What Is Proper Fall Clean-Up Etiquette? And What Methods Are Best For Your Lawn?

25October 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With rain expected later this week, you have another 24 hours to clear your yard before the leaves turn into a soggy mess.

But before you grab your rake, we wanted to know: What is proper fall clean-up etiquette? And what methods are best for your lawn?

WCCO spoke with turf grass educator Maggie Reiter from the University of Minnesota Extension.

“It is good to have your lawn cleared off of debris like the leaves, but just try to incorporate them into your grass,” Reiter said.

(credit: CBS)

She says raking leaves is fine, but she suggests doing what feels like the easier method — mulching leaves.

“The leaves have organic matter in them and they have some nutrients, so that gets added back into the lawn and that’s beneficial to the grass,” Reiter said.

She says if the leaf coverage is so thick you can’t see the grass beneath it, it’s best to rake up some of them first. Also, be sure to remove the discharge chute on the side so the churned-up leaves stay put.

Blowing leaves into the street is just as bad as blowing them directly into water.

“They contribute nutrients that are in those leaves and that can cause a lot of problems for pollution in our water bodies,” she said.

No matter how you clear the leaves, you must do it. If not, experts say it can smother the grass in the winter, which leads to diseases like snow mold. Pests will also hide out in the piles.


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