Leaf mulching helps to improve your soil, and add nutrients. Micro-organisms that live in the soil beak down organic material such as leaves. Worms get in on the action, too. The roots of some grasses such as fescue can grow slowly in the fall and a mild winter and the decaying action of mulched leaves left on the yard will provide these roots with nutrients. Mulched leaves will biodegrade and disappear from the lawn by spring. The same type of activity with micro-organisms and worms that is happening in the lawn area is also happening in landscape and vegetable beds.


The decomposing leaves and grass cover the soil between the individual grass plants where weeds can germinate. MSU studies found that homeowners can attain a nearly 100% decrease in dandelions and crabgrass after mulching fall leaves for just three years. In addition to reducing the occurrence of weeds and the need to spend money on weed control products, mulched leaves keep the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer and the nutrients provided by mulching reduce the amount and expense of fertilizer need to achieve green-up in the spring.

How to Mulch Your Leaves Right

  • Take the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn, reducing your leaf clutter into dime-size pieces.
  • Allow the leaf bits to decompose so nutrients are released back into the soil.
  • Leaves can be mulched and used in gardens and planting beds and as a filler in your backyard composter.
  • Matted layers of unmulched leaves can negatively affect lawns, so ensure that you do not mulch to the point where the leaves smother the grass.