One of the most infamous bits of fall yard work is raking the falling leaves. Whether you have several acres of land or just a small yard with a single tree, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with falling leaves at some point. Some people religiously rake their yards each and every week, while others seem to let the leaves pile up across the entire season. Which approach is better?
By raking the leaves, you keep a neat and tidy yard that looks trim for the whole season. There are other benefits besides the aesthetic ones, though. If you live in the south, for example, rotting leaves are often an open invitation to cockroaches and other insect pests. Letting the leaves sit around your home, especially near entrances like doors, means that you’ll almost definitely have more problems with bugs. Another problem that comes from too many leaves is the death of your grass. Grass needs sunlight to grow, and if it is blocked and smothered by a layer of leaves, by the time the spring comes around you won’t see that bright green new growth.
However, leaving your leaves alone is not without its benefits as well. Perhaps the greatest is the improved soil quality that you’ll get. As the leaves decompose, they act as fertilizer, and the rich minerals that they place into your soil will help other plants to grow stronger once the leaves are gone (as long as they aren’t smothering your plants in the meantime!). And while leaves are a haven for unwanted bugs like roaches, they are also home to beneficial insects that will help keep your lawn’s ecosystem in top shape. Getting rid of the leaves removes many of the things that your yard needs to look and grow its best throughout the year.
So what is a homeowner to do? A good compromise is to remove SOME of your leaves (like the ones that build up around your back door, or the ones that fall really thickly) and to dispose of the others. Don’t think that you’re doomed to the backbreaking labor that is using a rake, though. You can remove leaves with other methods, like a leafblower, or you can mulch them right where they sit with a lawnmower. Mulching allows you to get those fertilizer benefits without the potential downsides that comes with leaving your leaves.
The decision is ultimately up to you. If the thought of yard work every week makes you dread the weekend, it might be beneficial to enjoy your time off and reap the benefits of a leafy yard. If your yard is your pride and joy, it would be a shame to let the leaves ruin your hard work from the rest of the year. Take into account all you want our of your fall and yard and pick the best option for your needs.