Leaf My Yard Alone!
There’s no denying it; we’re definitely into Fall now. The weather has changed, there’s that bite in the air, and you’ve traded out your flip flops and shorts for closed-toe shoes and hoodies. One of the hallmarks of the season--and the namesake for the season itself--is the annual dropping of leaves from the trees onto the landscape.
And the truth is, you probably shouldn’t leave those leaves where they lie. (That was a fun sentence!) But why?
Well, according to Popular Mechanics:
Don't wait until all the leaves have fallen from the trees to start raking. If you do, the leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases.
Fungal diseases, impenetrable mats and suffocation don’t seem like a good time, for you, nor for your lawn--especially if you spent all spring and summer making it look pristine!
Leaves on the lawn might be the greatest cause for concern because heavy leaf cover can kill the grass underneath. Heavy leaf cover kills grass by blocking light in the same way that putting a tarp or sheet of plastic over a section of lawn kills the grass beneath. Heavy leaf cover may also hold excessive moisture and humidity, creating a more favorable environment for turf disease development in winter and early spring.
Keep the water where it belongs--on the grass, not on the leaves, creating disease and mold and general sludginess. Don’t let your tree’s biological contributions to the ground spoil a good thing.
So you’ve decided the leaves aren’t good to keep around. Great!
Let’s take a look at three options you have to relocate or repurpose them:
Option 1: Rake
Getting out the rake and manually shoving leaves together into piles before relocating them to the compost bin or yard debris can is the most common fall yard maintenance activity. It has no carbon footprint, requires no electric or gas power, and some say is just as fast as some of the other methods, believe it or not.
In addition, it’s apparently a great way to exercise.
The AARP says:
Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to a brisk walk, according to Barbara Ainsworth, an exercise epidemiologist at San Diego State University. It helps build upper-body strength, as well as core strength, or strength in your back and stomach.
As you’re raking, your core (or trunk) is working to stabilize your body while your arms are moving, says Ainsworth. A 135-pound person could burn about 240 calories raking leaves for an hour.
Bonus: You can jump in the pile when you’re done, and then rake it up again, as many times as you want.
Option 2: Leaf blower
Assuming you, your family (and perhaps most importantly, your HOA, city or county) is OK with the generally loud racket created by a leaf blower, this is a quick way to effectively relocate the dead, colored foliage. Ego, a company that makes leaf blowers, says that not only is it less physical labor to blow leaves, but in the fall, it’s essential to prevent damage to the lawn, as the air presents no threat to the plants. (link: https://egopowerplus.com/blogs/ego-blog/15300013-is-raking-good-for-my-lawn)
Option 3: Mulching lawnmower
Rodale’s Organic Life says mowing over the leaves with a mulching lawnmower is the best way to keep the leaves from building up, but more importantly, returns some of the essential nutrients and nitrogen needed for a healthy lawn. The leaf fragments, properly dispersed and disintegrated, will serve as an all-natural fertilizer.
Leaves contain some of the nutrients that trees and shrubs have taken out of the soil, and it’s in keeping with nature’s plan that you should give back some of those purloined nutrients by mowing over part of your annual leaf-fall, thus returning organic matter to the soil from whence it came. This works best in early fall when the first leaves are coming down and grass still benefits from mowing.
Of course, the good folks at North Texas Lawns have as one of their services seasonal cleanup, which not only involves leaf removal, but also takes care of the lawn the leaves were sitting on. Contact someone today about seasonal cleanup, and keep relaxing summer-style while NTL gets your green grass ready for fall and winter.
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