There Are Many Ways To Mulch And Compost Your Leaves
It all depends...
There is no ONE right way to deal with your leaves, and methods vary by site, volume of leaves, and garden features.
Landscapers have access to specialized equipment that is even more efficient and are detailed in our For Professional Landscapers page.
Here are some commonly recommended methods for homeowners.
What to do about all those leaves on the lawn
The Easiest Way
Undoubtedly, the easiest way to get rid of leaves is to mow them into your lawn. You can do this with a regular mower, especially if the leaves are dry, but a mulcher-mower works better. Watch the video. And there are plenty more leaf mulching videos on You Tube. Everyone's doing it!
In this photo at left, these leaves were mowed with a hand-pushed Neutron electric mower -- one pass. If you prefer a really tidy look, you can take another pass to mulch everything, although many people wait until the end of the season to get the perfect clean look. You can catch the leaves in the mower bag and compost them or, preferably, just let the mulched leaves fall on the lawn, where they will decompose, improving the soil.
It doesn’t matter how thick the leaf layer is, you just might have to go over it more than once. If you mow weekly, one pass will probably be fine. At the peak of leaf fall, you may need to mow twice a week. The chopped up leaves fall between the grass blades, decompose and nourish the soil. No need (or less need) for lawn fertilizer, no need for raking!
Landscapers and more serious gardeners switch the blades on their lawnmowers to special mulching blades (available online – called Gators). These shred the leaves VERY effectively. Switching a lawnmower blade is really easy and the mulching gator blades usually cost less than $20 depending on your mower type.
What About Leaves on Hard Surfaces?
You can mow leaves on hardscapes, like driveways and patios, and then move the mulched leaves back onto garden beds, around shrubs, or the lawn. Or just blow or (preferably) rake the leaves onto the lawn and mow them right in.
Wondering About the Leaves On Your Perennial Beds?
Pull or blow fallen leaves off perennial beds, piling them in rows and then mow the rows. The volume is reduced by x10 and the remaining mulch can be replaced on the beds where they will break down forming a protective winter layer and then gradually turn into compost, enriching your soil.
There is no need to remove leaves from robust plants like pachysandra, unless you need to do so for aesthetic reasons. In which case, remove the leaves, mulch them with a shredder or mower, and blow or rake the mulch back onto the pachysandra. If you choose to leave them, during the winter and through early spring, they will slowly fall to the ground so you can't see them under the pachysnadra plants. The leaves will decompose and improve the soil naturally.
Most mowers designed for homeowner use come with mulching blades, designed to mulch grass and which work fine for leaf mulching. Make sure they are regularly sharpened and replace them when necessary. They can be bought at any lawncare maintenance store or ordered online and cost about $20.
Electric lawn mowers, which are less polluting than gas-powered mowers, are very effective at leaf mulching.
Gator blades, which have teeth, are worth considering for fall clean up if you have lots of leaves. They're more efficient than regular mulching blades and will also cut your grass perfectly well. Changing the blade on a mower is very simple and can be used on small homeowners mowers as well as professional-grade mowers.
Types of Blades
Find a Local Landscaper Who Mulches
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Landscapers who offer mulch-mowing services in the Bedford, NY Area
* Andrew J. Gembecki, Natural Greenscapes, Inc. 914-806-5967. "I like the idea of leaving the leaves for a healthier lawn."
* Fedele Landscaping: Dominic 914-424-3522.
* Dan Delventhal 203-254-9999 Mowgreen http://mowgreen.us/ No gas landscaping (all electric or manual labor).
* Carlos Lopez 914-584-3384
* Peak Landscaping 914-213-9825 www.peaklandscaping.com
* Organic Landscapes by DeLuca Lawn Maintenance Pete DeLuca 914-764-7409 www.organiclandscapesny.com
* Victor Ziminsky IV, Let it Grow Landscapes 347-237-7141 www.letitgrowlandscapes.net
* Byron's Landscaping, Bedford Hills 914 564 5594 email@example.com
* Nick Papalia Landscaping 914-381-3309
* Green Jay Landscaping, 914-560-6570, Greenjaylandscaping.com
Landscapers who offer mulch mowing services in Westchester:
Landscapers who offer mulch mowing services In Rockland County: