Do I need to remove the leaves on my lawn?

Question:

Do I need to remove the leaves on my lawn?

Answer:

Turfgrass plants utilize light, water, and nutrients to manufacture food.  In fall, lawn areas beneath large trees are often completely covered with leaves.  The leaf debris prevents the turfgrass plants from manufacturing and storing food prior to winter and can block light causing areas of the lawn to dieback leaving behind patchy areas of dead grass that are unsightly and more prone to weeds.    

Leaves on the lawn can be mowed with a mulching mower. Be sure they are chopped into pieces small enough to fall between the blades of grass.

A layer of leaves where little or no grass is visible will need to be managed.  Leaves can be collected by raking, blowing, or using the collection bag on a mower and then removed from the lawn and added to a compost pile or sent to a composting facility.   Gardeners can also manage leaves on the lawn by mowing.  Chopping the leaves up with a mulching mower can help return organic matter to the soil, benefitting the lawn, and for most people, it is easier than raking and removing.  The leaves must be chopped into pieces small enough to fall down between the blades of grass.  When finished, very little leaf debris should be visible.  Mowing is best done when the layer of leaves is thin and dry, so mow often throughout the fall.  If the leaf layer is thick, mow over an area more than once.

 

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 20, 2024