves is to keep them mulched. Mulched leaves have many benefits to the lawn, providing insulation over the winter as well as allowing carbon and other nutrients to be returned to the soil and made available for the plants to use. Remove the bag from your mower and run it over the leaves on your lawn, stopping when you can see about half an inch of grass show through the chopped-up leaves.
Use a blower: Blowing your leaves is similar to raking, but it takes less effort! Take a leaf blower and blow your leaves into multiple small piles. Once you have your piles you can either compost them or discard them using a tarp or trash can.
Hire someone: Lastly, if you don't want to deal with them yourself, you can hire someone to get rid of your leaves for you! Lawn care companies do this daily so they have the best methods down pat, and often get it done faster and more efficiently.
If you want to learn more about leaf clean-up, grass types in Arkansas, or lawn care in general, contact the Turf-Team today for more information!