What To Do With Fall Leaves

Fall leaves on a lawn

It’s that beautiful time of year, the peak for fall leaves in the Piedmont and for most homeowners – a sure sign that those leaves will be dropping in larger volume very soon.

As Tommy mentioned during the Love Your Lawn Radio Hour this week, scientific research shows that mowing leaves into your lawn can improve its vitality. After mowing the leaf bits settle, and that’s when the microbes and worms get to work recycling them. The resulting organic matter and nutrients have been proven to improve turf quality.

If you have a lot of leaves, use the excess as mulch in your natural areas around trees, shrubs, and in landscape beds. Or, perhaps in your gardening area to suppress weeds and fertilize the soil as they break down. If you still have leaves left over, consider composting.

On the flip side, most of the lawns in this area are composed of one or more Cool-Season grasses. These grasses are most active in the moderately cool periods of the year – such as Fall. Grasses like Tall-Fescue revitalize themselves during this season; taking advantage of the ample sunlight, water, nutrients, and comfortable temperatures to strengthen their root systems.

One thing that can hamper the growth of Cool-Season grasses during the fall peak, is a layer of leaves left covering the lawn. Leaves can act as a blanket – smothering the lawn and blocking out vital sunlight thus killing the grass beneath.

According to a Michigan State study, mow at least once a week during peak leaf fall when your lawn is 4 inches tall. Set your mower to cut at a height of 3 inches and mow. The leaves will shred efficiently and you will improve the quality of your soil at the same time.

One more point, collecting leaves costs you! That’s right. Your local taxes pay for trucks to sweep or pick up your leaf bags which often end up in landfills. Mulching leaves with your mower returns that energy back to the earth – a natural resource that will provide you with richer healthier soil.

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