Leaves can be very beneficial to your lawn and plants but can hard on the eyes during the winter months.  That brings us to the question should we leaves them or remove them?

There has been a lot of  discussion on whether you should rake your leaves out of your landscape beds in the fall and winter or leave them to decompose over them next year?

Leaves can be very beneficial to your landscape beds. When leaves begin to breakdown they add tons of organic nutrients to the ground. These nutrients are then taken up by your plants during the spring and summer months when they are actively growing.

Although for many people this is not esthetically pleasing so they rake them up and take them to the landfill or burn them.

This can be a difficult topic to speak about because I have seen different outcomes between leaving them and raking them.

There are some stipulations if you plan to leave your leaves to breakdown in your beds.

1. If the area you are leaving them in is very moist and shady you risk the development of disease in your plants. Plants like moistness in the summer. Especially where it is hot and dry. But this is a totally different area when fall and winter kick in the days are shorter, increased rain, and less heat to evaporate the excess moisture. This can most definetly affect your perennials as they are not as hardy as your shrubs.

2. For those of you who live in HOA communities this may not be possible. HOA communities like for their owners to keep their yards as neat looking as possible. In some HOA comminites you could be issued a fine without complying.

For those of you who choose to rake your leaves here are a couple of ways to reuse them or dispose of them.

1. Raking or blowing your leaves into a pile then putting them through a leaf mulcher. Depending on how many leaves you have you could end up with a good pile of leaf debris to put back into your beds.

2. A wood chipper serves the same purpose as the leaf mulcher except it will give you a much finer product.

3. Blowing them out of the garden beds into the lawn then mulching them with your lawnmower would also put them back into the ground but at a much faster rate.

4. Putting them in leaf bags and dumping them in a remote area on your property or taking them to the landfill.

5. As my grandparents and parents did you could always burn them and use the ashes for fertilizer around your plants when it cools.

Now, if you live in a climate where there is 2 – 3 feet of snow for 6 months out of the year I don’t think it will matter if you remove them or leave them, lol. You won’t see the ground anyway.

So in this case just wait until the snow melts then decide what you would like to do.