It’s that time of year when the air is crisp, the trees are changing colors, and your yard is covered in leaves. The majority of homeowners quickly rake up their leaves to help keep their yards in tip-top shape. However, raking your leaves up quickly after they have fallen may not be the best thing for your yard. When to leave them: Fallen leaves will not only benefit your yard, but the environment as well. They’re a great natural fertilizer for your lawn. When you rake up your leaves, you’re removing important nutrients that your yard can benefit from. Allowing leaves to stay on your lawn can also help our environment! Typically, bagged leaves end up in our landfills which increases waste and the amount of methane (greenhouse gases) that are released into our atmosphere damaging our ozone layer. When to rake them: On the other hand, if your yard is densely covered with leaves, we recommend that you do rake them. Leaving a heavy covering of leaves can smother your grass during the winter. This can cause mold and fungus to grow, resulting in killing your grass. If you do rake your leaves and bag them, try to find a compost pile to recycle them rather than sending them off to a landfill. So, should you leave or rake your leaves? Fallen leaves do provide nutrients for your lawn, but allowing them to sit can also cause damage. Well, you’re in luck! There’s a solution and no grueling raking is needed! The answer? Mulch them! You do not need any type of fancy machinery, but simply your lawn mower. However, you may need to make a couple of passes with your lawn mower to successfully mulch the leaves. First, raise your lawn mower blade to its highest setting and remove the bag that gathers your clippings. Your goal is to shred the leaves so that they are about half-inch in diameter, roughly dime sized. Once your leaves are chopped up into tiny shreds, they should fall between the blades of grass giving the appearance that your yard has been raked! If you have an extensive amount of shredded leaves in your yard and you can’t see any grass, you can fix that! Grab the bag for your lawn mower that collects the clippings and reattach it. Go over your yard one more time with your lawn mower. You’ll collect a decent amount of mulched leaves in the process that you can add to your garden bed or another area of your lawn that needs the nutrients. You may need to mulch your leaves a few times each month, especially at the height of the season.