Mulch Leaves into Lawn

image1 Mulching leaves into the lawn has no detrimental effect on turf health, and can save raking! Disposing of fallen tree leaves by raking, blowing or picking up with a mower bag is labor intensive and expensive. This problem can be solved by mulching leaves with a rotary mower with the collection bag removed. If the leaves are mown regularly enough they should be easy to mulch. A thick carpet of leaves may need mowing several times, or the excessive leaves raked and composted.

A study conducted over several years at Purdue University shows that using a rotary mower to mulch leaves into the lawn, rather than raking them up, has no detrimental effect on turf health. In fact, the mulched leaves may improve soil conditions. Added benefits of mulching leaves include saving time raking and saving the cost of hauling bags of leaf litter away. Furthermore, mulching disposes of the leaves without filling up city landfills.

New research at Michigan State University* is suggesting that there may even be some herbicidal effects of mulched tree leaves. In a 2004-2005 study, mulched maple leaves (particularly sugar maple) were seen to control broadleaf weeds like dandelions.

*Reference: Kowalewski,A., Buhler,B., Lang,S., Nair,M., and Rogers. J. (2007) Effect of Mulched Maple Leaves on Common Dandelion in Established Kentucky Bluegrass. ASA Abstract.

Authors: Pamela Sherratt & Dr. Dave Gardner