Autumn is here in the Sioux Empire and homeowners are tasked with the back-breaking job of raking and bagging all those leaves.

My memories of raking leaves are mixed. When I was old enough to swing a rake, my dad had me out in the front lawn making leaf piles. It was fun for the first time, but after the 5th time the wind blew the pile all over the yard, I was more than done with it.

My dad was old school, he believed that removing the leaves and laying down fertilizer would be good for the lawn. However, a recent study shows that mulching leaves are all you need to do for a greener lawn in the spring and your lower back will definitely thank you!

According to a study done at Michigan State University, you can throw out the rake and say goodbye to bagging leaves forever. Replace the rake and blower with your lawnmower.

The study recommends raising the mower deck on the highest setting and mulching the leaves to dime-sized pieces. Any rotary-action mower will work and you'll need to do multiple passes to get the job done.

You're be done when half an inch of grass can be seen peeking through the pulverized leaves. The bits will settle into the turf and then nature takes over. In the spring, the ground-up leaves will be gone and you should notice a greener lawn.

During the multiple-year study, researchers noticed that test lawns had fewer weeds and dandelions after three years of mulching leaves.

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