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Why You Should Mow Fall Leaves Instead of Raking

A man in a hat driving a yellow zero turn mower with fall trees in the background

The fall season is approaching fast and when the weather drops, so do the leaves. Raking fall leaves into large piles may be a time-honored tradition but not the best use of time or resources. Before you grab that trusty rake, consider mowing your tree debris and turning it into mulch instead. 

Leaf Litter - In small amounts, fallen leaves are not only safe for your yard, they’re also beneficial. Decomposing leaves release nutrients back into the soil. If a few leaves happen to make their way to your lawn, leave them and let nature take its course (unless your HOA has rules against natural foliage décor). However, if you have enough leaves to rake, it’s time to fire up the mower and make a biodegradable mulch munch to feed soil, worms, and insects. 

Light Leaves – If you have small trees that merely sprinkle your lawn in the fall, a few passes with a Hustler Turf residential mower should do the job nicely. Before mowing, set the blade to the highest setting and disconnect the bagger (if applicable) so the grass/leaf mix can be mulched and redistributed as you go. When you’re done, make sure you can still see at least an inch of grass through the mulch so air and sun can work their decomposing magic. 

Leaf Blanket – The maple, beech, and ash trees that provided so much shade during the summer will now be shedding their leaves in quick succession. If your yard is densely packed with mature trees, you may need to mow/mulch twice per week to keep up with the torrent of tree glitter, or invest in a mulch kit. Sprinkle excess mulch in flower beds, gardens, and compost piles. 

Mulch Kit – Before tackling a leaf-laden lawn, consider adding a mulch kit. All residential Hustler Turf zero-turn mowers from the DASH to the Raptor XDX have a mulch kit available to order from your local Hustler Turf dealer. The mulch kit works in two ways – first, by using baffles to close off the discharge chute. Second, sharp serrated blades cut leaves until they are small enough to fall through the underside of the mower and back onto the lawn.

Black metal pieces and mower blades on a white background
Example of a Mulch Kit

Pro Tips

  • Keep mower blades sharp to tear through fallen leaves 
  • Wait until leaves are dry before mulching 
  • Spread out leaf piles to make them smaller 
  • Don’t mow/mulch leaf piles over 6 inches in depth 

Give your rake a break and use your lawn mower to mulch leaves this fall. You’ll save time, avoid back strain, and help the planet by sending less debris to the landfill.

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