Rake Debate: Should You Be Picking Up The Fallen Leaves This Winter?

January 10, 2014 | Lawn Care, posted by Sasha

It’s an age-old routine that kids and parents who were once kids know all too well. The daunting task of going out in the cold, bundling up with gloves and a sweater, grabbing the rake from the garage or shed, and raking up all of the leaves that are covering the yard into one great big pile, is not just a chore; it’s a notable childhood memory and borderline past time. Every kids worst nightmare turned fun time is being told to rake the leaves. Sure, it’s a good amount of manual labor. However, after all the work is said in done you have a big pile of leaves to cushion your fall for jumping on and bury yourself alive in the remnants of the past season.

Raking the leaves is usually chalked up to necessary and common lawn work, but there is actually a lot of debate over whether or not you should actually rake up your leaves at the end of fall. This is because there are definite causes and effects that come from both sides of the fence. Since there are many people out there wondering what exactly to do with their scattered and tattered seasonal lawn ornaments, this will hopefully give a little bit of insight as to whether or not you should rake up all the leaves in your yard.

wooden rake

To understand why there is a constant battle between those who have a rake in hand and those who stay in doors and laugh, you have to see the benefits and issues from each side. One thing that can be agreed on is that our grass is alive and growing, or so we hope. Because it is a living plant that thrives off of carbon dioxide and sunlight in order to sustain it’s own well being, it’s understandable why people frequently water their grass and clear obstacles that block the sun. These main resources that grass uses to live can easily be compromised within a week long period where fall turns to winter and leaves begin to shake off of trees. When there is a solid coating of leaves across a lawn, it will be come very difficult for a tree to sustain it’s driving life force.

Leaves pile up quickly, which means that sunlight and carbon dioxide can soon be unable to penetrate them to reach the ground. In the event of large areas of grass being covered by fallen leaves and not being raked, slow and serious suffocation can occur which might compromise any future plans the grass has of being lush and green come springtime. However suffocating the lawn from the main nutrient it requires for survival isn’t the only thing that happens when it’s essentially blanketed by the changing and falling leaves. In fact, despite what this happening may seemingly kill off it is actually a thriving center for something else to live.

Fungus, insects, and small rodents, all love to take shelter with the seemingly endless amounts of leaves that may be covering a lawn. They make it their dwelling and home for the coming cold months because underneath many layers of leaves they are able to trap moisture and surprisingly warmth. By creating a humid microclimate inside these small leaf-based nests smaller insects and animals have formed a great way to find shelter and even burrow deeper into the ground which may cause serious problems for your grass come spring time. Things like gophers and field mice can easily leave their mark on a patch of grass that is hidden under a great blanket of leaves. But sometimes the rodents are far from the biggest threat, as bacteria can grow and accompany fungus which may do very long term and extensive damage to your lawn. It’s not uncommon that fungus patches will thrive under un-raked leaves and as a result remain present throughout the entire spring and summer as they feed off the life of the grass and make it difficult for lawn owners to rid them. It’s important to rake up all the leaves to allow the ground to dry out and ward off being the host to some serious bacterial and fungus growths.

While there is definitely some evidence as to why you should rake your leaves as they fall, it’s not to say that claims towards leaving your leaves as they fall is unprecedented. Infact, there are a few different reasons as to why you should consider keeping the leaves un-ranked. One of the most notable reasons is that leaves have the potential to be a very good source of nutrients themselves for your lawn. Because leaves fall when they essentially die off from their host trees, this qualifies them for being a part of a compost pile because they will be a once living organism that will soon breakdown through the nitrogen cycle. So instead of breaking your back by getting out there and dragging them into a big pile to bag them up, consider a quicker solution.

By using our mulcher or lawn mower without a catch bag across the layer of fallen dead leaves that has bestowed itself on your lawn, you can create a quick and easy type of fertilizer that is smaller and mulched up. This makes it easier to be aerated through the passing of the day and be broken down by the sun and the organisms that will grow within the little mushed up leaf piles. As a result, your lawn and grass will quickly absorb more of the nutrient that are present in the leaves and use them as energy to withstand the brutal frozen temperatures and shortened sunlight periods to come.

In the end, the decision to rake your yard of fallen leaves or not has a lot to do with the types of trees that are present and how much they are dropping. If the amount of leaves is very insignificant then the wind and natural elements will most likely handle it themselves. However if the leaves are greatly overpowering your lawn and run the risk of suffocating it, you may want to consider picking up the rake and giving your grass some room to breath. Should you find that there’s a need for more grass growing tips or just an overall revamped look in your yard’s luscious green coverage come springtime, contact Texas’ The Grass Outlet today.