To Rake Or Not To Rake The Leaves? Expert Weights In

(CBS) — The crisp temperatures means less sunlight, which leads to more leaves falling from the trees.

CBS 2’s Ed Curran spent the day with a horticulturalist to answer once and for all if you should or shouldn’t rake the leaves.

You can rake them, bag them and in some places you can actually still burn them. But some say just let your leaves lay on the ground all winter.

The National Wildlife Federation says when you rake leaves up for disposal, you’re only adding to the problem of 33 million tons of yard debris that ends up in landfills every year.

Leaves on your lawn can be a good thing, they say. They shelter small critters, provide them with food and nesting materials.

Now, if you think this is the best news report of the year and that you never have to rake, think again.

“These are dry but when they get wet they’ll stick to the ground and in freezing weather they’re going to be frozen,” said horticulturalist Jim Fizzell. “What happens is the grass will suffocate, particularly if you have warm weather. It will suffocate the grass and the grass will begin to deteriorate and it’ll rot off.”

Fizzell says, yes, you can use your mower to leave a fine mulch.

“You need to spread it out so that the leaves, after you’ve shredded them, will filter down beneath and below the blades of grass, so you’re not suffocating it,” he said.

As for the critters, you can slow leaves to stay in spots where you don’t have grass, like garden beds.

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