Leave the Rake in the Shed
One MU scientist wants people to know that leaving leaves where they fall might not ruin the grass like people always thought it would. University of Missouri horticulture specialist James Quinn writes in the newsletter, The Missouri Environment and Garden, the benefits of mowing leaves, rather than raking them.
"It's a very effective way to handle leaves coming off trees and didn't really have any detrimental effect on lawn quality," says Quinn.
The studies he analyzed show leaves don't affect the color or quality of grass or the soils pH level.
"Ideally you want to mow over the leaves several times. That way they go from being really big to really small," Quinn expalined. "Then they sift towards the soil, recycle its nutrients, and still allow the sun to reach the grass."
If you decide to mow your leaves, first check for sticks and wear a mask as chopping dry leaves can get dusty. There is one drawback for Quinn's family.
"My kids don't get to jump in a big leaf pile. So they like to complain about that, but I point out I'm the one stuck raking the leaves," Quinn said.
But the benefits of less time and labor are tempting. Mowing your leaves also reduces bag usage and landfill waste. 30 pounds of leaves fall off that pretty pin oak in the front yard.