And the answer is: yes! You should totally be mulching your leaves because it not only makes for a more beautiful lawn, but it also makes for less work for you in the long run. Here's how.
Thick layers of fall leaves can block sunlight and air from reaching the lawn beneath, harming or even killing the grass in your yard. Mulching your leaves with a lawnmower is much easier than repeatedly raking, bagging and hauling them out to your curb. The shredded leaves will decompose into your lawn, providing natural fertilizer and weed control for a healthier lawn come springtime.
Why Mulching Works
Micro-organisms and worms in the soil beak down the organic material in leaves, replenishing the soil with nutrients through fall and winter months. Decomposing leaves also cover spaces between the grass where weed seeds can find a place to germinate. Studies have found that homeowners can significantly decrease dandelions and crabgrass in their yards just by mulching leaves every fall. Another benefit to homeowners is less money spent on lawn services, weed control products and fertilizer.
When to Mulch
The best time to mulch fallen leaves is when you can still see some grass showing through. Depending on the number and size of your trees, you may need to do this more than once a week. If the leaves become too thick, you may need to spread them out first with a rake or use a bag attachment to relocate them to landscape beds or vegetable gardens.
What Not to Do
Do not wait until spring to mulch your leaves. Shredded leaves need time to fully decompose. If you wait until spring, this process will not yet be complete enough to provide your plants with the added nutrients they need when they need them most.