Mower Mulching: Wet Leaves Vs. Dry

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Running over your leaves with the lawn mower can provide you with needed mulch.
Running over your leaves with the lawn mower can provide you with needed mulch. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you have a lot of leaves in your yard, you may be wondering if you can mow right over them. The answer is yes. You can mow over those leaves to make leaf mulch. However, there is a difference between mowing over them when wet or when dry. There are definite advantages to mowing over the leaves when they are dry as opposed to when they are wet. Wet leaves can cause many problems.

Clogged Mower

Depending on how many leaves you have in your yard, mowing over them when they are wet can clog up your lawn mower. Wet leaves stick to everything, including the underside of your mower. This will force you to stop every couple of minutes to remove the wet leaves from around the blade. Wet leaves can cause problems for your mower besides making you replace your blade more often.

Slippery

Wet leaves have a tendency to be very slippery, especially if you have several layers of wet leaves. Losing your footing when running the lawn mower is a potentially dangerous situation. It is best to not try to mow over leaves when they are wet. If there is an area of your yard that does not receive much sunlight to dry out the leaves, consider raking them and moving them to an area where they can dry out. Once the leaves are dry, then use the lawn mower to mulch them.

Mower Can't Reach

When leaves are wet, they have a tendency to be matted down. Because of the matting, it is much harder for the mower blade to reach them and then properly mulch them up. You may find that you have to go over the same spot in your yard several times before completely mulching the leaves. You may even find that you have to stop with the lawn mower and use a rake to move the leaves around. This just makes more work for you. If your leaves are wet, rake them two or three times on a dry day to help dry them out further before attempting to mulch them up with the mower.

Heavy

Wet leaves are much heavier than dry leaves. This is something you will notice if you bag your mulched leaves to place around your gardening. The bag will quickly fill up with leaves and will be very heavy.

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