Why Fall Foliage Can Hurt Your Asphalt

October, 13, 2021 By CASSIDY PAVING 3 min read
Leaves on a street in autumn

There’s a lot to love about living in New England, and the burst of color that comes every autumn is up there for many residents. No matter how much you love looking at the leaves this time of year, however, fall foliage can take a toll on exterior surfaces everywhere, including asphalt pavement. Indeed, every season features conditions that put your asphalt in harm’s way, and asphalt paving contractors can tell you that autumn is no exception. Let’s go over how fall foliage can hurt your asphalt so you can avoid major pavement repair projects down the road.

How Fall Foliage Impacts Asphalt


Autumn leaves certainly make a mark, sometimes literally. Leaves contain tannins, which leave behind darkened stains when left to linger on surfaces (especially if they’re dampened by rain or dew). These stains are much more noticeable on lighter surfaces like concrete and wood, but they can affect asphalt, too. The good news is that leaf stains aren’t inherently harmful and usually go away on their own. Still, an abundance of autumn leaf stains can temporarily discolor your pavement, hurting your property’s curb appeal, so it’s best to keep leaves off your asphalt.


Leaves are light and brittle, so it seems unlikely that they would do any real physical damage to something durable like asphalt. That said, fall foliage can become quite abrasive, especially when dried out. Some of the hardened dirt and debris carried by leaves are also abrasive, potentially scratching the surface of your asphalt pavement. These scuffs and scratches are primarily superficial and easily removed, but they can gradually wear down asphalt over time.


Fall foliage looks beautiful from afar, but individual leaves often carry countless pests, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. While some of these tiny actors are relatively harmless, others can slowly break down blacktop sealcoating and underlying layers of asphalt. When a leaf lands on your asphalt, imagine it’s like a boat carrying millions of passengers that wish to chip away at your pavement. Keeping this in mind, you’ll feel more motivated to regularly remove leaves and other debris from your asphalt.

Moisture Intrusion

Microorganisms aren’t the only things leaves bring with them. Leaves are also prime vessels for absorbing water. Not only does this moisture contribute to staining -- it can also contribute to asphalt erosion. Water has a way of finding pores, cracks, and other openings, after all. If enough moisture enters your asphalt, it can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, which in turn can cause cracks in your pavement. Indeed, preventing moisture intrusion is an important part of proper asphalt maintenance.

Keeping Your Asphalt Clean, Safe, and Sturdy This Autumn

Few things in this life are better than autumn in New England -- unfortunately, fall foliage isn’t so kind to asphalt. Keep your asphalt in great shape this season by removing leaves from its surfaces on a regular basis. And if you’re concerned about issues like staining, abrasion, erosion, or moisture intrusion, hire asphalt services to provide the necessary expertise and resources to prevent and combat the negative effects of fall on your pavement.

At Cassidy Paving, we offer comprehensive asphalt solutions for commercial and residential properties across Southern NH and Massachusetts, including paving, repairs, cleaning, maintenance, sealcoating, and more. Call us today at 866-978-9788 for a free estimate on your next asphalt project.

Filed Under: Asphalt

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Based in Haverhill, MA, Cassidy Paving is a commercial paving company serving southern NH and Massachusetts.

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