Does the thought of not raking, blowing, piling, bagging, and disposal of all those Fall leaves make you jump for joy? Good! Ditch the rake and do the right thing – mulch those leaves right back into your lawn, the way nature intended.
What is Leaf Mulching?
Leaf mulching is the practice of chopping leaves into small pieces and allowing those pieces to nestle down into the turf’s canopy. Typically this is done via a lawn mower or larger leaf chipper if the volume requires.
Let’s look at the biology of this – in nature, leaves die and fall to the ground, where they decompose and then serve the neighboring organisms as a nutrient-rich resource. Indeed, those leaves are a perfect natural compost for your grass and surrounding shrubs and trees. Unfortunately, our society tends to favor the perfectly manicured lawns, devoid of unsightly leaves. And so, we frantically rake and remove every “imperfection” and thus deprive our properties of the vital nutrients it requires.
By mulching and returning those nutrients back into the turf canopy we help sustain a healthy environment for our lawns to absorb throughout the winter, preparing the lawn for the arrival of Spring. It’s important remember that proper soil health is a critical component for developing a thick lush lawn, and the best defense against pesky weeds and insects is a thick healthy lawn.
How to Mulch
To be most effective, we recommend staying ahead of the leaf build up by performing multiple and frequent passes. This helps distribute the mulch more evenly than one or two large jobs. In those initial visits we use typically our lawn mowers to mulch the fallen leaves directly back into the grass. Then, in the subsequent and/or final visit of the season, we mulch a smaller portion of the leaves, and collect and remove the remaining with leaf vac (aka leaf sucker). Of course, every property is different and those with a larger tree canopy often require a larger portion to be removed in that last visit. There is such a thing as too much mulch.
Here are a few additional uses for your leaves and mulch:
- Enrich your compost pile. Mulched leaves serve as great brown matter that you can mix with your green matter
- Improve flower bed soil quality. Shred the leaves and mix into your flower bed. Shredding them ensures they do not smother next year’s seedlings.
- Protect plants from cold weather. If you have tender year-round plants that may struggle as the temperature decreases use (unmatched)fallen leaves as a protective layer over dormant plants.
- Wildlife habitats. Pile down branches and layer leaves over the top of them, creating a warm and protected habitats for butterflies and other insects.
Now go enjoy a cider donut!