Mendham Garden Center
Route 24, Mendham, NJ

The Best Way to Dispose of Fallen Leaves: Rake or Leave Them? 

Fallen leaves are a nuisance, especially during fall and winter, when they clog gutters and storm drains. But they are nature’s way of recycling itself. They decompose into soil and nutrients that plants can absorb. 

If left alone, they also add color and texture to your yard. However, fallen leaves can pose a problem for homeowners because they blow around or pile up, creating an unsightly mess. Here’s how to dispose of fallen leaves from your yard or garden. 

1. Rake Them Up 

The first way to dispose of fallen leaves is to rake them up and throw them away. This method is effective but requires time and effort. Here are a few options after raking the leaves up. 

Bag Them 

After raking the fallen leaves, bag them into the bags that your town has allowed. These bags can be clear plastic bags or recyclable paper bags. Ensure you know your town’s choice of bag and the days when they pick the leaves. The downside to this option is that you will need many bags. However, the leaves will not be blown back into your property even as you await pickup. 

Vacuum Them 

Some towns have ordinances that govern how to dispose of fallen leaves. They control leaf blowing, vacuuming, burning, and bagging. In addition, some towns send vacuum trucks to suck up fallen leaves from people’s yards every fall. 

Your job is to rake up the leaves when the pickup date is close. However, ensure not to block fire hydrants, storm drains or park your car near the leaf piles. This makes it hard to vacuum the leaves, and dust from the leaves will cover your vehicle. Also, parking on top of fallen leaves is a fire hazard. 

2. Leave Them 

The second option is to leave the fallen leaves to dry out naturally. Although this takes longer and requires less maintenance, it might not be ideal for everyone. Some people don’t want their yard to look messy, especially during winter. 

However, composting fallen leaves helps reduce the amount of trash going into landfills. Leaves are a great source of nutrients and organic matter for plants. They make excellent mulch, which protects the soil and reduces weeds. 

This option involves raking up the leaves and throwing them into your compost pit to provide the pit with carbon. You can shred the leaves to speed up decomposition or let them decompose when whole to create leaf mold used as mulch and soil amendment. You can put the mulch at the base of your plants to aid in water retention and cause the growth of beneficial bacteria and garden worms. 

3. Use a Leaf Blower 

You might consider using a leaf blower if you don’t want to spend time raking fallen leaves. A leaf blower is a handy tool that allows you to blow leaves away from your property. The machine has two parts: a motor and a fan. When you turn the handle, the fan rotates around the motor, creating a suction that pulls leaves toward the unit. 

Once you blow the leaves, you can dispose of them in the fields or woods behind your home, but only if you own them. Such areas provide great spaces for the leaves to decompose. In addition, you don’t need to bag the fallen leaves or wait for the town’s leaf vacuum truck. However, ensure you blow the leaves deep into these woods or fields, or they will be blown back into your property, causing you to repeat the leaf blowing process. 


Depending on your garden or yard needs, you can choose one option to dispose of fallen leaves. For example, if you don’t have a garden, composting may not be an option. Also, if you don’t own the woods behind your home, leaf blowing may not work. So, consider your yard needs, then choose one method to dispose of the leaves. 

Visit Mendham Garden Center for all of your outdoor supplies.