Is it better to rake or mulch? It depends, says one expert

October 12, 2017 - 6:42 am
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Which option is better for your lawn, and your back; raking leaves or just mowing over them?

An expert told KMBZ there are pros and cons to both options.

The first concern is the size of the individual leaves and the amount of material that has fallen, said Dr. Rodney St. John, agronomist with Ryan Lawn & Tree.

Mulching has the benefit of enriching the soil.

"A lot of the soils, especially in newer subdivisions, are subsurface clay soils that don't have a lot of organic matter, and by incorporating the grass clippings and the tree leaves, we can increase the organic matter quicker," St. John said.

But mulching too often can be detrimental to the lawn. 

"When you get into an older neighborhood with big 30-inch trees, oak trees and maple trees that drop a lot of leaves, in a couple of leaves you can run into a problem where the soil becomes too light and fluffy and that leaf material doesn't break down fast enough," St. John said.

People who rake or blow their leaves have to consider disposing of them. Most cities offer leave pickup or do-it-yourself disposal sites. Hiring a lawn service for leaf removal can cost $50 to $60 per man hour.

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