There is a way to free your weekends this autumn and eliminate the chore of raking leaves forever. Mulch-Mowing, the quickest and easiest method of removing fallen leaves, is a simple process. Your mower becomes a “food processor” for your lawn by chopping both leaves and grass clippings many times before depositing the bits right back into the turf-grass.
Specifically designed mulch-mowers (with enclosed decks and special blades) may work best, but virtually any rotary mower will do the trick when an $10 mulching blade or a mulching kit is installed. The secret to mulch-mowing is:
Mow every week just as you would during the growing season.
Set your mower to a 3-inch or greater cutting height.
If multiple passes are required, make them at perpendicular angles. Often the chopped leaves will disappear into the turf-grass with a single pass, eventually incorporating into the topsoil, reducing water and fertilizer needs over time.
Help Mother Nature
Mulch-Mowing helps Mother Nature keep your lawn lush, green and healthy while saving you time and labor. It also addresses two quality-of-life issues outlined in the City of Roanoke’s comprehensive plan:
Fewer leaves in the street mean better environmental stewardship:
Loose leaves may clog the city’s storm drain system, potentially flooding both streets and properties.
Loose leaves affect storm water runoff, which dumps phosphorus leachate into Roanoke’s streams and rivers, potentially decreasing oxygen availability for fish and other aquatic life.
Fewer leaves in the street mean cleaner, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing streets:
Loose leaves may become dangerous, unseen obstacles if workers have to plow an early season snow.
Loose leaves may become slippery when wet, creating potential hazards for pedestrians.
Loose leaves may become fire hazards if a vehicle’s exhaust or a careless cigarette comes into contact with dry leaves.