Fall Clean Up: Leaf Removal


Fall is upon us, and that means it's time for apple cider, pumpkin picking, and ghost stories! While this is a season full of fun, It also means it's time to roll up those sleeves and start prepping your home for winter. Raking, collecting, and ridding your lawn of fallen leaves is a great place to start.

Why bother removing leaves?

Raking leaves is a very important (but much despised) step to keeping your lawn healthy so it can bounce right back in the spring. If those dead leaves are buried under ice and snow all winter, they can actually grow mold and fungus (gross!) or harbor insects who will be primed for infestation when the warm weather comes. Built up leaves can also impede future grass growth by blocking access to sun and water when the snow begins to melt.


 Snow mold found under decayed leaves.

When should I start removing leaves?

Begin raking, mulching, or otherwise removing leaves from your lawn when you are done mowing for the season. If a few leaves are littering your lawn but you are still planning to mow one last time, you can go right over them with the mower and mulch them along with your grass clippings (unless, of course, you rake those too). This is also a great time to look up your neighborhood's municipal guidelines for curbside leaf disposal. Some places require biodegradable bags, some only collect leaves on certain days, and some do not collect them at all. It is important to know the rules regarding leaf pickup to avoid fines and headaches.


 Scattered leaves can be easily mulched with your lawn mower.

Should I use a rake, a mower, or a leaf blower?

Really, it comes down to personal preference. Each method has its pros and cons, and weighing the cost versus the benefit will be a personal process. Here are a few pointers to help you decide what will work best for you:


  • A great source of physical exercise! Just be sure to rest often, and avoid twisting or overarching your back.
  • Works on both dry and wet leaves simultaneously.
  • Leaves you with a pile of leaves that is fun to jump in (for kids and adults alike)!
  • Significantly less expensive than leaf blowers or mower blades.

Leaf Blowing

  • Less physically demanding, and generally faster than raking.
  • Works best on dry leaves. Wet leaves may still need to be raked afterwards.
  • Harder to pile leaves for collecting and bagging.
  • There are now electric blower options available that do not use gasoline or harm the environment.


  • Least physically demanding leaf removal method.
  • Mulched leaves are able to decompose and become organic compost that provide nutrients to your lawn all winter.
  • No need to collect and bag the mulched leaves, which saves time and prevents waste from plastic leaf bags.
  • Will need to be done at least once every week, as mowers can't handle very a heavy layer of leaves.

 "After" and "before" mulching using a lawn mower.

Help! I still have questions.

We are glad to answer any questions you may have about leaf removal, or other Fall clean-up tasks. Visit our Facebook page, tweet your questions, or stop in at any of our 41 locations to chat with our knowledgeable Associates! There are a variety of methods and types of equipment available to make all of your yard work quick and easy. We are here to help!