Inevitably, the beautiful leaves of Fall must do just that - fall - and it's quickly littering the ground across the Upper Midwest with piles of fallen foliage.

When I was a kid, we used to rake them up, bag them, and either leave them to decompose for mulch for mom's garden or, we'd just send them to the dump. But lately, there's been conservation efforts that say this isn't the best way to handle your leaves. So what is?

WKMI logo
Get our free mobile app

A big movement in some communities has been to leave your leaves as they lie. Obviously, clean up any obstructions they might cause, such as covering a sidewalk, or markers painted on a road. But otherwise, once those leaves fall, you leave them as they are in your yard.

This is how Mother Nature intended from the beginning for the natural way of things to handle itself, so who are we to interfere with the process, right?

It got me to wonder - since I'm new to living in communities with so many trees - what do people do with their leaves up here?

We asked on social media, and got a pretty wide variety of answers:

Turns out, almost NO ONE rakes, and bags their leaves anymore, at least according to our "super official" social media survey.

The most popular answer seemed to be "mow the leaves," which seems like a good idea until I saw some of the yards around the area, and how THICK the leaves actually were on the ground. Not sure how strong some of your mulcher blades are on your lawnmowers, but I'd have to upgrade from what I used to have.

But the good thing about mowing and mulching for the yard is, it speeds up the process that Mother Nature intended for the leaves. Instead of waiting for the weather to break down the leaves, you're pulverizing them right away.

I did see a few people who rake the leaves, then put them in their garden, or on a mulch pile from there, without the mowing process. This is likely what my parents would have me do today... and I say it like that because I don't believe I've ever seen my parents rake the yard. They've ALWAYS had me and my brother do it.

Some villages seem to offer the service of leaves pickup if you rake them to the curb, and a few people even say they burn them. This is a new method for me, because this time of year back home, it's so dry, a semi-lit cigarette could turn a full town into kindling within an hour. Fire = bad this time of year.

But, by far, my favorite answer in our survey...

"Wait for the neighbor to go to work and blow them into his yard." - Scott Wheeler


THIS is the kind of energy I'm here for. THIS is my kind of thinking.

So all these ways to handle leaves after they fall, what's the actual best way to handle them?

Well, according to, some of you are pretty close.

"As you sweep the rake across your lawn, push the leaves onto (a) tarp for easy cleanup. Try raking the leaves from one area of your lawn onto the tarp until it's full. Once full, gently grab each edge to close the tarp and drag it wherever you're disposing of your leaves."

This implies that you'll likely be mulching the leaves at a different location.

Sounds all well and good, but honestly, pulverizing them with the mower, or burning them in epic fashion sounds more fun to me - or at least, blowing them onto the neighbor's property for THEM to do it at least.

10 Spots In Kalamazoo With The Best Fall Colors

Nature Preserves, Trails, and Parks in Greater Kalamazoo with great scenery, amazing nature, and an amazing array of fall colors!