It’s easy to be captivated by the reds, oranges and golds of autumn’s palette, but when those leaves begin to fall and gather on our lawns, what was once pause for admiration can now seems like an eyesore. So what’s the solution for dealing with leaves on one’s lawn?
An easy answer is to simply change our perspective of what does and doesn’t look appropriate for a lawn. Though it defies the typical neat-and-tidy look most homeowners desire, it is possible to let the leaves remain undisturbed on the lawn. They will provide insulation for grass in the winter months and add nutrients back into the soil as they decompose. This method, though, will only work if there aren’t too many leaves on the lawn. (For example, a yard with two large sugar maples can yield two-feet-deep leaves in the fall.)
A variation of this approach is to mulch the leaves with a power mower, making several passes until the leaves are finely chopped, then allowing the fine mulch of leaves to remain on the lawn. Repeated mowing is necessary until all leaves have fallen.
Using whole or mulched leaves in a perennial garden bed is another possibility. Blanketing perennials with a layer of leaves can protect them from a harsh winter. Black walnut leaves should not be used for this purpose, though, as they contain juglone, a chemical which can prevent some plants from growing. Not all plants are affected by juglone though, and with a little research, homeowners can determine whether their plants will be safe.
Composting is another earth-friendly way to deal with fallen leaves, and if a homeowner isn’t prepared to compost, neighbor gardeners might be eager to take on the nutrient-rich leaves for their compost beds.
Leaves can also be raked and bagged (in degradable bags) for the local mulching facility. Many local public works departments provide information on their websites about city or county mulching facilities where the leaves can be taken.
It should also be noted that autumn isn’t the only season during which leaves fall–as any homeowner with a large evergreen magnolia will tell you. Seemingly confused, evergreen magnolias drop their leaves in the spring and summer rather than fall. Though it makes for more months of leaf duty, magnolias reward homeowners with huge, profusely fragrant blossoms.
Some homeowners allow the low-growing branches of the magnolia to serve as a screen for the fallen leaves. If allowing leaves to gather under the tree isn’t appealing, bagging and delivering them to a mulching facility is particularly advisable, as the thick, hearty leaves take much longer to decompose than leaves of a deciduous tree and would not work well in a compost bed.
Given this variety of options, homeowners don’t have to feel lost when it’s time to deal with fallen leaves; they only have to decide which method best suits their needs.
Wright Commercial Mowers also makes a mulching kit that attaches to our mowers, which helps turn leaves into compost. For more information about Wright Commercial Mowers, call 855-421-3785 (toll-free).