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Can You Mow Over Leaves?

The answer is yes with one caveat: invest in a quality mulcher mower. Most modern lawn mowers are equipped with mulching blades that chop leaf clippings into small pieces. The mower redistributes the mulched leaves across your lawn’s surface. This eliminates the need to rake and bag leaves.

Although some detractors will say that leaving mulched leaves on your lawn is harmful, the University of Michigan recently conducted a study that determined there were no discernable differences between lawns who had their leaves bagged and removed versus those where the leaves were mulched and redistributed. In fact, when mulched leaves are left on a lawn, it reintroduces valuable organic matter back into your lawn’s soil.

What to Look For In a Mulching Mower

First and foremost, a mulching mower should be self-propelled and be equipped with rear wheel drive. By itself, a lawn mower is fairly heavy. When you add the weight of a bag of grass clippings, pushing it uphill and bagging can become nearly impossible. This is why self-propulsion is a must.

Secondly, the mower should have a high lift mulching blade. When it comes mulching leaves, the blade of a standard lawn mower simply is not going to cut it. “High lift” blades are aggressive. They have a unique twist and serrations along the edge of the blade. The design increases the movement of the air beneath the deck and into the clippings bag.

Similarly, your mulching mower should have a high-quality bag for dust filtering. A cheap lawn mower will have a cheap bag that will not be able to adequately filter the dust once it starts swirling after you begin to mow the leaves. You’ll be choking before you're halfway done with the job. Ideally, the mower you purchase should have a bag labeled as “dust blocking”.

Finally, make sure your mulching mower should have plenty of power. To successfully mulch leaves, power is required. In this case, larger is better.

Additional Tips For Mulching Leaves With a Mower

Even after you’ve picked out the right mower, there are still a few things you’ll need to be cognizant of:

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    Before mulching leaves, always make sure that they are dry. Wet leaves will not mulch as smoothly and can result in a clogged mower and an uneven looking lawn.
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    After mulching leaves, you should be able to see a consistent canopy of green grass. If not, then your leaves are not being chopped up sufficiently.
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    If your lawn or the land surrounding your home is thickly wooded, it may be necessary to mow twice a week in order to keep ahead of the pace at which they fall.
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    Oak trees tend to shed their leaves much later in the season than other types of trees. It is possible that you might find yourself mowing and mulching leaves in the middle of December, but remember that you’ll be recycling valuable nutrients back into the ground, so your efforts will be well worth it!
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    Always remember to fertilize your lawn during the fall months. This is a critical time of the year to fertilize and nurture your lawn. Fertilizer will also assist the important microbes in the soil when it comes to breaking down mulched leaves.

In Conclusion

Additional research has demonstrated that regular mowing and mulching leaves will assist your lawn in growing spring grass earlier and reduce the amount of weeds and winter annuals that grow. This is due to the fact that the mulched leaves essentially act a ground cover that prevent the weeds from getting the sunlight they need to grow. Mulching your leaves with a mower is environmentally friendly, and it’ll reduce the amount of time that you need to spend maintaining your lawn. 

About the author

Mark Kelly

Hi, I'm Mark the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!

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