gardenchatter

Garden adventures and advice…

To Rake or Not to Rake…

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Like it or not, it’s that time of year again. Falling leaves – or those pesky leaves that seem to blow onto your lawn from every other tree in the neighbourhood. But what happens if you just leave them alone?

 
 
You can – for a while, but a heavy layer of maple, oak or other large leaves won’t keep your lawn healthy over the winter and will end up creating more work, and expense, when spring arrives.
 
 
Here’s the risk – a heavy layer of leaves, particularly left under an even heavier layer of snow will start to smother the lawn. It can’t breathe and therefore creates the perfect environment for diseases like snow mold and brown spot to develop – not to mention the pests that might decide to move in as well. The weight might also prevent new grass from sprouting in the spring.  That leaf-layer presents a barrier to water, nutrients and air that the root system needs to survive. 
 
 
But that doesn’t mean every single leaf needs to be removed – here’s a few ideas to reduce the risk and make good use of the nutrients that leaves can offer, when used correctly.
 
 
Run the lawn mower over them. Your lawn will love  you for it. Those finely shredded leaves will fall between the blades, adding both a fertilizer and mulch to the yard – which in turn helps reduce the number of weeds in the spring and provide healthy lawn growth.
 
 
Shred some for the garden beds. They’ll break down over the winter and will reduce the amount of time and money spent in adding nutrients before planting season starts again. 
 
And don’t forget your compost pile, it would welcome a good helping of shredded leaves. 
 
 
And if shredding isn’t your thing, then get out the rake, enjoy the warm autumn sun and bag them up in paper leaf bags (vs. plastic) so they can be taken to (or picked up – depending where you live) the local composting station…and who knows, when you go pick up compost in the spring…you might just be getting your own nicely-composted yard waste back! 
Oh….and a good jump or two in the leaf pile won’t hurt a thing!
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Author: gardenchatter

I'm a Horticulturalist, Master Gardener and member of the Garden Writers Association who enjoys playing in the dirt and experimenting with different veggies, plants and flowers in my Zone 5 garden. Check out my website http://www.wowmygarden.ca With a recent addition of a greenhouse, my newest passion is growing-your-own. And what fun that is. Yes, there's the odd failure, but there's nothing quite as satisfying as walking through the veggie patch collecting dinner.

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