Proper handling of and disposal of yard waste throughout the year is crucial to protecting community resources and the overall environment. This is especially true in the fall. Following these simple guidelines can help protect our lakes and streams while maintaining a healthy, hardy lawn...
- Proper removal of leaves from the lawn is a crucial step in a successful lawn care program. In established lawns, while you may not need to get every single leaf immediately after it falls, it is important to remove thick layers of leaves before they cause ill effects on the lawn.
- One way an excess of leaves can harm the lawn is by creating shade. This shade reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the turf. This sunlight is crucial to maintaining healthy growth.
- A sign of excessive leaf cover is that eventually the grass will begin to yellow underneath due to lack of sunlight and nutrients. This can have long-lasting negative effects on the overall health of the lawn. Anywhere an excess of leaf cover is present, there will be potential for that area of grass to die off. This leaves bare spots in the lawn that are like open invitations for weeds and other pests to invade the lawn. In most cases, the time and money spent rectifying these effects of poor leaf management greatly outweigh what would have been the initial time & money investment of regular leaf cleanups.
- There are many ways to manage leaves within the lawn.
- Using a rake to create controlled piles of leaves where you want them can be a very effective, yet labor-intensive, practice. These piles of leaves may either be bagged and sent to the landfill or composted on-site for later use in gardens, flower beds, etc..
- Another option is to use a mower bagging system. While this is generally much faster and easier on the back than raking, unless you have the most powerful of mowers, you will likely leave many more leaves on the lawn if you don't loosen them with a rake or leaf blower prior to mowing. This method also requires the leaves to either be bagged and sent to the landfill, or composted for later use.
- One more option, and the one that we suggest in most cases, is to use a quality mulching mower to mulch the leaves back into the lawn. While this method isn't for every property or circumstance, continuing your mowing routine into fall and mulching the leaves regularly when they're dry will keep them from sticking in the turf and piling up, making them much more difficult to remove. Mulching leaves introduces natural organic matter to the soil as the leaves break down, reduces waste in landfills, and saves money and time as opposed to raking/bagging.