Does it make sense to get out my mower again to shred the fall leaves that remain on the lawn? My grass has stopped growing and I haven’t mowed for about a month.
I like to give my lawn a final trim with a mulching lawnmower after all the leaves are down. I move the blade down a notch from where it’s been set and remove the bagging attachment. And I sharpen the blade, if I haven’t done that recently. It usually takes two passes (the second time, I mow at right angles to the first pass) until the leaves are shredded fine enough to filter down among the grass blades. Over the winter months, the leaf bits and grass clippings will start to break down, adding humus to the soil.
This won’t work if your lawn is ankle-deep in leaves. Earlier in fall, when leaves are abundant, I rake them onto a tarp and transfer them to a compost bin to make leaf mold. Even two passes with a mulching mower won’t shred deep drifts of leaves enough that they will disappear into the turf, and they’ll end up smothering the lawn. If you can’t see the grass for the leaves, it’s better to clean them up with a rake, not a mower. But toward the end of autumn, when there are just a few leaves remaining, it makes perfect sense to return their nutrients to the soil.
The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is to rake your leaves to the curb to be hauled away. Whether I compost leaves or shred them for mulch, I prefer that their organic goodness remains in my yard. —Doug Hall