Are you tired of raking and bagging endless piles of leaves every fall? Discover the secret to turning your lawn mower into an efficient, eco-friendly mulching machine, and make your autumn yard cleanup a breeze! Never heard of this? Worry not, as you will learn all about how to mulch leaves with a lawn mower in today’s article.
Michigan State University published an article ‘Don’t sweep your leaves to the curb! Mulch them back into your lawn or garden‘ by Rebecca Krans saying ‘Leaves mulched back into the lawn will give it natural nutrients that will promote growth.‘
There can be no better way than mulching leaves into the lawn if you want to eliminate excess leaves. Mulching leaves helps to combine the carbon properties of the leaves with nitrogen-rich grass, thus creating valuable compost. Let’s dive straight into the article.
Table of Contents
Preparing Your Lawn for Mulching
For mulching leaves into the lawn, you need to prep your yard first. For this, start with:
Removing Any Large Debris or Sticks From the Lawn
We often forget to deep clean our lawns from debris or sticks. Because of our hectic schedules, we often overlook these obstacles and end up having a messed-up yard. If you want to avoid such trouble, start by looking for any visible garbage.
After collecting the debris, look for any rocks or sticks that might have been stuck in the grass. Such obstacles have a high risk of damaging your lawn equipment up to a great extent.
Mowing the Lawn to the Appropriate Height
When you have cleared the ground from unnecessary obstacles, you can mow your lawn to an appropriate height. I always prefer to have the grass mowed up to 2 to 3 inches. This helps me to manage the lawn more quickly.
When the grass in your lawn is out of shape, and you mulch leaves with a lawn mower, it will result in a messed up look. So, it is always a better idea to trim the grass before mulching leaves.
Dampening the Leaves for Easier Mulching
Before you learn how to mulch leaves into the lawn, you need to dampen the leaves using a water hose. You don’t need to make them wet or soak them in water and let them dry afterward. Have it damp enough to be evenly distributed when the mower mulches it into the lawn. Doing so will also ensure the leaves stay in their place and won’t fly away with air.
Also Read: Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Your Garden
Step by Step Mulching the Leaves With a Lawn Mower
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to mulch leaves into the lawn with a lawn mower.
Step 1: Use a Rotary-Action Lawn Mower
You can start using any rotary-action lawn mower to mulch leaves into the lawn. The lawnmowers that worked amazingly for me were high-power mulching lawn mowers and side discharge lawnmowers.
Removing the grass catcher or bag from your lawn mower and cautiously operating the blade using leaf mulch is better. Also, keeping the grass catcher attached to your lawn mower is more practical if you want to use the leaf mulch somewhere else in your yard. The grass catcher will gather the chopped leaves to utilize elsewhere.
Step 2: Spread the Leaves on the Lawn Using Rake
Using a rake distribute the mulching leaves evenly all over the lawn. Start at one corner of the lawn and work your way across. I recommend using a rack in a back-and-forth motion to distribute the leaves as evenly as possible. You can also use a lawn roller to press the mulch into the ground.
Step 3: Set the Mower to the Highest Setting and Start Mowing
In order to master how to mulch leaves, have the mower configured to its highest setting and have the height fixed up to 3 inches. Mow over the leaves several times to achieve the perfect mulch. The best rule is to have the leaves shredded to a size of a dime. In my experience, mulching leaves was more manageable when I attempted the second wave at a right angle to the first one. Remember to pass the mower over the mulch several times for perfect results.
Step 4: Feed the Lawn Afterwards
As you mulch leaves with a lawn mower, make sure to feed the grass as well. To get the best spring lawn, the right time to feed your lawn is when you mulch it. You can use any kind of fertilizer you would prefer.
I suggest using a winter blend fertilizer if you are mulching in the fall. Such fertilizers have a high amount of potassium that works faster in improving the overall health of your lawn.
Things to Do After Mulching the Leaves
You need to do the following things after mulching the leaves for the best results.
Cleaning up Any Remaining Debris
Mulching leaves into the lawn can often fill your garden with dirt and debris. After you have prepared your lawn, look out for any remaining debris and take care of it. You can also use a rake or blower to remove the dirt.
Also, look out for bare spots and try to fix them to even out the look of your lawn. You must also look through the mulch to see if the whole leaves are still there. If you notice any, ensure that you have removed it, as it won’t serve the purpose of mulching.
Raking up Excess Leaves
Use a rack to remove any excess fallen or molded leaves after mulching. Suppose the layer of mulch on your lawn is still thick. In that case, consider attaching the grass catcher to your lawn mower and passing it over the mulch once again.
Doing so will help collect excess mulch and prevent it from suffocating your grass or blocking access to sunlight and air. Remember to take precautions while reattaching the grass catcher and handling the mower’s blade to avoid accidents or injuries.
Using the Mulched Leaves as Fertilizer
After you mulch leaves with a lawn mower, let them degrade naturally over time. Depending on the environment, moisture levels, and other factors, this might take several weeks to months. Mulching leaves release beneficial elements or power trio: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate into the soil as they break down.
You may use the mulched leaves as a natural fertilizer for any other plants or vegetables in your garden. Just gather the mulch and scatter it around the base of your plants after placing it in a wheelbarrow or other container.
If you use chemical fertilizers too, here are some best lawn fertilizers and here is the complete guide to using lawn fertilizer, make sure to educate yourself on correct fertilizer formula to save your lawn from rotting.
If you have a zero-turn lawn mower and you fancy learning more about them, here you go:
Are Zero Turn Mowers Dangerous?
Are Zero Turn Mowers good on hills?
How long do zero turn mowers last?
7 best small zero turn mowers for your garden
Hopefully, I successfully taught you how to mulch leaves with a lawn mower. To sum it up, mulching leaves with a lawn mower is efficient and time-saving at the same time. Not only it helps to save labor, but it also helps in spreading the mulch evenly all across the space. Additionally, mulching will also reduce the amount of yard waste in landfills to a large extent.
To have an easier time mulching leaves in your yard, follow the below tips and recommendations:
- Always try to use a rotary lawn mower while mulching leaves into the lawn
- After you have mulched the leaves, make sure the layer is even and not too thick
- Avoid mulching leaves when they are wet.
What Height Do I Need to Mow Leaves?
You should mow leaves at a height of at least 3 to 4 inches. Doing this means you won’t have to cut too much grass when cutting the leaves. Additionally, make sure the mower is not clogged with a lot of leaves at the same time.
Is Mowing Leaves Bad for a Mower?
Mowing leaves is okay for a mower. If your mower has a mulching blade, it will help you save time by spreading all the leaves evenly. Also, ensure that the mowing height is adjusted the right way.
Can Mulching Leaves Kill Grass?
Mulching leaves over the grass evenly can help to grow the lawn. However, if the grass is packed with thick mulch, there are chances that it might grow poorly. Instead, it will deprive the grass of essential nutrients.
How to Mulch Leaves Without a Mower?
You can mulch leaves without a mower by using a string trimmer or stand-alone leaf mulcher. Most of this equipment comes with a shredder sort of blades and a bag where the leaves are stored after mulching.