This might be off-topic, but I need people knowledgable about the natural process of rotting to weigh in on this.
I own a small apartment block with a small front and side yard. My parents bark at me to rake up the dead leaves on my yard every spring when the snow melts, and every autumn before the permanant snow falls.
It's not that I'm lazy, but I find that the grass on the city boulevard, where no one rakes leaves, seems to be growing better than the grass on my property, where I rake up all the leaves every spring and fall and dispose of them in my dumpster, and it seems that the only thing growing on my property are weeds anyhow, no grass to speak of.
I can't help thinking that by raking up all the dead leaves every spring and fall, I'm interfering with the natural cycle of life. Instead of those leaves rotting and putting nutrients back into the soil, I'm raking them up and putting them in a dumpster.
I'm thinking that the reason my property is full of weeds is that they grow better than grass under difficult growing conditions, and it's me that's creating those difficult growing conditions by raking up all the biomass (leaves) that fall on my property every spring and fall and disposing of that biomass in a dumpster so that it DOESN'T fulfill it's intended mission of rotting and fertilizing the soil in my front and side yards.
I was told that it's important to rake one's grass early in the spring to remove the thatch that would otherwise rob the grass roots of moisture.
The problem is that my lawns are full of weeds, but the city boulevards that no on looks after (I cut the grass on them) seem to be doing better. They have more grass, less weeds, and no bare spots where nothing grows at all.
It seems to me that the correct thing to do would be for me to stop raking up leaves in the spring and fall and let them rot to replenish the nutrients in the soil. But, wouldn't a layer of dead leaves on my lawn in the spring absorb all the moisture that falls as rain and prevent that moisture from getting into the soil and causing the grass to grow?
I think I'm removing all the dead leaves from the lawn, and that's like removing all the natural fertilizer, but the dead leaves will absorb rainfall and prevent it from getting to the grass roots where it's needed.