Should You Rake Up Leaves Before A Minnesota + Wisconsin Winter?
I think the last time that I raked leaves in a yard was when I was growing up and living at my parent's house, so a long time ago.
My current yard doesn't have a lot of trees that drop leaves, but neither do some of my neighbors but I've already seen them raking some up as they start to drop for the season change.
I've never been too terribly concerned for the health of our lawn, it's mostly green and I'm probably never spending money on any fancy lawn treatments. Keeping it mowed and trimmed on a decent schedule is good enough for me. I was thinking though, should I actually be raking up any leaves before winter snow covers everything?
Tee Time is a lawn care service that gives several reasons for raking up leaves before winter. They claim raking them up helps with turf protection, keeping pests away, and lawn disease prevention as the main reasons. The other end of the spectrum is the environmental impact of raking up leaves.
Yard waste disposal which includes leaves, is a decent chunk of material that ends up in landfills. It takes up space and can contribute to greenhouse methane emissions, so not the best for our environment. Many environmental agencies suggest not raking up leaves if they cover less than 20% of your yard, or if you do, bring them to be made into compost to a facility like WLSSD or compost them yourself.
Also, if you don't have massive leaf issues in your yard, or even if you do, just hit them with a mulcher before winter as the smaller bits will decompose faster and easier. Keep in mind that you also shouldn't be burning massive amounts of leaves for health and potential forest fire reasons.