Raking Leaves or Mulching — Which Is Better?

Leave a Comment - 92



Subject: Fall leaves

If there are only a few leaves and the grass needs it, I will now to pick up leaves, and sometime mulch them. But more often than not I blow the leaves, chop them with my mulcher, and add either to my compost bin or directly on top of my perennial beds for winter protection.


Subject: Huh?

Mayer contradicts himself. First he says mulching adds organic material that breaks down and provided beneficial nutrients. Next he is quoted as saying mulching has no effect on nutrient availability. Which is it? I prefer mulching and plan to continue rather than spending hours stuffing leaves into expensive paper bags!


Subject: At our home in southern

At our home in southern California we have leaves from a Tulip (poplar) tree and a Chinese elm that shade a St. Augustine lawn. . I routinely mow and mulch the grass and leaves during the growing season and only rake once or twice a year when a lot of leaves fall over a few days. I also blow the leaves onto the lawn from the flagstone patio. The debris is invisible after 2-3 days and I think the lawn looks fine with watering from 0 to 2 times weekly, depending on how dry the grass appears.


Subject: leaves

In the summer we mulch all grass. In the fall, we blow the leaves that are thick and mulch the lightly scattered ones. We have never had any issues with this method


Subject: Mulching leaves

We do the same, Karen. All grass is mulched & light layers of leaves, but heavy leaf fall is blown into the woods to provide cover there. No problems.


Subject: Rake vs mulch

One researcher with nothing to gain either way says mulching can be okay. Two landscapers who make money removing leaves say mulching may be harmful. Hmm.


Subject: Who to believe...

Lets see...on the one hand, we have actual studies from at least 3 reputable Universities and/or Agricultural Extension Offices saying that mulching - if done properly - has no known effects (positive or negative) on lawn quality. On the other hand we have a couple of landscapers - who depend on fall clean-ups for a significant portion of their late season revenue - telling us we should remove the leaves from our yards.

I think I know who I trust in this debate...

Richard L. Smith


We have used several methods of handling fallen leaves on our lawn, and agree that there a pros and cons to each method. A light cover of leaves can be mulched and left on the grass without harm. As pointed out in a previous message, grass is not evenly covered with whole leaves, and may need to partially raked to help distribute the leaves prior to mulching to prevent overmulching. After the first mulching, any further leaf accumulation should be raked, or vacuumed into bags. Mulching the second and third accumulation of leaves will surely result in areas of yellowing and dead grass.

David S.

Subject: Rakin vs mulching leaves

I have a very large yard. I started mulching leaves using my Toro mulching mower 4 years ago. At the same time I reduced fall fertilizer treatment. The lawn had responded very well and I'll never rake again.


Subject: Maple tree and Tar Spot

Many of our area's maple trees have tar spot (an ugly fungus on the leaves). Since next year's tar spot problem is produced from the fungus on this year's leaves, isn't it best to clean up all of the autumn's leaves?


Subject: Mulching vs Bagging

I have a heavily wooded lot with a large variety of trees. Mostly red oak, maple,cherry, poplar, and black walnut. I began mulching my leaves 20 years ago using a process of lowering the mower to 2" in the fall and mowing often, many times twice in perpendicular directions to finely chop the leaves. I fertilize the lawn once every spring using a dry fertilizer that does not contain a herbicide or pesticide. As a result of this process, I have observed two things.
1. Mulching the large amount of leaves that I acquire in the fall does a fairly good job of controlling dandelions, and only dandelions.
2. The process of mulching creates a healthy and colorful lawn but it is not as thick or as green as my neighbors who collect their leaves and fertilize frequently with herbicides and pesticides.
This information has lead me to the opinion that although mulching and careful fertilizing will provide an ecologically green lawn, if you want a lawn that is the thickest and greenest, you would be better off to remove the leaves.


Subject: Compare Apples to Apples

Wait a minute! You said that your neighbors use more fertilizer than you and then concluded that mulching does not create a lawn as thick and green as them. Really? You can just spread around some urea and give it some water and grass will grow thick and green almost overnight.

Karen Garrett

Subject: leaf fall

Rake your leaves around trees to supply a free, natural mulch. Also, you can put them in your garden or a compost pile. By removing leaves, you are also removing firefly eggs. Insects are a critical component of the food chain. 96% of all song birds feed their babies insects. Not to mention, fireflies are a summertime magical event! People would not be able to survive without insects. Backyard tip: Remove all or parts of your lawn. It offers no food value for anything. Plant native plants and flowers to supply nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. After all bees pollinate plants that supply 1/3 of our food (fruits & vegetables)


Subject: Mulching leaves easily and keep only what you want

WORX makes a blower/mulcher that is so easy to use I can do it myself (I am a 60 year old average size woman without much muscle). There is a "bag" on one end that attaches to a standard outdoor trash barrel that you can fill with mulched leaves and throw away or spread evenly anywhere you'd like. It sucks up the leaves and mulches them out the other end. It is wonderful. I mulch leaves and spread into my beds where I need protection, some debris to keep the dogs feet from getting muddy, and also some weed prevention next spring. Mulch is usually gone by spring due to weather and getting worked in to the soil. This is way better than blowing, raking and bagging. Ugh! I will always have this WORX mulcher as my main lawn cleanup tool.


Subject: Leaves

I shred mine up then till them into my garden soil

Ron Smith, PhD

Subject: Leaves on lawns in fall

I pick them up with a bagging mower and deliver them to the local dumpster. In doing so, I have an outstanding looking lawn that is thick and vigorous without any more effort from me other than regular mowing @3", watering on an "as-needed " basis, rarely fertilizing, and collecting clippings 90% of the time.
I get my mower serviced every spring with either a freshly sharpened or new blade, and try to maintain the surface of my lawn so that scalping takes place.

Jacque Feldman

Subject: Leaf Raking vs mulching

I have always opted to rake leaves.... In fact I literally do it EVERY DAY when they start to fall until they are pretty much done around Thanksgiviing. I know my neighbors think I'm obcessed, but I have the best looking lawn in the neighborhood! Common sense always told me that leaving them, or a ton of mulch, on the lawn too long would kill the grass and it does! My neighbors who rarely or never rake them have terrible looking lawns!

Helga Miller

Subject: Raking leaves

Jacque, finally someone who has the same attitude about leaves. I'm out there almost every day raking and cleaning up until the last leaf has fallen. My family and the neighbors think I'm crazy but I always end up with the better lawn.


Subject: leaves

We rake the leaves to the front where they are picked up by the township

Joe Koenig

Subject: Raking or mulching leaves.

Since I have so many trees on my property, I prefer raking and blowing my leaves, rather them mulching. I did try mulching one year, but it became problematical with the large volume of leaves. I believe I smothered the lawn, as the following spring I had many spots where the grass had died. If I had fewer trees, I would mulch for sure!


Subject: Leaf blower and mulch/bag

I use two methods for doing the lawn. 1) Use the leaf blower to blow the leaves into the woods. The upside is that I get no blisters. The downside is that you're pushing the same leaves along the length of your lawn. 2) Use the mulch mower, but bag the contents. I have to empty the bag after one pass down the length and back, but I do this with a wheelbarrow and can empty the bag about 4 times before having to dump the wheelbarrow. Both methods are easier if the leaves are dry. If they're wet, any method (including raking) is heavy and cumbersome.

Jim G.

Subject: Leaf Collection

I mulch early and late in the fall when the leaf cover is light. When the leaf cover is heavy, I bag the leaves and pile behind my shed. The following spring & summer I maintain a 2-3" layer of mulched leaves in between my tomato & pepper plants. I have 6' stakes on my tomato plants and they grew over the top and back to the ground. My pepper plants were over 4 ft. tall. This layer provides nutrients, minimizes weed growth and maintains even soil moisture so that I rarely have to water the garden. I also use 2+ year decomposed leaf compost to augment the soil when planting new shrubs & bulbs. Many of my neighbors bag their leaves and grass for curb trash collection and then purchase bags of compost and mulch the next spring.


Subject: Leaves

What this article is telling me is that evidence collected in scientific studies suggests that simply mulching your leaves with a mower is fine, but people who are in the business of hauling away your leaves think that your leaves need to be hauled away.


Subject: raking or mulching leaves

I have mostly Maple tree in my yard several other type in neighbors yards. a couple of years age i did mulch and in the spring had to seed because the leaves killed the grass in large areas. This was done when all that was left was a small amount of leave on the ground. Since then i have raked or vacuumed them up.

Bill Blessing

Subject: Raking or mulching

Ours is a large yard of nearly three acres with a heavy tree canopy. We have too many hardwoods to count, although it is a typical Michigan forest mix with a yard carved out in the middle. With leaf depths measured in feet vs. inches mulching is not an option. We blow leaves into our surrounding woods and they decompose into a black biomass over the years. We do not bag grass clippings when mowing and have noticed a steady improvement in the turf quality over the years since we stopped bagging the clippings.

Jay Grossmqn

Subject: Oak Leaves

We have a large number of Oak Trees in our yard and the mulch tends to be acidic requiring the addition of lime to bring the lawn to the proper ph level. Any thoughts or comments concerning mulching Oak leaves would be appreciated. I generally rake rather than mulch.

Pattie, Indiana

Subject: Leaves

We use a mulching mower, chop leaves and collect the shredding leaves, place them in a pile and use the leaf mulch next year on perennial beds. We have a lot of mature trees.


Subject: Leaves

While mulching sound good people are forgetting that the leaves will be a source of mosquitos and plugging the drains. The amount of leaves exceed the needed mulching


Subject: Manage Leaves

Good article to present both sides. I have a lot of trees. I mulch my grass so the early leaves are mulched. I remove leaves when there are a lot of leaves. I again mulch the leaves when most of the leaves have fallen and there are a few left. I think this is the best way to be good to the lawn and minimize the effort.


Subject: leaves

I very carefully mow up every leaf I can find (and, sometimes, my neighbors), put them in a pile for later Then I mow and mow and mow them into mulch that I return it all to gardens in the spring to reduce weeds and water needs. I have done it for decades. I do not bag regular grass clippings, but I have a multitude of trees/leaves, many are oak and this works really well for me

Jim Spencer

Subject: I Never Rake

I am surrounded by oak trees and usually get about half a foot of leaves on half an acre. I have a Cyclone Rake that attaches to my mower to shred and pick up the leaves and I can dump them wherever I please. I use a blower to get the leaves out from corners and edges.

L Damon

Subject: Mulching leaves

The ONLY problem with mulching ALL leaves is that Oaks produce smothering leaves. Oak leaves are acidic and will kill grass rather than help it. Other leaves are find, but avoid Oak.


Subject: science vs hear say

The article quotes scientific studies that measured the advantages of mulching. Then some "Experts" that have not done controlled experiments. Trust science!


Subject: Mulching leaves

Last year I used my John Deere Lawn Sweeper to rake leaves over a period of a few weeks. I dumped them in my vegetable garden and chopped them up with my mower. I later tilled the mulched leaves into the soil. The place where I dumped the leaves had the poorest soil in the garden. By this spring the leaves had broken down completely. I planted Sweet Potatoes in that spot. Just a week ago we harvested a bumper crop of huge ones. More than we can use in a years time. We gave some away. I'll be trying to to the same thing this year.

Michael Uebelhack

Subject: Some Tree Leaves are Poisonous

I learned a while back that there is one tree's leaf which is considered poisonous, thus you would NOT want to mulch this into your yard. Regrettably, I cannot remember what tree that was. I think, since I live in the Rocky Mountain West, that it pertained to me, so I'm leery about mulching any leaves until I get clarification.


Subject: Raking or Mulching

I prefer to mulch and never let my leaves pile up in on place. That's just common sense. I don't understand how renowned universities found no adverse affects by mulching but landscape companies say it's harmful. Could there possibly be a conflict of interest at work? Do landscape company owners require any kind of certification or advance degree?


Subject: Mulching

I used to collect the leaves in the lawn mower grass catcher. Last couple years I got a mulching blade and have been mulching ever since, both leaves and grass. Love it! No more paper lawn bags or having to lift mower catcher full of wet grass or leaves. The result is a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood!

Chuck Psotka

Subject: What to do with leaves in the fall

I use the leaves that fall on my lawn as a soil amendment and to mulch beds. Once the fallen leaves have dried enough, I first either rake or blow them from the grass and all beds onto the sidewalk, and then go over them 2 or 3 times with the lawn mower (with the outlet blocked) to chop them very finely. This reduces the overall bulk significantly, and leaves me with a great soil amendment. I don't spend a nickel on lawn bags, and have a good amount of mulching material to use the following garden season.


Subject: Mulch or rake?

Raked for many years, using a tarp to move the leaves to our wooded area. Then I started running over them with my garden tractor with the mower engaged. Kept that up until the leaves were down to a half inch pieces. Last year, bought replacement mulching blades. The mulched leaves break down over the winter and the lawn is slowly getting thicker and greener. Still have weeds but I think they are slowly being chocked out by the thicker grass.

Ron Lawrence

Subject: Mulching vs raking leaves

My yard has 82 pecan trees in it. It is a part of a large, old orchard. When the leaves have all fallen they are approximately 5 inches deep. I Live in northeast Louisiana. What method of leaf disposal do you recommend?

Dr. M

Subject: Rake Leaves or Mulch?

I have done it both ways. Mulched tree leaves have a different chemistry, which has an adverse effect on spring growth than do mulched grass clippings. I have a worse lawn with mulched tree leaves.

However, un-mulched tree leaves in the late fall seem to protect the grass from frost, and my grass under the leaves remains green, while the exposed grass is brown, dried out and dead. Just remove the leaves before Spring thaw..

Ellis Sharadin

Subject: Mulching!

I take the negative comments about leaves "clumping" in some areas, but the fact is, the wind blows the leaves all over the yard anyway. For my money, I'd rather make multiple mulching runs as the leaves are falling, and recycle the mulched leaves for the good they do as they decompose among the blades of grass. I also think it's just plain smart not to be clogging up our yard waste sites with bags and bags of leaves, not to mention all the plastic bags we end up dumping into our landfills after leaf-clearing season. If you truly believe in "being green", how can you not embrace mulching and recycling those leaves?

Roger S Feldmann

Subject: leaves

I always use my mulching lawn mower early when leaves begin dropping. As the days pass and the leaves really begin coming down, I switch to my electric leaf blower. Like cattle, coral the leaves in one corner of the yard. Bag em and give em to the City. Finally, one or two more days of mowing and it's a wrap.


Subject: Mulch or Rake?

I have a yard with 60 trees and have mulched leaves back into the yard, which is most fescue for 20 years with no problems. In fact I use less fertilizer and weed killing chemicals because of the mulching. You have to mulch before the leaves accumulate heavily, which means mulching several times a week during the heaviest leaf fall.


Subject: Raking leaves

Leaves, schmeves.....how about pine needles? They grab onto the grass, they drop down into the grass, they're spiny and tiny and very difficult to rake.
I live in Texas, and this time of year my lawn turns yellow from these blasted things.


Subject: Mulching leaves

We live in a large subdivision in TN. Our 1/4 acre lot is surrounded on 3 sides by large 90 foot trees. They drop a ton of leaves. For the first few years, we blew and raked the leaves, removing them from the grass. The last 10 years we use a mulching mower. It works well and we have no grass killing as a result. I hesitate to take mulching advice from someone who does leaf removal as a job.


Subject: Mulching or raking leaves

I have done both, and have found it easier as well as better for me and my lawn by mulching. My tractor has both mulching blades, and mulching baffle that cut the leaves in smaller particles.

Edmund Clark

Subject: Mulch Your Fall Leaves

I have two large Oaks, two Red Buds, Chinese Pistach, Japanese Maple and a Bradford Pear and have been mowing in the leaves for over 10 years. I did this for a couple of reasons; to help keep my lawn naturally fertilized and to keep bagged leaves from our land fill. Also, never blown my leaves into the street to go into the sewers. Since I have been mowing in the leaves, my fertilizing was reduced each year to now I am no longer fertizing, saving me some $. The only draw back I have found is the mushrooms that appear especially after a rain but its not a problem as they die away after a couple of days.

Jerald T

Subject: Leaf pickup

For over 20 years I have hand-raked my whole yard, which has 12 trees (apple, walnut, pine, and maple) - and that's a LOT of leaves! It is great exercise, but this 70+-year-old body doesn't do a lot of "exercise" too much any more, so I recently bought at yard sweeper that I tow behind my riding zero-radius-turn lawn mower. The sweeper is the greatest invention since they started putting pockets on Levi's!

Jeff Berryman

Subject: Raking or Mulching

I have a Craftsman walk behind leave vacuum/mulcher. Have had it for at least 12 years I believe, maybe 14. Works best on a fairly flat property as it is not self propelled. Just like pushing a mower, it does a pretty good job of leave pickup and mulching down to a manageable bag size. My key is to run the leave vac over the lawn every 3 days at peak leave falling season. Do not want 2-4 inches of leaves piled up. This keeps the main lawn pretty clean of leaves, still have to rake out the gardens and hard to reach spots. The leave vac beats having to hand bag.

John Helak

Subject: Don't Rake - Don't Mulch: MOW!

I haven't rake leaves in a couple of decades. I tried mulching but that's a year-round effort - they don't turn into soil over night. So I started mowing them. I mow every week to 10 days or so.as needed and have my mower set to mulch (no bagging). I begin by setting the mower's height fairly high, 3 to 4 inches and lower it every other mow until it gets down to about 2 or 2 1/2 inches. This clears my lot (2/3 of an acre), recycles leaves back into the soil and gets me and my lawn ready for spring. All without breaking my back, If everyone in my town adopted this practice, we'd save on the costs of leaf pick-up the town does.


Subject: Leaves

Do you understand a yard full of red & white oak tree leaves? High in acidity they fall every week & are still there in the spring. We mulch w/ a flail chopper & pick up to incenerate as often as possible. The balance is down in spring when those left on trees fall. You can't mulch them all or bag all of them due to quantity. Maple or Elm would be a one time breeze. Thx for listening. DM

Royce Edwards

Subject: Mulching Versus Raking

I use a lawn mower to bag the leaves as I cut the grass. I live in New Jersey and have found too much mulched grass becomes thatch and leads to bare spots.

When I have time, particularly in the fall, I mow the lawn in two passes. The first pass I mulch only with no bag attached. The second I pass over the lawn again with the mulching blade and a bag attached. The thoroughly mulched grass remains on the lawn because of their small size. These particles break down quickly adding nutrients to the lawn. The larger pieces are collected, with most of the leaves, into the bag for disposal in a mulch pile. While it's extra work, it keeps thatch from developing while leaving a healthy amount of finely mulched grass and leaves behind.

York Landscape LLC

Subject: Leaf raking

As a verticutting expert, cleaning up after is a lot of work. Please invest in a blower, a large barrell about 50gal. Pick up a box of 40-50 gal bags at Sams Club. Hold the bag in the barrell with a bicycle inner tube, 27 or 26".
Once you learn the technique of using a blower, you will same hours.
I don't recommend raking St. Augustine lawns? Because the root system is so shallow, the grass will pull right out.

M A Brown

Subject: consider the source

I find it interesting that the advocate of mulching is a scientist from a noted agricultural university, supported by studies from other universities, whereas the arguments against mulching come from tradespeople who earn their living by cleaning up peoples' yards.

Bob Nuss

Subject: Raking vs. Mulching

So, experts with full objectivity and backed by numerous scientific studies all say to mulch. "Experts" that make their living raking leaves for customers say that raking is better. Why would you include landscape contractors opinions and present them as fact? Can you find any subjective study that suggests that raking is better or are we supposed to take the slanted word of someone with a vested interest as a truly viable alternative to mulching? Come on....


Subject: Leaf Mulching

I have 5 huge oak trees in my yard so I have no choice but to mulch and bag. Not only would leaving this many leaves in my yard kill the lawn, my neighbors would be none to happy with all the blow over (which is already substantial). Oak leaves are particular robust and numerous, so my general approach is to do a mulching run with my riding mower, then do a pick up run with a leaf vacuum attachment. If I don't mulch them first, I'd have to empty the vacuum about every 50 feet. As it is, even with the double mulching, we filled about 60 leaf bags last fall!


Subject: Raking or Mulching ... try burning

I live in Pennsylvania with many many Oak trees around my home. The leaves begin to drop from Fall through Spring. Then, there are the acorns. I attempt to mow/mulch; but, with so many trees, I never get the job completed prior to snow fall. The leaves continue to swirl around filling the window wells, hiding among the grapevines, and pack themselves in patches on the lawn. If possible, I burn as much as possible, however, many leaves end up in my dumpster with the chestnut burrs for the garbage collection. Oh, the joy of country living ! ! ! Wouldn't trade it for anywhere else. ;o)


Subject: Mulching leaves

I use a mulching lawn mower year round. In my area we have to deal with subsidence requiring sand fill every few years. So mulching the grass and leaves and returning them to the lawn or garden takes advantage of the natural environmental cycle. Why send bags of grass and leaves to the dump when recycling them is the better choice.


Subject: Better and faster than raking or mulching

I have a leaf blower that can be reversed and made into a "vacuum" with a bag attachment. Every fall I just vacuum my lawn and dump the leafs into a large lawn and leaf bag! Quick, easy, and painless.


Subject: Leaf blower

Do you mind sharing the name of the leaf blower you have? I'm looking for one that would vacuum and be easy to use.

Can you use it in flower beds or does it vacuum your plants up too?

Thanks you!!! :)


Subject: Raking or mulching

I'm with Bill Hardin. Historically, I've cleaned the leaves up by either raking them or using a blower. I had a Black & Decker battery electric mower. However, that mower wasn't powerful enough to bag. I now have a Toro gas powered mower which bags well. It looks like I can just mow the lawn and pick up the leaves in the process. I'm planning on doing that this fall. I live in a Chicago suburb and have a Tall Fescue lawn. I've had problems with fungus. I've heard that it's good to leave the grass clippings and use a mulching mower. However, I think this may not be best in all cases. I don't think it's always good to leave the clippings because it can turn into thatch and I think it fungus grows on the thatch. I would rather keep things as clean as possible and get rid of the clippings. On a separate note, I have found that the type of grass you choose is very important. My parents have Zoysia grass at their house (planted by plugs years ago). It's not really used in this area anymore, but, I think it's vastly superior to the types that are used, such a Bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass. It doesn't grow tall, so, it doesn't need a lot of mowing and it basically laughs at the summer heat. The only downside is that it turns straw colored in the cold months, which is why people don't use it that much anymore. However, I still consider it vastly superior, it grows so think, the weeds can't barely get in, and we have never had to use weed and feed. Tall Fescue is much higher maintenance. It is supposed to be more heat tolerant, but, I have found that while it's better than something like Bluegrass, it is still not that great. It seems to not have as much problems with fungus also. And it fills itself in and doesn't need to be reseeded.

Kenneth Gilmore

Subject: Mulching vs Raking

I've been mulching my leaves for many years, mostly oak and maple. Some years it gets pretty thick and I have to go over the lawn several times to have the leaves fine enough to settle into the grass.
Isn't there a possibility of a conflict of interest in asking a lawn care professional their opinion? I'll take the nothing to gain opinion of a county extension service.

fred debros

Subject: mulching vs raking

agree with the above wholeheartedly. but the weather does not cooperate always. the main thing is to do it ibn tranches. as soon as you think theres enough to load a few garden carts or the manure spreader go do it! if the cover is light and its dry go shred with the riding mower. but by all means dont wait until the trees are bare! then it becomes backbreaking and frustrating. if you can afford it: dont trecycle leeaves unless they are several years composted with greens at >150 degrees f, in a socalled hot pile, because leaves contain spores for anthracnose and other ugly fungal diseases for next year. if you can afford it have them picked up at curbside by local dumpers, or burn them thoroughly, and then buy clean mulch like horse stall manure or wood chips.
mulching your lawn in fall with well composted materiel does wonders contrary to the above article. my lawn is much greener much later. i add a spray of 2,4D before mulching, and in spring before a rain 10-10-10 granules. result juicy soft lawn that requires less watering and holds very early spring flowers like scilla, galanthus nivalis, tommies and very early daffodils.


Subject: Mowing leaves

I mowed my 3 acres on weekends during the fall but only when the leaves were dry and crunchy. They practically turned to dust, which sifted right down between the blades of grass. My lawn was beautiful year after year. I think there was a mulching blade on the mower.

Leaf Blower

Subject: I remove my leaves

I can appreciate both points of view. We remove our leaves simply because everyone we know who has (in my opinion) a beautiful yard, removes their leaves. So, the logic is if you want to be skinny, ask a skinny person what they do. If you want a quality marriage, ask someone who has been married for many years.....


Subject: Raking or Mulching -

I've found that lawn maintenance people - who are paid to do leaf cleanup - usually warn against mulching whereas horticulturists are in favor of it. Last Fall I mulched leaves but put most of them around hedges, leaving a light layer scattered on grass. Probably will do the same this year as it seemed very good for hedges and grass was fine.


Subject: Why not do both?

I rake them up and throw them in my compost pile every fall. Water the pile with a hose and perhaps step on it a few times and it will pack tight enough to not blow away. Leaves make rich compost but left on a lawn they create heavy thatch and can even bring mold so best to get rid of them if you have too much.

Mark F Kraus

Subject: mulching, bagging, then composting.

For over 10 years, I have had excellent results with the following process:
Each fall, about once per week
1 - go over entire lawn with mulching mower
2 - go over entire lawn with bagging mower (Snapper Hi-Vac mower is great)
3 - dump the clippings from the bag into a compost bin.
4- I have 3 bins (each 4'x4x4'). One bin holds an entire fall season of leaves and grass from 3 large elms, 2 redbuds, a magnolia, and a crabapple.
5 - by the time all three bins are full ( 3 years) the first bin is ready to be emptied, nothing in it but super dark rich soil to fill beds, scatter over lawn, fill low spots. I have not put ANY lawn waste at the curb in those 10 years.

Louis Capuano

Subject: Mulch pille

I do not use my mulching. Mower. I collect both the grass clippings and leaves in a mulch pile. I screen this mulch which I would now call dirt and use for planting shirts and considering putting on the lawn where in Williamsburg Va where the soil is the worst.

Jim Martin

Subject: Mulching vs Raking

I do both. I have a small yard that is easy to rake. I also have a rental property with a larger yard. There I use my mulching mower with the bag attachment and mow the leaves and bag them. The mulching means fewer bags so I can stay under the city's limit.

Tori V

Subject: Bag

I mist often miw over the leaves but yse the bagging attachment. That way, I don't mess up my back, but use less lawn bags ti mive them iff tge lawn.


Subject: Raking or Mulching

I mulch the heavy down fall of leaves then use a lawn sweeper to pick them up which still leaves small chopped up leaves the sweeper does not pick up which benifits the lawn as fertilizer.
I mulch the later less down fall of leaves and leave them on the lawn without sweeping.


Subject: mulch vx rake

For years and years I would rake and put leaves thru a shredder cuz I needed them for mulching flower beds. Back breaking and a very dusty job. Started mower mulching about 5 years ago and I will never rake again. Three huge trees in my yard, so I have to do it 4-5 times before they have all fallen but it is still so much easier. I let other people do all the work and I just pick up free shredded bagged leaves around town to use for flower bed mulching.

David Kaplan

Subject: Mulching Leaves to dress hydrangea beds

I have been looking for a tool to mulch fall leaves in New England and then to put the leaves on my flower beds....instead of buying shredded wood mulch with little nutrients I thought I could use the leaves from our big trees....I am now wondering whether I could just use my lawn mower which has a mulching deck and collect the leaves in the bag....then dump the bags of mulched leaves on the bed....otherwise, I was looking at products for under $200 and I just couldn't find one that seems to be trouble free...any thoughts?.


Subject: Wooded lot. No grass

I have been paying someoine to remove my leaves. I have a heavily wooded lot and no grass. I am thinking that mulching with a Billy Goat brand mulcher is the way to go. I would like to leave a layer of mulched leaves in a few areas and remove some in other areas. In a perfect world it would be all pine needles. I am getting ready to spent $900 plus on that mulcher. I have been researching it. I pay $250 each year for someone to remove from half the property.


Subject: Rake or Mulch

I prefer mulching throughout the season, but only when the leaves do not completely cover the grass. This means I mow more frequently, and only blow leaves when they get too high (or rain prevents mowing).

Bill Hardin

Subject: Raking or Mulching

I'm in Iowa and use a mulching mower with a bag and collect the leaves. Using a mulching mower to bag the leaves reduces by at least half the number of bags I use because the leaves are essentially mulched before they go in the bags, thus taking up less space. Thus no raking and no residue...best of both worlds!

Phill Ovitt

Subject: Rake or Mulch Leaves

I agree with Bill as I do the same. To much leave mulch in my opinion is a hinderance to over all lawn health. I fertilize, spray and apply needed nutrients as needed. Mulching Grass? Absolutely as this helps to provide a mulch layer which is beneficial for your lawn. Leaves do not break down as easily as finely mulched grass and in my opinion may create an acidic effect to your turf if over done.

James E..

Subject: Fall leaves

The mulching system described sounds great when the collection system is bags. Some localities prefer leaves be blown to the curbside where they are sucked up by a truck which mulches the leaves. So make sure which system your locality uses.


Subject: Raking or Mulching

Hi Bill,
I do that sometimes too but when I do use biodegradable paper bags not plastic trash bags. What kind of disposal container do you use?


Subject: Raking or Mulching

Yes, Bill. Exactly. No need to rake a lawn if you are going to mow and bag. Although that doesn't settle the question, it does take the work out of raking. Always like a man who thinks the way I do.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.