Well, it’s getting to be that time of year again. The days are already shorter, and this colder weather has my knees acting up. But that won’t stop me from puttering around the house and the yard. I’ve got to get things ready for the cold weather, especially if this winter is anything like last year’s. You know, a lot of people don’t care for yard work, but I’ve always found it pretty satisfying. You really see immediate results, especially in the fall if you rake up your leaves. But, wouldn’t you know it, there are some people who are all about raking and other who prefer to let their leaves sit. I’m in the camp for raking, but let’s look at the other side today, too, and see what all the fuss is about.
To Rake or Not to Rake
Now, I like to rake my leaves so the lawn looks better. Think about when you see dead leaves after a rainstorm. Not a pretty sight. Plus, when you don’t rake your leaves, they end up all over your porch, your car, and your driveway. I like raking so I can contain the leaves and give my house some curb appeal. Besides that, I don’t want to smother my grass and kill it off or invite mold and other critters to take up residence. And, as a side note, emptying your gutters of dead leaves is a must.
But there are folks out there who don’t like to rake, and it’s not just because they’re too lazy to pick up a rake. Leaving some dead leaves on your lawn acts like compost and feeds the grass. However, you don’t want a foot-thick layer of dead leaves. About 10%-20% of your lawn can be covered with leaves. Any more, and you could have trouble come spring. A lot of people swear by mulching leaves into your lawn. Most mowers offer this setting to chop leaves into tiny pieces, also acting as a kind of compost. These mulched leaves can also be spread onto planting beds and around trees to act as insulation against the cold weather.
Composting Your Leaves
If you still decide to remove the bulk of your leaves from your lawn, nab a composter or any big plastic tub. In addition to the leaves, add eggshells, banana peels, vegetable peels, weeds, and most other organic matter. You’ll want to stir this up every now and then to break things down further. Come spring, spread your compost onto the plant beds to feed the soil and your plants.
Trashing Your Leaves
Why would you want to throw leaves into the trash? You can use them so many ways to enrich your lawn. But if you go this route, you’ll want to get some paper bags—usually found at hardware stores—and stuff in your leaves to be picked up on trash day.
What About Burning My Leaves?
Burning leaves used to be the preferred method for getting rid of your leaves, but it’s now illegal in almost every state. Indiana has laws against open burning. Smoke from fires—whether you’re burning leaves or burning trash—poses a number of hazards to your health and property, not to mention the surrounding areas. And no one likes breathing someone else’s smoke (which is one of the reasons we sell furnace filters)!