To leave the leaves or not to leave the leaves? That's the question

LeavesGettyImages 157256122 e1699036068610

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More and more leaves continue to gather on the ground, with some yards littered with more leaves than others due to more trees. It raises the question: What should you do with the leaves? Should you rake them up and dispose of them, or should you leave them since they provide some valuable nutrients?

Rich Segal posed that question to Will Johnston, a local arborist and an expert in the field. Johnston said there are a few factors that you should consider in making your decision. Does your yard have space for the leaves? And, do your trees — yes, your trees — have any fungal leaf diseases? Leaf spots and other fungal issues would be “grounds” for raking them up.

He said there’s no upside to keeping the leaves if your lawns and gardens are healthy.

There is, however, a reason to let the leaves stay where they are. Though they don’t provide the highest concentration of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, there are other little nutrients the leaves provide that offer a greater benefit than what a homeowner finds when purchasing fertilizer from the store.

When’s the best time to rake them up? Johnston opined that this should be done before the spring, stressing the leaves could become matted. When that happens, it opens up the possibility of killing your grass.

One more solution Johnston said should be considered when keeping them on the ground is mowing them up. From there, homeowners can bag and leave them as a compost and then, later on down the road, can spread them in the yard.

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