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.
- 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 balance the carbon and nitrogen for next spring as well as control insects and cut down on odor.
- Leaf piles placed toward a wood line or property line (away from the house) will provide a habitat for wildlife.
Okay, 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.