Raking or blowing fallen leaves each autumn is a tough, tiring job. That’s why I’ve always recommended waiting until all the leaves have fallen before putting the effort into clearing them. Otherwise, you’ll have to do it more than once. This year, I’m suggesting that you let your lawn mower do the work.
Most mowers today are mulching mowers. Make the most of that feature and use it for mulching leaves as well as grass, unless you have many, large trees that drop mountains of leaves. That way, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Mulching mowers have a chute for bagging or for side discharge when the grass is too long for proper mulching. When the chute is closed, the grass will be thrown around under the deck. This action causes the grass to be cut when it’s thrown up into the specially shaped mulching blade several times, resulting in finely chopped grass that simply falls to the ground.
The machine doesn’t discriminate between grass and leaves. If leaves have fallen, the mower will mulch them right along with the grass. Since the mower is doing the work, you don’t have to worry about how many times you are going over the yard. Every time you mow, you’ll chop and drop any leaves that accumulated since the last mowing. In fact, if the grass goes dormant before the leaves stop falling, keep mowing. Don’t worry about what the neighbors think.
This leaf management method has several advantages over the rake or blow method:
• The mower won’t mulch efficiently if you try to drive the mower into a big pile of leaves. However, you don’t have to worry about that when you mow them weekly.
• The leaf clippings will decompose right where they drop and add organic matter to your lawn.
• Adding leaf mulch weekly instead of all at once will allow it to decompose and begin adding organic matter to the lawn faster.
• You won’t have to handle the leaves several times – raking, loading into a compost bin, waiting months for it to decompose, shoveling it into a wheel barrow and spreading it.
Labor saving devices don’t have to be electronic and have a screen. Mowing your fallen leaves is just asking your mower to do double duty.