What Happens to Leaves if Left Alone Through the Winter?

Watching leaves change color is something that never gets old. Raking and bagging those leaves once they fall is a different story, though! If you’re struggling to get the motivation to clean the leaves on your lawn, you aren’t alone. What will happen if the leaves are left all winter, though? The answer is different than you might expect!

A Natural Mulch

The good news is that leaves aren’t all bad. Once they fall, they will start to create a natural mulch around the base of the trees. This natural mulch is packed with nutrients that promote growth while insulating the roots of your trees as the weather gets colder.
Birds and insects can also benefit from the leaves being left behind. Insects can burrow under them to keep warm and protected, while birds can carry leaves to their nest for extra insulation.

How Leaves Can Affect Your Lawn

If leaves are left all winter, it can have some not-so-great effects on your lawn. The leaves will create a layer across the grass that then gets compacted with snow and ice over the winter. Once the snow and ice melt, the leaves will remain. It’s difficult for grass to grow successfully come springtime if leaves are still on top. Your lawn will likely come in patchy, discolored, and grow more slowly than your neighbors.
In the spring, you’ll be left to remove the leaves or mow over them before your grass can start to grow. Grass seed will likely be required to get your lawn looking good again, which can be quite a tedious and pricey process.

How to Prepare Leaves Before Winter

If you want to skip the leaf cleanup process and still enjoy a flourishing green lawn in the spring, you can! To create a fine mulch, go over the fallen leaves with a lawn mower. When the leaves are cut like this, it allows sunlight to get through to the grass below. The leaves won’t form such a thick barrier over your lawn, and you don’t have to spend any time raking them up.

Overall, it’s clear that letting leaves stay out over the winter isn’t as bad as we initially thought. If you hate fall leaf cleanup, don’t do it! Mulch the leaves, then let them act as natural mulch and insulation over the winter. You’ll save a lot of time and money while eliminating one of the most tedious outdoor chores.

If you need help preparing your lawn and patio for the winter, contact Lola’s Landscape today! Our team can remove leaves, mulch them, clean gutters, and get all the outdoor tasks marked off your to-do list. Don’t waste another year stressing over yard maintenance. Leave it to the professionals!