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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Why Rake Leaves?

Why Rake Leaves?

As the colorful autumn foliage begins to fall, it’s time to pull out the rake and begin the chore of removing all those leaves from your yard. So is there a legitimate reason for all the backbreaking work involved to rake and remove leaves, or is it simply an aesthetic choice? You’ll be glad to know the payoff for all your labor goes beyond simply enhancing the curb appeal of your property. Removing fallen leaves is vital for the health of your lawn.

When grass becomes buried beneath smothering layers of leaves, it is deprived of the air, water, and nutrients it needs to survive, and it becomes a breeding ground for fungi and insects. In addition, leaves shade the grass, preventing it from receiving the sunlight it needs to thrive. Sunlight is especially crucial for cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass since their prime growing time occurs in the cooler months.

What is the best plan of action to clean up those leaves?
If you have a large yard or an exceptional amount of leaves to rake, using a leaf blower as a first step can help make the task a bit easier. But don’t rely solely on a blower. It is helpful in rounding up the bulk of the leaves, but a rake will still be necessary for finishing the job. A thorough raking not only removes any remaining leaves, it will also remove thatch buildup, which can be equally damaging to your yard. Mowing the leaves with a mulching mower is an alternative option, but in order to shred the leaves effectively, it must be done before the carpet of leaves becomes too thick.

Now, what to do with those piles of leaves?
Put them to good use as compost for next year’s garden or as mulch for your landscaping needs. That is, however, after the kids have finished jumping into and rolling around in those glorious mountains of autumn leaves!

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.