Fall Lawn Care 101 – What to Do With Fall Leaves

Leaves on Fall Lawn

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By the time autumn rolls around, many homeowners are tired of lawn maintenance. After all, you’ve spent the entire summer watering, trimming, and mowing. You’ve been taking the steps to ensure your lush, green grass stays that way — and then the leaves start to fall…

Fall Lawn Care 101 

Although you might be tempted to let the fall leaves stay on the grass for the winter, it’s rarely a good idea to let the leaves just lay there. And it’s not because your neighbors might complain. Here’s what you need to know as you prepare for your fall lawn maintenance.

Are Fallen Leaves Good for the Grass?

Fallen leaves have nutrients that are great for enriching the soil. When they biodegrade naturally, they leave behind carbon, nitrogen, and other organic matter essential to plant growth. Worms love this stuff. They pull it into the soil and leave behind worm castings that do even more to improve your lawn.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Fall Leaves Cover Your Grass

Although there are benefits from fallen leaves, it’s a different story when leaves are just covering the lawn. It takes leaves a long time to break all the way down, and when they fully cover the lawn, they limit the amount of sunlight and oxygen getting to the grass, which is something you really want especially if you’ve recently planted grass seed. Large clumps of leaves can also create soggy piles that turn turf into mud, which is also less-than-ideal when you’re building up a lawn.

Is it Okay to Leave Leaves on the Lawn Over Winter?

No, leaves left on the lawn during fall will soon become frozen clumps during the winter. These clumps will become soggy piles in the spring. That’s why we recommend mulching your leaves this Fall. Your grass will thank you—and so will your neighbors!

Raking vs. Mulching:

Do I Have to Rake my Leaves?

Many, if not most, homeowners rake the leaves into piles and haul them away. However, it’s a much better idea (and easier than raking!) to mulch the leaves. This way, your lawn retains the nutrients and stays neat and tidy.

What is Mulching Leaves? 

Mulching leaves is the process of chopping leaves into smaller, more easily broken down pieces and it’s much easier to do than most people realize. 

How Do You Mulch Leaves?

You can mulch leaves by mowing over the leaves. Then use the side discharge on your mower to spread the clippings over your lawn. Areas of especially heavy mulch deposit might require you to spread the debris by hand, but most of the work will be done by your lawn equipment.

Why Should I Mulch my Leaves Instead of Raking them?

Mulching leaves is a great way to keep the nutrients without sacrificing aesthetics. By breaking the leaves into pieces so small they can’t be seen by the naked eye, you can keep everything looking neat.

At the same time, these smaller pieces will break down faster, meaning you’ll get more nutrients at a faster rate—something that’s ideal when you’re prepping your lawn for winter.

What’s a Good Lawn Mower For Mulching?

Toro® TimeCutter® riding mowers with a Recycler Kit accessory is a great choice, or if you have a Toro® lawn mower with a Recycler® cutting system. 

By adding on the Toro Recycler system, you create your own natural fertilizer. This patented system cuts grass clippings 6-8 times, turning them into a fine nutrient-rich mulch to feed your lawn all season. The secret lies in the unique ‘kickers’ and baffles that direct clippings back into the blades to be re-cut before being released into your lawn. The excellent clipping control means you can evenly disperse the mulch.

Browse all Toro® Recycler® Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers.

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