Will Fallen Leaves Damage Your Lawn? How to Remove Them Effectively
As autumn takes hold, one of the inevitable consequences is falling leaves. Walking through carpets of crisp, fallen leaves is enjoyable when out on a countryside stroll. However, leaves falling on your lawn at home can be problematic if left to accumulate. But will fallen leaves actually damage your lawn? And what’s the most effective way to remove them? Read on to find out.
Will Fallen Leaves Harm Your Lawn?
In short – yes, fallen leaves can damage your lawn if left piled up for too long. Here are the potential issues:
Smothering the grass – Just like any covering, a thick layer of fallen leaves will block sunlight from reaching the grass blades. This can prevent photosynthesis, causing the grass to become starved of light and nutrients. If the leaves remain for an extended period, the grass can become extremely weakened or die off completely in affected areas.
Promoting fungal diseases – Decaying, damp leaves provide the perfect conditions for fungal diseases. These diseases can rapidly spread through your lawn while it’s suppressed under fallen leaves.
Encouraging moss growth – Compacted fallen leaves allow moss to thrive as there is less competition from grass. Moss growth is an indication of poor lawn health. As it spreads, moss further smothers out grass.
Creating patchy bare areas – Where fallen leaves lie for a long time, grass will die back. This leaves unsightly bare patches when the leaves are removed. These areas will need reseeding to restore your lawn’s lush appearance.
Harbouring pests – Slugs and other insects can nest happily in piles of rotting leaves. These pests can then wreak havoc on your lawn come springtime.
So while a light covering of leaves over autumn is fine, it’s clear that accumulated fallen leaves are detrimental to the health and appearance of your lawn. The good news is that removing them is a relatively straightforward process.
How to Remove Fallen Leaves From Your Lawn
To banish fallen leaves and avoid lawn damage, take action as soon as leaves start to build up. Here are 5 effective methods:
Rake It Up – The traditional approach is to regularly rake up fallen leaves. Use a bamboo rake with wire or plastic tines. Rake across small sections at a time, lightly lifting the leaves as you go. Take care not to rake down to the soil, as this can damage grass blades. Empty the leaf piles into a garden waste bag. Raking weekly will prevent too many falling leaves accumulating. It’s satisfying exercise too!
Mow It Up – Set your lawnmower blades higher to safely mulch up fallen leaves as you mow. The shredded leaf pieces will decompose into the lawn, adding nutrients back into the soil. This is a quick method for managing lighter leaf drops. Be sure to empty the mower bag frequently to avoid blocking up.
Blow Them Away – A leaf blower is an effortless way to clear leaves from your lawn. Blow fallen leaves across the lawn and into one pile for easier removal. Just be careful not to blow away precious topsoil along with the leaves! This method is best for clearing large leaf volumes quickly.
Leave Them Be – If your lawn only has a light sprinkling of leaves, just leave them. Running over them once or twice with a mower will shred the leaves finely. This leaf mulch will break down naturally to provide added nutrition for your grass. Just keep monitoring the lawn, removing any excess leaf build up with the methods above.
By taking action as soon as fallen leaves start carpeting your lawn, you can avoid any leaf-induced lawn damage. Be sure to compost any leaves you remove where possible. And your lawn will stay lush, green and healthy through autumn and beyond.