Can leaves damage your lawn?

Can leaves damage your lawn?




 Don’t Leave the Leaves—Rake ‘Em, Bag ‘Em, or Mulch ‘Em


    Now that most of the trees (except some pesky Oaks) have shed their leaves, it is important to understand the necessity of removing them in order to help maintain a healthy lawn.   Leaves are an enemy to quality turf and while during winter time, they may be “outta sight and outta mind”, rest assured that they are silently waging a battle with your lawn.   Leaves are detrimental to home lawns because of the following factors:

  1)  They shade sunlight from the lawn.   A layer of leaves will keep the turf and soil much wetter than if they were removed.  If a pile of leaves are left in one area for too long, the continual wetness can actually rot and kill those sections of the yard.

  2)  Leaves are a perfect home for insects and diseases.   Overwintering insects are looking for a warm place to reside during the colder temperatures.  Leaves act like a warm blanket for them to hide under during the winter and are also a perfect breeding ground for diseases.  

3)  As the calendar turns to a new year, lawn companies begin their spray applications in earnest.  Leaf removal is suggested to insure that the chemicals reach the turf and soil level and don’t get bound up in a bed of leaves.   Some herbicides are ineffective if they cannot get to the spot in which they are intended.   So, to get the best bang for your buck, make sure that leaves are removed before your scheduled service.  

In short, take advantage of some of the warm winter days that are available and do your lawn a big favor.  Get rid of the pesky leaves to help your lawn be as healthy as possible.  If you choose to mulch your leaves, and there is certainly nothing wrong with doing so, it is advantageous to mulch when the leaves are completely dry.  This will insure that they are diced into as many small pieces as possible.