From Pine View Farm

Why Do Suburbanites Rake Leaves? 2

I would be curious to know.

Anne Applebaum raised the issue in her column today:

It’s a peculiarly suburban problem, autumn leaves. True urbanites never think about leaves, and in fact I have friends in New York who howl with derision at the mere mention of a rake. True country-dwellers don’t bother about leaves either. As the philosophers would ask, if leaves fall in a forest and no one is there to see them, do they need to be raked? Certainly they don’t have the same kind of social significance that they have in the suburbs, where an abundance of leaves is a sign of sloppiness, of inadequate concern for the community, or simply of a bad attitude.

I grew up in the country. As Ms. Applebaum accurately points out, country-dwellers do not rake leaves. They ignore them, knowing that the leaves will go away by springtime.

I googled “Why rake leaves.” I got a bunch of hits on how to rake leaves, but nothing on why. Though there was one voice of almost sanity here.

So, help me out here. What’s the point of raking leaves?

(By the way, I no longer rake leaves, at least not since I became single again. I mulch, with the help of Murray.)



  1. Aaron Ward

    October 26, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    a thick layer of leaves holds moisture and can be ideal for harboring pests such as rodents and insects.  This may not concern a homeowner if the leaves are in the woods but it should be a concern if they remain adjacent to the house or desired foundation plants

  2. Frank

    October 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Mulching destroys the carpet just as well, and saves the nutrients.

    But I would add to your reasons that a carpet of squishy leaves is annoying.

    Since I wrote this post, my county has stopped accepting yard waste in the landfill because all those bags of yard waste were filling up the landfill too fast.  They instead opened compost centers where you or the pool boys who cut your grass can drop off yard waste at no charge and others can pick up the composted results.