Tag Archives: fall leaves


As you probably know by now, Heidelberg Farms loves the fall and leaf color changes, which is why we wanted to talk about why you sometimes see what is often referred to as “green islands.”

The term refers to leaves that have not changed all the way, as they feature completely green spots. Why is that? Well, it has something to do with moth larvae on leaves. More specifically, it has to do with bacteria living on their bodies. According to researchers, bacteria interacts with leaf tissues and affect the production of cytokinins, which ultimately produces green islands.

How it works
When trees are preparing to go dormant for the winter, the leaves begin to shut down production of cytokinin, which eventually leads to color changes. However, bacteria help to increase the production of cytokinin. What this means is that the tissues around the larvae possess more photosynthetic life.

Photosynthetic life equals more food for the larvae, and so what we have is a symbiotic relationship between the larvae and bacteria. They both benefit—and the result are those green islands you sometimes see on leaves deep into autumn.

The takeaway from green islands

In looking at the relationship between bacteria and larvae, it is important to consider the larger implications regarding plant, grass and tree biology in general. Nothing we do to care for our lawns and gardens is done within a vacuum. Everything affects everything else, and so when we use chemicals to treat the earth, we are destroying a balance between plants, grasses, trees and our environment.

The larvae needs the bacteria, which needs the moth just like we need healthy soil to produce healthy food for our families. Next time you see a green island, remember what it means. It means nature is working as intended.

Have questions about anything or need help cleaning up this fall, call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. 

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Fall Leaves

It is officially fall and leaves are starting to make their way to the ground. Here are three things to consider this season and you look to clean up and prepare for the winter.

  1. Mulch your fall leaves and leave them on your lawn.
  2. Build a leaf pile now for compost next spring. If leaves are mixed in with your discarded produce, it will help to balance the carbon and nitrogen for next spring as well as control insects and cut down on odor.
  3. Leaf piles placed toward a wood line or property line (away from the house) will provide a habitat for wildlife.

FALL LEAVESOkay, so you may be wondering about the first bit of advice. Well, honestly, there really is no scientific reason to rake all your leaves off your lawn. If you mow over them with a mower each week while your leaves are falling, they’ll break down over the winter and provide your soil with critical nutrients. The leaves will also shade the soil, which will result in fewer lawn weeds next year. Just be sure to set your wheels at the highest setting.

According to some experts, fallen leaves carry 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air, including carbon, potassium, and phosphorus. For garden plots, this means that a two- to three-inch layer of fall leaves spread over them will not only hold down weed growth and add organic matter, but protect garden soil from compaction caused by rainfall.

The takeaway here is that everything in your yard can serve a purpose—and fall leaves are no different. With a little bit of planning (and patience), using your leaves for compost or just leaving them in your yard after going over them with a mower can provide an important building block for a healthier lawn in the future.

Have questions about fall leaves? Call us at (603) 501-9919.