Fall Leaf Management
Leaf management… don’t you mean leaf removal? No, the best practice for a healthy lawn and the most effective way to deal with the leaves in the fall are to manage them, not just remove them. There are several benefits to mulching them into the lawn during the fall. To fully understand this, I want to add a quick science lesson about compost.
Compost is added to lawns to enhance the health and is a costly project, upwards of a few hundred dollars. What is compost? Compost is the results of nitrogen and carbon materials interacting with microscopic organisms breaking down to produce “compost” which is a nutrient rich compound that helps lawns.
Simply put the equation below
Compost = Nitrogen (grass clippings) + Carbon (leaves)
Most people see leaves and think that they should remove the leaves from their yard to keep it nice, when in fact it would be better for the lawn to have the leaves mulched and left on the turf. “There will be an obvious leaf residue on the surface of the lawn that only lasts for a few days. The tiny pieces will eventually sift down through the turf and provide future weed control and essential nutrients that can save you money and time. Come spring, you won’t even notice the tiny leaf particles” (Finneran, 2013). Here is the kicker, all of our mowers are already equipped with mulching kits to help with cutting grass too.
How many leaves can be mulched?
According to some experts up to 6 inches (Finneran, 2013). If your leaves were to be mulched on the same schedule or even less as regular mowing there would be no negative issues. The following images show the results our mowers on heavily leaf covered lawns. If you have a smaller mower there may be less you can mulch at a time or simply go over the lawn several times to cut the leaves down to size. Some experts suggest when mulching is completed “the leaf shreds should have fallen between the blades of grass to reveal much of the lawn. A passerby might easily be fooled into thinking that you had raked!” (Noonan, 2014)
Talk to me about benefits for the green…
It's cheaper… saving you money in the cost of leaf removal. Research showed after “several years passed and turf scientists starting noticing several benefits including needing less fertilizer to achieve that spring green up” (Finneran, 2013).
Less weeds in your lawn. Really! By using a correct leaf management system decomposing leaves will fill in bare spots that allow weeds to germinate. Studies show that after 3 years of this practice 100% decrease of dandelions and crabgrass can be attained (Finneran, 2013).
Suburban areas aren’t known for the great soil it has. After houses are built much of the good topsoil is removed and sod is put in to quickly change the appearance of the home. There is no long term plan to reduce the compaction of the soil after building, mulching leaves and not bagging grass clipping helps to reduce the compaction of the soil by adding compost over time (Noonan, 2014).
What can we do for you?
We provide a full lawn service plan, this would include mowing, mulching leaves, leaf clean up when necessary and weed prevention. Call us today for a free consultation and estimate.
Finneran, R. (2013, January 24). Smart gardeners mulch fallen leaves into lawn to save money. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_gardeners_mulch_fallen_leaves_into_lawn_to_save _money
Noonan, J. (2014, October 09). Mulching Leaves - Is It a Mistake to Rake? Retrieved November 16, 2017, from https://www.bobvila.com/articles/mulching-leaves/#.Wg2kNEqnHcc