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Old 11-11-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
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Mulch up leaves better than rake?


This is my first year owning a Craftsman riding mower, picked up used from Craigslist, about a 2007 model, 48" mowing deck. I don't have a leaf bagger or any other fancy attachment, just the mowing deck which shoots debris out of the side.

The other day I used my mower to mulch up some leaves since there weren't enough on the ground to pull out the rake yet. Then I started getting worried that perhaps this was bad for the mower- leaves are different from grass, after all.
But when I did a quick google search, I actually found people RECOMMENDING mowing over the leaves to mulch it rather than haul the leaves away. Something about it being better for the lawn? If this is true, I'd much rather do that since it is far less work (and actually more fun). Wanted to get a second opinion from around here first though.

Yay or Nay?
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Old 11-11-2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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Do it, the worst thing that will happen is that your blade will need sharpened more often.

Unless you try to mulch a branch too, then you have more problems than a few leaves.


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Old 11-11-2014, 04:09 PM   #3
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For me it depends on the leaves. Oak will dry out, not pack down and can be easily mulched with the mower. On the other hand, maples WILL get wet and stay that way a long time, will pack down and stick together making them hard to mulch. That said, anything you can do to add a modest extra organic matter to your lawn will help it out. Ron
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:20 PM   #4
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Why do you think they sell mulching blades for mowers?
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:21 PM   #5
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I just mulched our leaves again today, it does put back into the soil. The only down side is the smaller bits stick to your shoes and track in the house easier.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:46 PM   #6
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Yeah, no matter how big the pile is, if you run over them enough times they will disappear. I work the leaves from all sides to keep them in the grass and get a long windrow going. The windrow gets dense enough to block the discharge and it chews them up much faster.
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Old 11-12-2014, 01:12 AM   #7
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I always mulch the leaves. It's way less work and it seems to be good for the lawn. If you have a lot of leaves it may take multiple passes, and you might have a little brown mixed in with the green for a few days, but that's the only downside I know of.
I'm sure it's hard on the blades, but I figure that leaves fall around the end of my usual mowing season and I always sharpen or get new blades in the spring anyway.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:14 PM   #8
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I've mulched leaves for many years in several houses. Works great, way easier.


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Old 11-16-2014, 09:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dishe View Post
This is my first year owning a Craftsman riding mower...
I don't have a (grass clipping) bagger or any other fancy attachment
Get one.

Quote:
I actually found people RECOMMENDING mowing
over the leaves to mulch it rather than haul the leaves away.
I have a mountain of leaves to deal with so I do both.

The first 5 or 6 times I'll vacuum them up using the grass catcher
attachment and dump the chopped and mulched leafs at the
wood line of the property (for later use on planting beds)...
but for the last 2 times I'll mulch them in place.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 11-16-2014 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:17 PM   #10
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The success or failure of mulching leaves depends primarily on how many trees/leaves you have. If you don't have many leaves, mulch them. But if there are a lot, the mulched leaves can actually keep your grass from growing in the spring.

At our current home, we have at least 20 large mature trees on 1 acre - as well as about 20 young trees/shrubs I've planted. I'm forced to use the bagger, even though I'd rather not.
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