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Raking leaves vs. mulching leaves

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In the autumn trees lose their leaves, you can turn fallen leaves to mulch or rake them with a leaf rake To clear gardens of leaves, the most environmentally friendly ways are to rake or sweep them up, maybe into a compost bin. One alternative to this is to turn the leaves into mulch with a mower.
When leaves fall from the trees you might want to rake them into piles for disposing or turn them to mulch Lawn mowers with mulching attachments will chop up fallen leaves. This means they decompose faster and can be used as feed for soil. Some standard mowers may also be able to mulch leaves if set on their highest setting. Mulch can then be left in thin layers on grass or put in plant beds.

Advantages and disadvantages of raking leaves

Advantages and disadvantages of raking leaves

Raking leaves has some advantages and disadvantages

ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • A garden which has been cleared of leaves looks neat and tidy
  • Collected leaves can be composted
  • Raking leaves is good exercise and a chance to get fresh air
  • Raking will clear pine needles, twigs and other garden debris which can’t be mulched
  • Raking is environmentally friendly
  • Too many leaves can starve a lawn of air and light; they can also encourage disease and pests
  • Raking leaves can be labour intensive
  • Lifting large piles of leaves into bags or bins can be hard work
  • If you don’t have a compost bin you need to find a way to dispose of the leaves
  • If you have lots of leaves you’ll need a good quality rake
  • Raking all of the leaves can take away nutrients trees and plants can benefit from
  • Lots of leaves means you might need to rake a number of times during autumn and winter

Advantages and disadvantages of mulching leaves with a lawn mower

Advantages and disadvantages of mulching leaves with a lawn mower

You can use a mulching machine to turn fallen leaves into plant food, or use a rake to gather them up

ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • Using a lawn mower is not as labour intensive as raking leaves
  • Mulched leaves left on soil provide a natural fertiliser
  • If the mower collects the mulched leaves, the mulch can be used on any part of the garden to feed the soil
  • Mulched leaves in compost will break down quicker than whole leaves
  • Your lawn mower may need to have a mulching blade
  • Lawn mowers need to be powered by electricity or petrol
  • Too many mulched leaves can starve grass and plants of light and air, and encourage pests.
  • Lawn mowers are much more expensive to buy than hand rakes
  • You can only mulch fallen leaves, not pine needles and other debris
  • During heavy leaf fall you might need to mow more than once a week
  • Mulching diseased leaves can spread the disease