COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Raking up leaves is a long-standing fall tradition – but do you know what to do with the leaves once you’ve gathered them?

There are many suggestions about what homeowners should do with fallen leaves, so Eyewitness New Meteorologist Pete Mangione went to the experts to find out the best course of action.

Recent buzz on social media suggests that it is better for the environment to just keep the leaves on your lawn – that way they don’t end up at the landfill.

According to Jim Wilkinson from SeaScape Lawn Care in Coventry, landfills do not accept leaves from commercial landscapers.

He said any leaves his company picks up are handed off to a composting operation.

And if homeowners are following the landfill’s rules, they are putting their leaves in paper bags – which are designated for the compost pile as well.

Wilkinson says while grinding leaves with a lawnmower isn’t his first recommended method, it can be acceptable, though homeowners might need to add a little fertilizer to help those leaves decompose.

“Research has indicated that if you have to do that, you probably should go over the area three or four times to grind the leaves up finer so they will decompose,” Wilkinson said.

We spoke on the phone with gardening expert Kate Venturini at the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center. She said she is personally a big fan of the lawnmower method, adding that you can even take it a step further by putting the leaf debris in rows and using it for free mulch in the future.

Venturini and Wilkinson both agreed that leaving a bunch of leaves all around can be detrimental to your lawn in the future.

“They are going to exclude light from the turf, and the grass underneath them is not going to survive,” Wilkinson said.

We asked how many leaves are too many. Wilkinson said, “to the point when you look down and you can’t see any grass, I would certainly recommend that those leaves be picked up.”

Wilkinson pointed out that it may be actually faster to rake the leaves up than mow them several times.