Leaf-Cycling and Leaf Removal for a Healthy Lawn

Anyone who's experienced a Georgia fall knows just how beautiful the landscape is when leaves start changing colors and the temperature begins to cool. But of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and once those leaves have finished their show, they will begin to fall down around us. Before we know it, it's time to start raking again.

Why Raking is Important

Your lawn needs four basic things to survive and stay verdant throughout the year: access to nutrition, water, air, and sunlight. As temperatures drop, and the sun spends less time in the sky, grass must contend with a harsher climate as it prepares to go dormant for the winter months. As leaves fall and begin to cover your grass, they create a canopy that prevents grass from absorbing the energy it requires from the sun.

The leaf canopy can also exacerbate issues with low water evaporation, causing water to pool and encouraging growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. The environment that is created under the leaves is an ideal habitat for harmful lawn pests, leading to further lawn damage.

How to Remove Leaves Productively

If your goal is simply to remove and dispose of leaves on your lawn, there are a few different options based on your needs:

Leaf Blowers

A leaf blower is a great tool for quickly and effectively displacing leaves. These machines are relatively simple to use and can be powered by gas or by electricity. The most effective strategy for using a leaf blower is starting at one corner of a lawn, and slowly working your way out in a cone shape toward the other side of the lawn.

The downside to a leaf blower is that because you are casting the leaves away from your position with a high-powered wind, it can be difficult to collect those leaves at the other side for disposal. Pair this strategy with a large tarp to prevent extra clean-up work or attach a collection bag to the leaf blower and use it to vacuum the leaves away instead.

Rakes

Rakes are an exceptional tool for removing leaves from a lawn because they offer a high level of control over the end-product. Raked leaves can easily be moved from one corner of a lawn to another for composting purposes, or they can be piled and lifted with the rake for disposal using paper bags. Pull the rake toward you as you walk backwards and be prepared for a job that can take a while depending on the size of the area you're working on.

Mulching, or Leaf-Cycling

Leaf-cycling describes the process of breaking leaves into very small pieces that will then rot naturally and become compost. This compost can be collected and placed around fragile plants during the cold months to keep them safe and fed or can be allowed to settle back into a lawn to feed the lawn once spring begins again.

Mulching can be accomplished with a regular lawn mower with the grass collection bag removed. Leaves will be chopped up by the lawn mower's blades and depending on the amount of rain that falls in the next couple of days, the shredded leaves will settle below the grass over time.

Lawn Pests You May Encounter in the Fall

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