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Why do we rake leaves? What would happen to my lawn and flower garden if I just left them on the ground and let the grass and perennials grow up through them? We currently mulch them with a mower and let most of them stay. Are we raising the elevation of our lawn? Are we doing good or bad to it?

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A

Raking leaves is generally a good practice of sanitation, that is cleaning up possibly diseased leaves or preventing a dark, warm environment for diseases and pests to develop and create problems in the spring for new tender growth.  As for mulching the leaves and leaving them on the grass, it should be okay if the depth of the mulched leaves is not so deep to create a warm dark environment for undesirable pathogens (bacteria & fungi) to multiply.  There are desirable bacteria and fungi which help decompose leaves into organic matter that can be done during the winter. 

As for raising elevation - no.

Generally, I would recommend raking, and composting the leaves in a managed way, to prevent possible diseases and pests developing.

Posted on 5 Dec 2008

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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