I am lazy and therefore try to find the easiest way to do something. Taking care of leaves in the fall is no exception. I use my mower and mulch them into my lawn or I put the bag on and pick them up for the compost pile. My self-propelled mower is much easier than a rake. My wife and I do rake the leaves from the lilac hedge and other shrubs, and my wife rakes the leaves from her flower garden. These we gather up for the compost pile. 

          Using a mulching mower on grass in the summer or on leaves in the fall, does not increase thatch. Remember, thatch comes from overgrown roots caused by over fertilization of your lawn. The best way to prevent thatch and have a healthy lawn, is to core aerate at least once per year, and do not over fertilize.

          Chopping up the leaves with your mower and putting them back into your lawn is beneficial, according to a study done by Michigan State University turf specialists, and supported by University of Nebraska specialists. You do not want to put them on too thick, and you may want to go over them more than once so they are finely chopped. If you can’t see the green grass or most of it, they are too thick. After the trees have dropped all of their leaves and you have mowed for the last time this fall, it is important to put on a good winter fertilizer. The nitrogen in the fertilizer helps to break down the chopped leaves and grass. If you have already put on your winter fertilizer, you probably will want to add another bag between Halloween and Thanksgiving as our fall temperatures made the grass continue to grow and the nitrogen is probably used up and will not be carried over to spring.

          If you don’t want to mulch your lawn, you can put the catcher on and bag the chopped leaves. These can be tilled into your garden or added to your compost pile, or used as mulch over your roses and other plants.  Chopped leaves break down faster in the compost pile and do not mat when used around your rose bushes or other perennials. From the mower bag directly to the compost pile or garden also saves on plastic bags or paper bags. PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT!!!

          If you don’t want to use your mower, the next alternative is to rake your leaves, spread them out over the vegetable garden, and till them in, or put them in the compost pile. Do not put un-chopped leaves on your roses or use as mulch on other plants as they usually will mat down and therefore are not as beneficial. 

          As a last resort put the leaves in a paper bag and send them to your city compost recycling. These leaves and grass clippings end up as good compost after two years. In the spring and summer this good compost is usually available free of charge or for a small price. RECYCLE THOSE LEAVES!!!  

          For more information on how to make a compost pile that is clean and healthy go to “” and look for compost information. Or go to “”.  In the search box type “compost” and numerous publications will be available for downloading and printing. DO NOT FILL UP OUR LANDFILLS WITH YOUR LEAVES AND GRASS CLIPPINGS!!     RECYCLE!!

Copyright 2006 ... Oct 7, 2006