Five reasons to not rake those leaves

brown oak leaves

It is near the end of fall. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees. So time to rake them from the yard, right? PROBABLY NOT! (* Though see comments below about maple tar spots.)

Here are five reasons:

1. Leaves are basically fertilizer waiting to happen, and you can speed along the process by running them over with a mower. You could use a mulching blade for a very fine chop, but just the regular mower will do fine. [Washington Post]

2. Researchers at Michigan State have been studying this practice and reports that the resuling leaf compost both helps the grass grow the next season and helps inhibit weeds. Said one of those Michigan State researchers of mowing the leaves into the lawn: "It's not only not a problem, it's awesome." [Michigian State Extension] [CS Monitor]

3. If you have a ton (well, probably not literally a ton) of leaves, you can mow and bag some of them and use them as mulch for garden beds or for composting. Again, free, natural fertilizer and weed control. [Fine Gardening]

4. Mulching and composting the leaves in your yard keeps them from having to be picked up as part of curbside garbage/recycling collection.

5. Leaf blowers are the devil's clarinet.

Comments

Except this year, there's been a widespread outbreak of Maple Tar Spot Disease. From Cornell Co-op Ext of Rensselaer County: "The most effective management practice in a home lawn situation is to rake and destroy leaves in the fall. This will reduce the number of overwintering "spots" (containing the fungal reproductive structures) which can produce spores the following
spring."
http://ccerensselaer.org/resources/tar-spot-of-maple

There is one very big reason to rake...It keeps the fungus, that has been attacking all our Maple trees, from spreading. Rake and bag them, don’t mulch, and your trees will have a better chance for next year.

Dan J and Leigh, thanks for the info. From the same reference: "Mulching leaves will suffice to destroy many of the spots before they mature, but the mulch pile should be covered or turned before new leaves begin to emerge in the spring."

Leaf blowers should absolutely be illegal. Hey all you new, useless Albany common council members - here's a chance to be non-useless. Support a ban on their use in the city. They're loud, they have very dirty engines, and they don't actually, you know, accomplish anything.

I'm not a scientist, but think the ticks would appreciate more leaves for overwintering, so I'd prefer to rake.

Don't mow! Many moth species (including luna moths) spin their cocoons inside leaf piles this time of year. Mowing destroys the pupae and cuts down a great deal on moth populations. Same goes for bagging and burning leaves.

Oh also a note on tar spot--it's an aesthetic problem only. The trees aren't harmed by it. The outbreak of tar spot this year was caused by the wet summer we had. If we have better weather next summer, than it's unlikely that we'll see fungal loads as high as we did this year.

Double whammy if you have pine trees
Definitely need to put rake them up if you want to have any grass.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

The Capital Region's home ownership rate ticked upward last year for the first time in a while

Another few bits for the apartments / rents discussion... The home ownership rate in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area ticked upward for the first time since... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Welcome to summer. Have a lemonade and some freshly-picked stuff to do. There's baseball, strawberries, jazz, wine ... all kinds of fun things to make... (more)

Dog poop is a universal issue

One of the bits from this Ian Bogost article about the topics that frequently pop up on Nextdoor: The dog-pop-in-other-people's-trash-cans issue is everywhere and all... (more)

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Tucked in at the end of a state Department of Environmental Conservation digest of agency police officer encounters -- titled "Strange Rattle in the Engine... (more)

Here's the design of that Henry Johnson commemorative medallion

Here's that how that coin-shaped medallion to honor Henry Johnson turned out. It will debut at a free event at The Palace June 27 at... (more)

Recent Comments

Troy has way more parking downtown than any other city I visit. There are 3 parking garages downtown and 2 are within 1000ft of Monument Square. There are public surface lots nearby. Outside the downtown core there is tons of street parking with few to no restrictions. It is unrealistic to expect cities to have parking directly in front of your destination like the suburbs. That's WHY they're different classifications.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

...has 2 comments, most recently from Ellen

Albany City Hall carillon concerts

...has 1 comment, most recently from Tim

Where to take foreign language classes

...has 6 comments, most recently from Bríd

Five takeaways from the start of the fifth major effort to redevelop 1 Monument Square

...has 9 comments, most recently from RedBarron

Morning Blend for Jun 20

...has 1 comment, most recently from ace