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If you are growing tired of raking leaves this fall and think the only good place for them to be is on the curb, you may be throwing away a resource rather than an asset that can be working for you. Whether you have a garden, compost pile, or even just a lawn, those leaves can be turned into valuable soil enhancing organic matter.

Rather than raking, running over leaves with your lawn mower and breaking them down into smaller pieces, they can be directly recycled back onto your lawn. A mulching blade on the mower will speed this process, but a standard blade will do fine as well. For larger leaves, such as sycamore, a few passes might be needed to get them finely shredded. It is important to pulverize the leaves so that they break down quickly. A fall application of nitrogen fertilizer, about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, will also help speed up the decomposition process as well as benefit the grass.

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