Mow (don’t bag) your leaves this fall, say JoCo experts

Autumn makes for pretty trees, but those trees create a lot of work for homeowners once temperatures get colder. Remember this: Raking the fallen leaves in your yard can be

Autumn makes for pretty trees, but those trees create a lot of work for homeowners once temperatures get colder.

Remember this: Raking the fallen leaves in your yard can be a tedious task come fall, and it actually may not even be the best way to get rid of them anyway.

Catch up quick: According to the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, there are a number of other (easier) ways to dispose of leaves without getting out the rake and bagging them.

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Here are some of the more beneficial ways to get rid of yard leaves this fall and winter.

Mulching:

Instead of raking, mow the leaves back into the lawn with a mulch mower.

  • Doing so turns leaves into material that the soil can use.
  • Up to one inch of leaves can be mowed at a time, with a total of up to six inches of leaves throughout the fall.
  • Once the leaves have been successfully mulched, the chopped leaves can help with moisture and controlling weed growth when spread out in gardens and around trees.

Composting:

According to the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, turning leaves into compost can also turn them into a good source of nutrients for lawns.

  • The general rule of thumb is to include “greens and browns” in the composting pile. So, grass clippings, shredded leaves and branch prunings.
  • Other items outside of the yard can also be included in compost, such as kitchen waste like apple peels, banana peels and coffee grounds.
Post Editor Kyle Palmer is realizing all that back-breaking work of bagging leaves in his yard may not have been the best use of his time. Photo credit Kyle Palmer.

Proper disposal:

Once leaves are successfully mulched or composted and ready to be disposed of, they can be collected through a number of Johnson County waste haulers.

A final thought: It’s illegal in Johnson County to dump leaves and yard waste in storm drains or near streams, as this can block the flow of water and create water quality problems.