Do you ever advise your clients to allow leaf fall to remain on the beds to serve as mulch (i.e. God's Mulch)?
If you have gardened more than one year you will have noticed in spring that left-over leaves from the previous fall have served through the winter as a wonderful weed preventer. However, if these leaves are left on their own, they can create more problems than they appear to be solving. When leaves are allowed to lay whole, they blanket together and don't really breath well enough to facilitate any beneficial decomposition. It's just a nastier mess to clean up if left until spring, and over the winter these leaf clumps become pockets that can attract and harbour pests and disease !
The best use of leaves as a resource from your yard is chopped and composted. The easiest way to do this is run a lawnmower across your yard when you mow during autumn. Early in the the leaf drop, use a catcher bag to collect your mowings and add it to - or create a separate little place for later addition to - your compost For now, just believe me that a special magic happens when grass clippings meet chopped leaves. This is GREAT composting material!! Later in the season as the leaves fall faster, you might rake or blow them out of your beds and off your lawn.
I live in the woods. When the leaves lay on the lawn thick enough that catching the chopped leaves becomes impractical (because the catcher fills up in less than one pass of the mower), I use a back pack blower to put the leaves in windrows where my lawn meets woods, then I run my mower back and forth over this, blowing the chopped bits into the woods.
If you live in a community with yard-waste pick up, there is likely to be a leaf collection schedule for your neighborhood. Just call your town or county DPW so you'll know when to have your leaves at the curb. If you live in a windy or breezy area, it is not a bad idea to invest in a large tarp or two to cover this huge pile, so that it doesn't blow back into your yard!
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