Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Gardening Task #5: Mowing leaves into Turf

   A few years ago, one of the gardening periodicals I read, Fine Gardening magazine, featured an article on the advantages of mowing the leaves in to the turf in the fall, instead of raking them for public removal. They mentioned several advantages: reduced labor (no raking!!), reduced algae bloom from phosphorous and nitrogen run-off in to the sewers, reduced public budgets, and (believe it or not) better health of your turf! 

We have used this technique in our yard for the past couple of years,and have been pleased. We have no scientific proof that our lawn has improved in health, but I can say that mulching the leaves into the yard has not caused dead spots or smothered turf. 

The trick in our area is finding a day that is dry enough to mow. This can take some patience, but we do usually get at least one dry, warm evening after all the leaves are down.

For the complete article, visit Fine

Improve Your Soil by Raking Less by Terry Ettinger


The lesser known circle lawn in our backyard, just in front of the bunny hutch.

 The good news for us this week is that we have several really nice sunny days in the upper 50 degrees all in a row. It has been a beautiful break from the rain and frost just this past weekend. (The frost did make for some great pictures, though!) 


Fall Gardening Tasks Series:
#1 Planting Lavender in wet climates
#2 New perennials for fall planting 

#3  Thin Perennial Seedlings

#4 Bring in the tender plants (more whimsy than informative)


  1. Although I live in a warmer climate then you do, I think I can still learn a lot from you,

  2. Great tip! Have you mulched leaves and used them in your garden beds as a top dressing? I was thinking of trying that this year in my flower beds. Heard this tip from a Master Gardner at my local library. Great Blog and look forward to learning from you and great pictures too.

  3. According to the Scotts Company, there is evidence that mulched leaves are beneficial for the lawn. Here's a link:

  4. Thanks, Carolyn, for the link!

    Garden Fairy: Yes! That is the best use of leaves, as far as I am concerned. I let the ones that fall of my shade gardens stay there and even add more on the plants that are newly planted this fall to help give some insulation.

  5. Thanks for this - I'm mowing them in more now. :)

  6. I have been hearing about this a lot lately. I use most of the leaves in the yard for mulch on the veggie beds...we mow them up and with the grass and leaves mixed they make a great winter mulch. But if we had more than we needed I would absolutely do this. I will have to convince the mowing hubby...BTW Terry Ettinger works at our local Environmental, Science and Forestry college...very knowledgeable.

  7. Thanks Donna! I like this resource even better knowing that you are acquainted with Terry's reputation.

  8. this sounds a great idea; leaves make the most wonderful compost for the garden but it does take time. On the borders I usually leave them in situ. they are a pain when they fall on the gravel, nothing for it but to collect them and add to the compost heap. Christina

  9. I'm trying to talk my hubby into doing this with the remaining leaves on the lawn. Also, I mulched with Honey Locust leaves for the first time on my kitchen garden. The leaves are so tiny, they don't need any advanced shredding. Thanks for all the great info!

  10. I always rake the leaves off the lawn, but your post has given me pause. Maybe it is time to try something new and run the lawn mower over them. I like the idea of all that fresh compost.


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