Tag Archives: fall leaves

bag your leavesEach day, more leaves are falling, and the question you have is whether to bag your leaves.

According to some studies, you really do not have to rake and bake your leaves. Just go over your yard with your lawnmower every once in a while. Why? Leaves have incredible organic matter in them.

You really do not need special equipment to tackle this job either—a regular lawnmower is fine. Just close up the discharge outlet and your leaves will get chopped up even more.

The Benefits

Leaves possess organic material that is great for your soil. Research also does not support folks that claim too much leaf material will harm your lawn. It is not scientifically accurate or supported by research.

Mulching also suppresses weeds, which is great! By the same token, you could remove some of the leaves if your yard is literally caked with them. Use your best judgement. If you cannot see your grass really, you could remover about half of the leaves first before mulching.

Your mulched leaves can also be dumped into a garden area before the first snow starts flying.

The Soil

Remember, the health of your lawn is all about the health of what is underneath it—your soil. Do you really need that perfectly manicured lawn? Does it help the soil? Is it necessary?

Take a pass through with your lawnmower a couple times each week as the leaves fall. Bag maybe some of your leaves, but consider repurposing your mulched leaves for your garden or just leave them be for the winter.

Contact us

Serving Southern Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts, Heidelberg Farms is one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program.

Have questions about organic lawncare or what to do with your leaves? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. We are happy to offer advice free of charge.

fall leaves

Fall leaves are beautiful. Yellow, orange—and my favorite, red. But what’s happening? Here is a very brief and fun lesson on the chemistry behind fall leaves.

Pigments
Pigments are chemicals in leaves that produce colors in leaves. Chlorophyll, for instance, appears green. Chlorophyll is critical in the process of photosynthesis, which is energy from sunlight that helps to make sugars required for plant growth. This energy, of course, must be combined with water and carbon dioxide.

Autumn
Notice how much shorter days are now? The days are getting cooler, too. Well, this combination is less conducive for growth, which impacts the photosynthesis process.

Because of these factors, chlorophyll breaks down at a significantly faster rate, which begins to reveal other pigments like carotenoids (appear orange and yellow).

Anthocyanins
In our neck of the woods in the northeast where there red and sugar maples, we have the opportunity to see even more colors—red—and there are even some that are purple. These pigments are anthocyanins and they represent a response to external stress factors like a first frost. The more of these pigments that are produced, the more stunning “reds” we will see.

Of course, there are other factors that influence colors, such as the acidity and mineral content within the leaf cells. Like everything in nature, there is a balance.

Nature’s web
In nature, there is a vast web of life both above ground and beneath it. Fall leaves and their beautiful colors are just part of a natural cycle that hinges on numerous factors we see (and often do not see).

Have questions about leaves, the trees, this natural web, or organic lawn care? Want to talk with us and learn more? We are happy to talk to you about anything. We care and we want to get to know you.

Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501–9919. Together, we can make a difference today for our future tomorrow.

Fall is right around the corner and with it comes lots of colorful leaves. So what is the best thing you can do with all these leaves? Here are some things to consider this season that will help improve the quality of your lawn.

  • Mulch your fall leaves and leave them on your lawn.
  • Build a leaf pile now for compost next spring. If leaves are mixed in with your discarded produce, it will help to properly balance the carbon and nitrogen for next spring as well as control insects and also cut down on odor.
  • Leaf piles placed away from the house will provide a habitat for wildlife.

fall leavesFallen leaves carry between 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 three-inch layer of  leaves spread over them will add organic matter, protect garden soil from compaction caused by rainfall and restrict weed growth.

If you mow over your fall leaves each week, 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.

The biggest takeaway here is that everything in your yard can serve a productive purpose and fall leaves are no different. With patience and planning, using your leaves for compost or leaving them in your yard after mowing them can provide an important nutrient dense building block for a healthier lawn in the future.

Contact Us

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts. We are among over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals throughout the Northeast and beyond that are accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program.

We take our role as land stewards very seriously and appreciate your consideration. We care not just about your lawn, but you! Call us at (603) 501 9919!

 

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.