Vibrant Living November 2016
The Rake Debate: Should you leave the leaves or rake them?
A healthy, attractive lawn is an important part of a home. It’s not only a great way to add curb appeal and value to your home, but your yard is also a place where memories are made. From summer barbecues to backyard camping adventures—your lawn, just like your home, is an extension of you. That’s why many homeowners work so hard to keep it in tip-top shape throughout the year, even in autumn when the leaves begin to fall.
But are all those hours spent raking your lawn really worth it? While some say raking your lawn is essential to keeping it healthy, others argue that fallen leaves are actually beneficial for your grass.
Why you should leave them
Fallen leaves act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn, helping to keep it healthy. Raking them not only removes these important nutrients, but bagged leaves also typically end up in landfills, which increases waste and releases methane (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.
Why you should rake them
Letting leaves pile up can smother your grass, especially if left throughout the winter. This can cause mold and fungus to grow and, consequently, kill your grass. What’s more, a yard full of leaves can become unsightly and reduce the curb appeal that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
So, which view is correct? The answer is both.
Fallen leaves do in fact provide nutrients for your lawn, but allowing them to pile up over the winter can do some serious damage as well. The solution? Mulch them. Rather than raking and bagging, use a mower or mulcher to chop the leaves into small pieces. This allows them to fertilize your lawn without suffocating it. In the spring, the leaves will be gone, and your grass will appear greener and healthier.
Still think it’s unsightly? As an alternative, you can rake the leaves into a flower bed or add them to a compost to keep your yard clean and avoid sending them to the landfill.
Fall Maintenance Checklist
If you live in an area where leaves aren't an issue, use this checklist to keep your home's exterior in good condition this fall:
- Clean gutters and downspouts
- Clean and store lawn equipment
- Caulk windows, door frames, and any cracks in your foundation
- Inspect your roof for damage and fix any areas that need repair
- Repair cracks in your driveway and apply a sealer if necessary
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