How To Mow Your Lawn With Leaves On It: A Guide To Can I Mow My Lawn?

Maintaining your lawn can be a daunting task, especially if it’s been left unattended for a while. When wet or dry leaves accumulate on your lawn, it can be difficult to determine whether it is safe to mow. You’ll naturally think, how can I mow my lawn with leaves on it? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that you can mow your lawn safely and efficiently, even when leaves are present.

In this guide, we will discuss the precautions you should take when mowing your lawn with leaves on it and provide helpful tips on making the job easier. With the proper preparation and care, you can have a beautiful, healthy lawn all year round.

Can I Mow My Lawn With Leaves On It?

Mowing your lawn with leaves on it can be a tricky process. To ensure that you don’t damage your lawn while mulching the leaves, it’s important to adjust the height of your mower.

The mower’s height should be set lower than usual to ensure the blades can cut through the leaves. This will also help reduce the clumping that can occur when leaves are left on the lawn. If the mower is set too high, the leaves will not be mulched properly, and the lawn will not be cut evenly.

It’s also important to check the mower blades before each use to ensure that they are sharp and will cut through the leaves. Dull blades will cause clumping and uneven cutting.

It’s important to ensure you are mowing in a straight line when mowing. This will help ensure that the leaves are mulched evenly and the lawn is cut at an even level.

If the mower moves in a zigzag pattern, the leaves may not be mulched properly, and the lawn may not be cut evenly. It’s also important to remember to slow down when mowing. The slower the mower moves, the better the leaves will be mulched.

It’s also important to remember that mulching the leaves on your lawn is not the same as raking them. Raking leaves will remove them from the lawn and expose the grass, while mulching them will help protect the grass and provide extra nutrients to the soil. If you decide to rake the leaves, it’s important to do so carefully to avoid damaging the grass.

Mowing your lawn with leaves can be tricky, but following these steps, you should be able to successfully mulch the leaves while ensuring that your lawn is cut evenly and at the right height.

Benefits Of Mowing With Leaves On

Benefits Of Mowing With Leaves On

Mowing with leaves on your lawn can provide several benefits. Here are a few to consider:

  • Less work: Mowing with leaves on your lawn can save you time and effort. Instead of raking and bagging leaves, you can simply mow over them and let the small pieces decompose in your yard.
  • Natural fertilizer: As the leaf pieces decompose, they release nutrients that can help fertilize your lawn. This can lead to a healthier, greener lawn.
  • Soil protection: Leaf particles can also help protect soil from erosion and retain moisture, particularly during dry spells.
  • Environmental benefits: Mowing with leaves on your lawn can also have environmental benefits. By not disposing of leaves in the trash, you reduce the amount of waste in landfills and reduce emissions from trucks transporting the bags of leaves.

Drawbacks Of Mowing With Leaves On

Mowing with leaves on can have a few potential drawbacks:

  • Uneven lawn: Mowing over leaves can cause them to become compacted and make the grass appear uneven after mowing. This can also make it harder for sunlight and water to reach the grass beneath.
  • Clogged mower: Leaves can clog the mower and cause it to work less efficiently. This can increase the time it takes to finish the job.
  • Not recycling leaves properly: While mowing with leaves can provide some nutrients for the grass, it’s important to ensure the leaves are properly recycled. This can include using a mulching mower or setting them aside for composting. If the leaves are not properly recycled, they can become a breeding ground for pests and diseases.

Types Of Leaves To Mow With

When it comes to mowing, there are typically two types of leaves: those that can be easily mulched and those that should be bagged. Here are a few examples of each:

Leaves that can be mulched

  • Small or shredded leaves can easily break down and add nutrients to the soil.
  • Leaves that have been allowed to dry out and become brittle, making them easier to chop up with a mower.

Leaves that should be bagged

  • Large, wet leaves that can clog up a mower or leave clumps on the lawn.
  • Leaves from trees that are known to have diseases or pests can spread if left on the ground.

Ultimately, the type of leaves you can mow will depend on the leaves’ condition and your mower’s capabilities. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and bag any leaves you’re unsure can be mulched effectively.

Safety Considerations When Mowing With Leaves

When mowing leaves, taking safety precautions is important to ensure you and those around you are safe. Some important considerations include the following:

  • Wear the right gear. Make sure you wear sturdy shoes, eye protection, and ear protection. Using a gas-powered mower, you should also wear a mask to protect your lungs from exhaust fumes.
  • Clear the area of debris. Before you start mowing, ensure the area is free of rocks, sticks, and other debris that the mower could kick up and cause injury.
  • Be mindful of where the leaves are going. If you’re mowing leaves on a slope or near a body of water, be careful not to let the leaves pile up or get blown into the waterway. This can create a safety hazard for swimmers and boaters.
  • Take breaks. Mowing leaves can be tiring, so rest and rehydrate often. This will help you avoid exhaustion and heat stroke.

Equipment Needed For Mowing With Leaves

Equipment Needed For Mowing With Leaves

When it comes to mowing with leaves, a few pieces of equipment can make the job easier and more efficient. Here are some of the essentials:

  • Lawn mower: A decent lawn mower is the foundation of any mowing job, and a mulching mower is a good choice for leaves. These mowers chop the leaves into small pieces, which can be left on the lawn to fertilize.
  • Rake: Although a mulching mower will take care of most of the leaves, a rake can be useful for removing any clumps or piles left behind.
  • Leaf blower: A leaf blower can be a great time-saver when mowing with leaves. Use it to blow leaves into piles, making them easier to collect with a rake or mower.
  • Lawn bags or bins: Once the leaves are collected, they must be disposed of properly. Lawn bags or a leaf collection bin can make this task much easier.
  • Safety gear: Don’t forget gloves and eye protection! These will protect you from any debris kicked up while mowing with leaves.

Tips On The Best Mowing Techniques For Leaves

Mowing your lawn with leaves can be difficult and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. You can easily mow your lawn with leaves with the right technique and tools. Here are some tips on the best mowing techniques for leaves:

  1. Set your mower blade to a higher level so it’s only cutting the tops off the leaves and not shredding them entirely. This will create smaller leaf pieces that can decompose faster and easier.
  2. Mow in a back-and-forth pattern or overlap your rows to ensure that you cover the entire area and minimize missed spots.
  3. Avoid mowing on wet leaves, as this can clog your mower and complicate your job. Wait until the leaves are dry before you start mowing.
  4. Consider using a mulching mower or a leaf vacuum if you have many leaves. These tools can help speed up the process and make it easier to manage the leaves.
  5. Dispose of the leaves once you’ve mowed them properly. Consider composting them or using them as mulch to nourish your garden or lawn.

How To Dispose Of Leaves After Mowing?

There are several eco-friendly ways to dispose of leaves after mowing:

  1. Compost: Leaves are a great addition to compost because they contain many nutrients that benefit plants. You can create a compost pile or use a bin to mix leaves with other organic matter, such as food scraps, grass clippings, and paper products.
  2. Mulch: Use a lawn mower with a mulching setting to chop the leaves into small pieces, which can then be left on the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Alternatively, you can use the mulch as a cover for your garden beds to help retain moisture.
  3. Bag and recycle: If you prefer not to compost or mulch, you can bag the leaves and take them to a recycling center that accepts yard waste. Contact your local waste management facility for information on recycling centers near you.

Remember, it is important to dispose of leaves properly, as leaving them on the sidewalk or street can create a hazard for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Common Problems When Mowing With Leaves

Mowing with leaves can be tricky, and there are several common problems you may encounter:

  1. Clogging: Leaves can quickly clog your mower deck, causing it to slow down or even stop. Keep the deck clear by stopping regularly to empty it.
  2. Uneven cutting: Leaves can be thick and difficult to cut evenly. Try adjusting the height of your mower blades to ensure a clean cut.
  3. Clumping: Mowing over large piles of leaves can cause them to clump together, leading to an uneven distribution across your lawn. To avoid this, try raking up the leaves before mowing and spreading them out evenly across the lawn.
  4. Wet Leaves: Wet leaves are heavier and more difficult to mow. If possible, wait until they dry out before mowing.

Maintenance Tips For Mowing With Leaves

Maintenance Tips For Mowing With Leaves

When mowing with leaves, there are a few maintenance tips you should keep in mind to ensure your lawn mower stays in good condition and your lawn stays healthy. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Adjust your mower’s cutting height to accommodate the thickness of the leaves. If the leaves are thick, set your mower to a higher cutting height to avoid clogging the blades and impeding its performance.
  2. Use a mulching blade or attach a mulching kit to your mower. This will help chop up the leaves finely so they decompose quickly and fertilize the soil.
  3. Clear the lawn of any large branches, rocks, or other debris before mowing. This will protect your mower’s blades from damage and ensure a smooth mowing experience.
  4. After mowing, remove any remaining leaves or debris from your lawn and dispose of them properly. Leaving excess leaves on your lawn can result in a thick layer of thatch, which can impede the growth of grass and other plants.

When To Avoid Mowing With Leaves?

When it comes to mowing your lawn with leaves on it, there are a few things that you should consider before you attempt this task.

First, knowing when to avoid mowing with leaves on your lawn is important. Mowing during the fall season can cause a buildup of leaves, smothering the grass and creating a fire hazard. If you have a large number of leaves on your lawn, it is best to rake and remove them before mowing.

Additionally, when mowing with leaves on your lawn, you should ensure your mower blade is sharp and in good condition. This will help you to mow more efficiently without damaging the grass.

Another important thing to consider is the weather. If it is raining or has rained recently, it is best to wait until the lawn has dried before mowing. The wet leaves can clog the mower, making it difficult to mow properly.

Additionally, mowing wet leaves can cause the lawn to become slippery and dangerous. The same goes for extremely windy days; the leaves can blow and stick to the mower blades and exhaust.

Is Mowing Leaves Bad For Mowers?

Mowing your lawn with leaves on it can be a tricky task. Some people might think that mowing over leaves is bad for their mower, but it’s not. Mowing over leaves can be a great way to mulch them into your grass, adding nutrients to the soil. However, there are some precautions you should take when mowing your lawn with leaves on it.

  • Make sure your mower blades are sharp. This is because leaves stick together with moisture and can form a matting on your lawn if you don’t have sharp blades. If you’re unsure if your blades are sharp enough, take them to a shop to sharpen them.
  • Try to mow in straight lines. Leaves often form a matting at the edges of your lawn, so mowing in straight lines can help break up the leaves and make them easier to mulch.
  • Make sure you keep the mower speed low. Leaves tend to be slippery, so a higher mower speed can cause the leaves to slide around and sometimes clog up the blades.
  • Don’t mow too low. Leaves tend to be thicker at the ends of your lawn, so mowing too low can cause the mower to bog down and possibly damage the blades.
  • Make sure you rake up the leaves after mowing. This will help the leaves break down faster and reduce the risk of disease spreading in your lawn.

Should I Rake Leaves Before Mowing?

When the leaves start to fall, many homeowners ask, should I rake the leaves before mowing my lawn? The answer to this question depends on a few factors.

First, assessing the number of leaves on your lawn is important. If you have a light scattering of leaves, it is likely safe to mow without raking first. However, if you have a thick layer of leaves, you must rake the leaves before mowing.

The other factor to consider is the type of mower you have. If you have a riding mower, it is likely to handle leaves without a problem. However, if you have a push mower, it may not handle a thick layer of leaves. In this case, you should rake the leaves before mowing to prevent clogging the mower and ensure you get a clean cut.

It is also important to consider the type of grass you have. Certain types of grass, such as Bermuda grass, can handle a light layer of leaves, while other types of grass, such as St. Augustine, may not do as well. If you are unsure of your grass type, it is best to consult a local lawn care professional for advice.

Finally, it is important to consider the ground conditions. If the ground is wet and mushy due to recent rain, it is likely better to rake the leaves before mowing. This will help prevent the mower from getting stuck in the mud, and it will also help to ensure that the mower does not tear up the grass.


In conclusion, yes, you can mow your lawn with leaves if you do it correctly. You should always use a mulching mower to reduce the size of the leaves and blend them back into the lawn.

You should also rake up any clumps of leaves and remove them from the lawn before mowing. By following these steps, you can ensure that your lawn is healthy and looks great.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it bad to cut leaves with a lawn mower?

It is not recommended to use a lawn mower to cut leaves. The blades on a lawn mower are designed for cutting grass and can become clogged if used on leaves, potentially damaging the mower. Additionally, the force of the mower blade can rip and shred leaves rather than cut them.

Can you mow leaves instead of raking them?

Yes, you can mow leaves instead of raking them. You can use a mulching mower to chop the leaves into small pieces, making them easier to manage. The chopped-up leaves can then be left on the lawn, decomposing and providing nutrients for the grass.

Should I mow leaves or rake?

It depends on the size and type of leaves in question. Mowing the leaves may be easier if they are small and mostly flat. If the leaves are large and thick, raking them may be better.

What happens if you don’t clean up leaves?

If you don’t clean up leaves, they can cause various problems. Leaves can impede drainage, leading to water pooling in low-lying areas and possible flooding. Leaves can also prevent sunlight from reaching the grass, leading to poor grass growth and an unhealthy lawn. Leaves can also create a breeding ground for pests and potentially harmful fungi and bacteria.

How often should I mow my lawn when there are leaves on it?

It is best to mow your lawn whenever the leaves start to accumulate. Depending on the amount of leaves and the size of your lawn, this may mean mowing every couple of days or every week.

What mower should I use to mow my lawn with leaves on it?

The mulching mower is the best mower to mow a lawn with leaves. Mulching mowers are designed to cut grass and leave it into tiny pieces that can easily be distributed back into the lawn. This helps nourish the soil and prevents the leaves from clumping together.

Is it safe to mow my lawn with leaves on it?

No, it is not safe to mow your lawn with leaves on it. Not only can leaves affect the quality of the cut, but they can also clog up the lawnmower, potentially causing damage to the machine. Removing the leaves before mowing is recommended to ensure the best cut and reduce the risk of damage to the lawnmower.

Are there any special precautions I should take when mowing my lawn with leaves on it?

When mowing a lawn with leaves, taking some special precautions is important. First, use a mulching mower to ensure the leaves are chopped and returned to the soil as nutrients. Second, raise the mower deck to avoid clumps of leaves blocking the blades or becoming tangled in the mower. Finally, reduce the mower speed to avoid throwing leaves into the air and making a mess.