burning leaves or mulching leaves

This or That: Burn Your Fall Leaves, or Mow Them?

People love the smell of burning leaves, but is that the best way to dispose of pesky lawn litter?

This or That: Burn Your Fall Leaves, or Mow Them?

Can you really afford to burn those leaves?

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The changing leaves of fall are one of nature's most spectacular displays, but getting rid of those leaves once they hit the ground can become the season's most spectacular headache (or backache). How you cope with lawn litter is not just a matter of keeping your landscape neat and tidy, though. The right choice affects the health of your lawn and your lungs.

This: Burning Leaves

Pros: It's a quick and easy way to get rid of lawn waste, and many people seem to relish the smell. Plus, what's not to like about fire?

Cons: Answer: Your house burning down. In addition to being a fire hazard, burning leaves introduces a lot of pollutants into your backyard air, such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons—a class of chemicals that can be toxic, irritating to your respiratory passages, and carcinogenic, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA also notes that because leaves are usually moist, they burn poorly and emit even higher levels of those dangerous hydrocarbons. And, for all these reasons, burning leaves could be illegal in your neighborhood.

That: Mulching Leaves

Pros: Chopped-up leaves are a great fertilizer for lawns, particularly since fall is the best time of year to fertilize. The decaying organic matter feeds all the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which also helps the soil retain more moisture, and they continue to feed the soil even after your lawn goes dormant in winter. Come spring, you'll have healthier grass. Plus, no more painful raking; all you need to do is run over the leaves with your lawnmower.

Cons: If you're mulching your leaves with a gas-powered mower, you're pumping pollutants of a different sort into the air. According to a 2003 report from the EPA, mowers contribute as much as 5 percent of all ozone-forming emissions and produce as much pollution as driving a car 20 miles.


Published on: November 16, 2009

It should be burn or just put

It should be burn or just put it on the trash can and let it pick up by the garbage man, but its a good idea if you burn fallen leaves you can produce smoke for insects to make them flew away for some kind of skin problems that you can get on insects. Randall Alifano

It is perfect time to make

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

Burning yard waste

I am understanding that ashes from the yard waste, including leaves and my fire place, contain valuable nutrients. I also understand that the mulching process produces methane gas. Methane is far more damaging to the environment than CO2. Should not these items be considered in a scientific evaluation?


As burning or mulching both cause pollution, at least if you mulch your leaves,the earth benefits and fertility is improved. If you burn them, the only result is pollutants and fire hazard.
You could also just go over your leaves lightly with your mower (less pollutants)and then put them in a long term compost pile. Later on this could be used as a mulch atound appropriate plants.

There seems to be no perfect way of getting the leaves out of the way, so some kind of compromise is necessary.

burning leaves..

I didn't realize that burning leaves would even be considered an option in any instance. Seems a little archaic, like burning tires.

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