Yes you can mulch leaves into your lawn successfully and to the benefit of your turf. Many studies have proven that fact that if done properly, finely mulching leaves into the turf in fall can provide a natural fertilizer source, organic value and some weed suppressant quality. Here are some bullet points of things to consider:
- Leaves obviously don’t all fall at the same time, unless we are talking about a Gingko tree. Gingko trees when they make up their mind to shed their foliage do so in the matter of a day making collection for the homeowner efficient. Other trees however drop their leaves over a period of time. You could wait until all the leaves have fallen but you don’t want to suffocate the lawn in the process. Turf needs light and air.
- Like the song says, Raking up is hard to do. However it is great exercise and fresh air. If you want to rake up the leaves and recycle or compost good for you. However….your lawn could use the benefits of the leaves and you can find other ways to exercise.
- Don’t wait until spring. (see suffocation comment above)
- You can wait until a good wind storm so the leaves blow into your neighbors yard but I wouldn’t count on it. Besides, why waste the nutrient and organic value of those leaves at your feet. If managed properly they can help you build a healthier thicker turf for next year.
- You need a mulching mower with a sharp blade. A regular mower doesn’t circulate the leaves within the deck like a good mulching mower. You want the leaves to be finely chopped.
- Make multiple passes on the lawn from different angles or paths.
- A rule of thumb is the grass should not be obscured and a minimum of 1/3rd of the turf leaf blades should be showing when you are done. Ideally after multiple passes less than 25% of the surface should be leaves.
- You will be far more successful and efficient if you mulch the leaves when they are DRY instead of wet.
- Don’t move leaves to the street and curb. They can clog storm drains and the nutrient rich foliage can cause problems for waterways.