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Do I Really Need to Rake My Leaves?

brightly colored leaves blanketing the yard of an old stone home
Jim Pruitt/Shutterstock

Even if you’re tempted to skip raking this year, don’t. Raking your leaves may be a pain, but leaving them where they fall will damage your lawn. Instead of ignoring them, try these alternatives.

As tempting as it is to just let the leaves fall where they may, if you let them accumulate undisturbed on your lawn, you’ll have a recipe for starting your spring yard care routine with a bunch of mold and dead spots on your grass. You don’t necessarily need to rake them, though, and even if you do, the end result doesn’t need to be bagging them up. Here’s what you can do instead.

Use a Mulching Mower

If you mulch leaves up with your lawnmower, you can leave them on the grass where they will help add nutrients, without choking off the grass. Leaving leaves on the lawn whole will block out the sun and cut off the oxygen from your grass.

Mulched leaves on your lawn will also help stop weeds from growing.

Use Mowed Leaves as Mulch in Gardens

If you mow the leaves and still don’t want to leave them in your lawn, use them to protect your flowers and gardens. They’ll add nutrients to the soil and protect your plants during the winter (giving the roots insulation from the snow).

Compost Them

You don’t have to mulch your leaves to add them to the compost pile, though you do need to rake them. Compost needs green materials, like grass and leaves, in the mix with brown materials. Compost can be used in gardens and on the grass to help with growth.

Make a Worm Bed

If you’re a fisherman or have pets like lizards or certain fish that need live food, starting a worm bed in your yard is easy when you add some leaves to the mix. You can find worms under wet piles of leaves, so you don’t even have to bring in your own worms. Just put a pile of leaves on some bare earth in your yard, turn them from time to time, and dig up worms from the dirt below when you want to catch some fish.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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