Yes, you have to rake leaves! Or mulch them, if you prefer. I am astonished at how much we are asked lately whether you need to rake or mulch leaves. Apparently this is a hot topic – who knew…
We have already covered the pros and cons of raking and mulching, and both of those options work, but the bottom line is, you must remove leaves from your lawn. If you don’t, you may end up with these lawn problems:
- Snow mold – it’s as gross as it sounds. And it doesn’t actually have to snow to occur. Snow mold is a fungus that thrives in cool, wet conditions, especially in grass that is covered (by leaves or snow, it doesn’t matter which). Depending on the species, snow mold can be gray or pink. Either way, it’s not green and it makes your grass look terrible. Rake the leaves!
- Impeded Grass Growth – especially in cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass. Cool season grasses thrive in the fall and will stay green until winter, but only if they can get sunlight, air, water, and nutrients. A layer of leaves on grass basically shades the entire lawn, preventing sunlight from reaching the grass blades. The magic of photosynthesis is killed.
- Wet Leaves Are Slippery – you or a family member could slip and fall on wet leaves in the yard, and especially on walkways.
- Insect Infestation – just like with fungus, a cozy cover of leaves makes a nice home for unwanted insects. Don’t give them the opportunity to infest your lawn in the fall and save yourself a lot of hassle in the spring.
Yes, raking leaves can be hard work, but you can also have fun with it, especially if you have kids. Raking is also good exercise, but make sure you use good form and take lots of breaks!