Fall is officially here and with it comes all the familiar fall chores. Cleaning gutters, winterizing sprinkler systems, and the bane of every homeowner: raking. Every year we see new ways to remove leaves from your lawn, whether it be the next best rakes or leaf blowers. Everyone is looking for a reason to avoid this tedious task. Well, contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as appropriate leaf cover for your lawn and when the leaves start to pile up, there are better ways to remove leaves than conventional raking and leaf blowing.
What is Appropriate Leaf Cover?
When it comes to fall leaf clean up, everyone is looking for an excuse to skip raking their leaves. It’s a tough job that seems never-ending and, if your trees are healthy, gets harder every year. Unfortunately, this article isn’t about telling you not to remove your leaves. While there is an appropriate leaf cover for your lawn, there is also an inappropriate leaf cover.
The general idea for appropriate leaf cover is the 10-20% rule. Having 10-20% of your lawn covered by leaves is ok. This level of leaf cover is acceptable and shouldn’t cause your lawn any harm. Any more than that, or if there has been a lot of rain and the leaves are soaked, then your lawn will be more prone to damage, disease, fungus, and pest infestations.
Alternative Leaf Removal Methods
If you’re looking for better (easier) ways to remove leaves from your lawn, then we have the answer for you. Here’s a list of a few good ways to keep that appropriate leaf cover in your lawn from becoming inappropriate.
The best option, by far, is to mulch the leaves on your lawn. This method is as easy as mowing your grass. Wait until the leaves in your lawn are dry and crispy then go over them with your lawnmower, chopping the leaves into tiny bits and distributing them back into your lawn.
Mulched leaves will break down, adding vital nutrients back into your lawn while increasing the fertility of your soil and encouraging beneficial microbes. Some leaves, like sugar maple leaves, when mulched into the turf act as very effective dandelion control as well.
Having a compost pile or bin is a great way to produce free fertilizer for your lawn and garden beds. One great ingredient to add to your compost bin is leaves. The deep roots of trees allow the absorption of beneficial nutrients and minerals which are then stored in the leaves. When leaves break down, they release these beneficial minerals and nutrients back into the soil. Adding leaves to your compost bin allows you to capture these minerals and nutrients so you can reuse them as fertilizer.
To make the leaves easier to manage and help quicken the breakdown process, mulch the leaves with your lawnmower first and then add them to the compost bin. Make sure to turn the leaves over in the bin 4 times throughout the winter and you can add manure, bone meal, or any other nitrogen-rich supplement to help foster the breakdown of your leaves into a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Garden Bed Insulation
If you have garden beds full of perennials then there’s one more way you can put those fall leaves to use. You can use those leaves as insulation. In order to protect your perennials from cold temperatures, harsh winds, and piles of snow, you can use your extra leaves as insulation. Just add a layer of leaves to your garden beds and leave them until the spring. Not only will the leaves protect your plants from the elements, but they’ll also start to break down and add nutrients back into your garden.
Need help with your fall lawn care? Call the professionals!
Here at Land-Art, we know that lawn care isn’t over until the snow starts flying. If you need help with lawn care, weed control, or aeration, then you’ve come to the right place. Give us a call at 1-800-336-5296 or send us a message here.