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The Man Way: Leaf Mowing – Lazy Or Smart?

For those of us with all four seasons, it’s that time of year – leaf raking. Though for pretty much every other reason Autumn is my favorite time of year, I would rather shovel snow than rake leaves. Since I now have a corner double lot, fully fenced in to trap all the leaves – versus the postage stamp yard I came from – my dislike has grown. So, ever since we moved to the new house I have opted to mulch the leaves – yes that’s right, mow them. My rhetorical question is: am I being lazy or smart? The neighbors looks’ make me think lazy, yet my environmental and efficiency thoughts say smart. You be the judge.

In the first of a new column I am calling The Man Way – when a man’s way to do things ends up being good or right (like how grilling meat is healthy, but that’s another story) – I will explore whether this manly take on a chore is being Lazy or Smart.


The one time I did rake it took me a few hours over multiple weekends. I just mowed my lawn of leaves in an hour. So, yes, in essence I am being lazy and doing it the ‘easy’ way.

Exhibit A: The yard after the fall.


See lazy above. Isn’t spending less time on something with the same results called efficiency – and efficiency is smart? OK, you want more? I got it.

Exhibit B: One pass of the lawnmower – multiple passes can mulch even more.

You know what all those leaves raked into the street for the city to pick up do right? They take up parking spots, become a dam when it rains, create puddles and block up the sewer drain. It could even back up enough to flood yards and basements or wreak havoc on cars.

Exhibit C: The same yard as A after a quick ‘mowing’.

I have even more. So after the leaves have sat in the street for a while, your community comes and picks them up. Where do they go? Depending on your community, they could just go into a landfill with other garbage. Truly forward thinking communities (like mine) can donate or sell the leaves much like other used resources like say metal to be used to make that black gold of gardeners – no not oil – dirt and compost. In Wauwatosa where I live at least they give much of the leaves to an organization that uses them to make compost for a charity (Father Dom who got his own great man story here), but stories like that are rare.

And last but not least, in fact the most important note. Remember, we are mulching, not mowing the leaves. Mulching the leaves adds beneficial material to your lawn to make it better the following year. You don’t have to be an organic lawn or garden person, such as this article that states ‘There really is no scientific reason to rake all of the leaves off of your lawn. If you simply run over them with a mower (with the wheels set at their highest setting) they’ll break down over the winter, providing your soil with nutrients and shading the soil’. Even general experts like the Lawn Institute and Scott’s (lawn and garden products) say to mulch, not rake for a better lawn. Per the Lawn Institue: ‘The best method for weed control is mowing the leaves with a mulching mower and letting them fall to the soil, right where they are.’

‘Nuff said.


And the winner is: SMART, or a s a friend said: Smarzy – smart AND lazy.

We have power tools for a reason. Would you rather chop down a tree with an ax or with a chain saw? It is far faster to mow the leaves, even if it takes a few passes, plus your lawn will thank you for it next year with less maintenance as it grows healthy and strong over Winter and Spring from all the extra nutrients you just gave it.

And that’s The Man Way to do it.


About K9vin

I have been a volunteer for the humane treatment of animals in the Milwaukee area for 10 years as well as our parks system including founding the friends group for off-leash dog parks and a volunteer for The Park People. I was born in and raised near Milwaukee and have pride in the city. I want to be one of the people always striving to make Milwaukee better, starting with getting other men involved in their community.


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