Ah, fall -- the leaves turn breathtaking colors, setting the hills ablaze with streaks of red, orange and yellow.

Gorgeous.

But somehow, they don't look as pretty when they're all over your lawn. Now they just look like work.

Do they need to, though? Is there really a reason to endure all that backbreaking raking (or earsplitting leaf-blowing)?

Here's the experts' advice: Maybe. Probably. Depends.

According to turf scientists at the University of Minnesota, a few leaves -- covering say, 20 percent of your lawn -- probably aren't worth worrying about. But if leaves are blanketing the majority of your grass, you'd better grab your work gloves.

Too many leaves can smother your lawn, put it at risk for pests and make spring cleanup an even bigger chore.

So keep that rake handy ... but keep your fingers crossed for some windy days.