Leaves: Rake or Mulch?

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Lawns should be dormant by this time of the year or at least mostly dormant. I know mine hasn’t put on any new growth for a couple of weeks now. Mowing shouldn’t be needed right now, but that doesn’t mean that maintenance is completely done.

If there are trees in the area that drop leaves, keep them removed from the lawn as often as possible. I know some people that rake the lawn every day. I don’t have time for that, but on Saturday’s when I would normally be mowing the lawn, I find myself with a rake in hand removing the leaves from the grass. I don’t put them on the side of the road to be picked up or haul them to the convenience site, but I do use them for mulch in some of the beds around the house.

Leaves make a great mulch. If they have been chopped up by a leaf vacuum or a lawn mower with a mulching blade and a bagger, they don’t blow away easily. This allows the leaves to provide shelter for wildlife, a blanket for plant roots, a moisture retention blanket, and a weed prevention barrier.

Another good task at this time is to control winter weeds. I noticed several winter annuals in my lawn the other day. Hand pulling is one option if there are only a few. However, if there are several, a lawn weed control application around the middle to the end of the month will kill the weeds while they are young.