Benefits of mulching your leaves this fall

OTTAWA HILLS, Ohio (WTVG) - Fall is here. So, should you rake, mow, blow or maybe even mulch them? 13abc talked with an environmental expert to learn what's best.

Ottawa Hills is known for its large amount of beautiful, large trees. Which this time of year, means lots of leaves. Environmental experts say leaving the leaves where they fall may be the best move this season.

It's a sure sign of fall. Changing colors and falling leaves, especially in Ottawa Hills.

"Lots of large mature trees and as a result we have a lot of leaves that come down," said Marc Thompson, village manager.

Research shows you may just want to leave the leaves alone.

"Some people think the leaves are a liability and it's extra work for them, but actually leaves can give us a lot," said Amy Stone.

Amy Stone is an extension educator at The Ohio State University. She mulches her leaves.

"I cut them up as small as I can and just leave them on top of the grass," said Stone.

Stone says there are lots of benefits to mulching versus raking. The leaves become a natural fertilizer that's good for your soil and nutritious for your plants.

"You can have somebody do that process for you and then you're buying that product back to incorporate into your garden beds or into your perennial beds, but you can do it yourself unless you have such an abundance of leaves," said Stone.

If you have a large amount of trees in your yard, Stone recommends mulching a portion of the leaves and raking the rest to the curb.

"Everything that you read and learn is that it's better for the grass and insects and bugs," said Thompson.

Each fall in Ottawa Hills, roughly 2,500 cubic yards of compacted leaved are disposed. Leaves are taken to Clean Wood Recycling where they become compost.

"It's efficient for our leaf disposal and it turns those leaves into top soil and mulch as well. So, it works all the way around," said Thompson.

If you do rake your leaves to the curb for pick up - remember to only put leaves out. No twigs, sticks or brush. Weather permitting, in Toledo, leaf collection will start November 4.