As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, many of us are waking up to multi-colored scenes in our yards every morning. Yes, the leaves of autumn are falling as trees prepare for winter, which leaves you with quite the cleanup task.Man using leaf blower

Here are some of our top tips for wrangling those leaves and putting them to good use:


Leave the rake in the garage and use your lawnmower to mulch and bag as much leaf debris as possible. This method makes for easy disposal when you’re all done.

The best time to mow over leaves is when they are damp from the morning dew. You don’t want them soaked, but a little dampness prevents them from blowing around too much. You may also want to mow a second time for good measure.


If you have a large yard, a leaf blower will give you some tremendous help. Consider putting a large tarp on the ground and blowing the leaves onto it. The tarp can then be dragged to the disposal area.


A leaf vacuum allows you to suck up leaves, twigs, acorns, and other debris into a bag, and then grinds everything up for mulch or compost.

Use Those Leaf Leftovers

Leaves make for excellent mulch, so a layer left in your yard won’t do any harm as it acts as free fertilizer. Also, if you spread mulched leaves over the top of your perennial beds they act as a winter blanket, providing insulation and improving soil quality as they decompose.

Leaves are also great for the compost bin. Mixing leaves with other lawn matter can produce a nitrogen-rich compost that is great for vegetable gardens or newly planted trees and shrubs.

Other Tips

Do a leaf cleanup once a week. If you don’t deal with the leaves regularly they can smother your lawn and weaken it.

If you plan to rake, make sure you have a no-clog rake. The plastic tines are actually connected to each other, which eliminates the space where leaves and twigs become clogged.

Consider recycling your leaves or offering them to neighbors if you aren’t using them as mulch or compost. Contact your city or county to see if there is a municipal facility that will compost your leaves, or just knock on your neighbor’s door.