Should I Rake For God’s Sake? Or, For God’s Sake, Should I Rake?

Should I Rake For God’s Sake? Or, For God’s Sake, Should I Rake?

by: Dana Folse,

St. Andrew Green Team


Fall is upon us and the Million Dollar question rises again. Should we let our leaves become dust to dust or should we pile them up and move them out! Here are a few thoughts on this organic matter. There are both pros and cons and all yards are uniquely maintained.


If leaves are left on the ground to decay they will reintroduce vital nutrients back into the soil creating optimal growing conditions for the following year. Decaying leaves make great mulch! Leaves are full of nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients are returned back to the soil as leaves decompose. Leaves also provide a habitat for insects, spiders and slugs. Simply rake leaves into a landscape bed and they will turn to excellent mulch. 3-6 inches is a good thickness for trees and shrubs.


Keep leaves out of the landfills! Each year about 8 million tons of leaves end up here. Without enough oxygen to decompose leaves will end up releasing a significant amount of methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Do not put leaves in your gray landfill bin. If you have a compost bin remember to stir it and circulate everything that’s decomposing. Thick piles of leaves over grass will kill the grass with moisture and lack of sunlight.


Leslie and I are “Fall Blessed” on our property. We sit back and watch oceans of leaves fall from the sky. At the first gusts of wind our leaves leave! We wonder where they fly off to. Was it something we said? Then spring comes and we realized they were just hiding in the tree trunks. 


In Sonoma we are all blessed with gorgeous fall colors mainly on the short trunks of grapevines. Endless colors against blue bird skies. In my mind I fall backwards into piles and piles of leaves of brown, red and bright orange! Deciding what to do with fallen leaves is a good ponder to have! Year after year after year!