Do Fall Leaves Affect Asphalt?

Leaves are a natural part of autumn, but how do they affect asphalt?

Fall is upon us, figuratively and literally. While the air gets crisper, the leaves turn to beautiful colors and eventually fall, landing wherever they may. If they border your business’s parking lot, it’s likely that they will fall onto it. Some dead leaves might get blown away by the wind, but others might linger. Do fall leaves affect asphalt? The short answer is “yes.” How so?

How Do Fall Leaves Affect Asphalt?

Increased Chance of Cracks & Potholes

Fall leaves, although dead, do contain some moisture when they first fall off the tree. This moisture slowly leaches out of them. If it leaches onto the asphalt, it will wear it out. Asphalt disintegrates very slowly over time from the wear and tear of ultraviolet light, traffic, temperature changes, and water. If the asphalt has any cracks in it, the water from the fall leaves will fill those gaps and cause them to grow wider. If left alone, these cracks will turn into potholes.

Tannin Stains

Fall leaves also have a substance called tannin, which also leaves them as they die. The tannin will stain any pavement it is on, especially after it rains. After rainfall, you might see dark leaf imprints on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc., because of the wet leaves on them. While these imprints might be initially fascinating, they ultimately damage the pavement. It is better to blow the leaves off before it rains.

Clogged Drains

Commercial pavement usually connects to a stormwater management system of some kind. A typical example is a set of storm drains that take stormwater runoff to the nearest stream, river, etc. If the leaves clump enough, they can clog the drains and cause flooding on the parking lot, which does nothing to help preserve the asphalt pavement.

Cold Weather and Asphalt

The Freeze-Thaw Cycle

In tandem with how fall leaves affect asphalt is how cold weather affects asphalt. The change from hot to cold weather causes asphalt to shrink and water to freeze. In Maryland, residual water on the parking lot may freeze, thaw, and freeze again repeatedly amid fluctuating temperatures. Should the water infiltrate the asphalt’s top layer, this cycle is damaging.

The Need for a Different Solution

When cold weather comes, your parking lot needs different care than it would in summer. Reliable Contracting can help you maintain it with the right treatments all year long!


Reliable is dedicated to delivering quality products, displaying professionalism within the firm, seeking new opportunities for expansion and profitability, and providing an environment for individual success. If you have a commercial or residential construction project that you need taken care of, please contact Anne Arundel County’s largest site-work contractor today by calling 410-987-0313 or visiting our website. You can also follow Reliable Contracting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Reliable Contracting Company serves the following and surrounding counties: Annapolis, Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Howard, Prince George, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington D.C.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2023 at 9:50 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.