Fall means that the leaves in our yards have fallen. This always happen in the middle of hunting and fishing season. While we want to be afield pursuing meat for the freezer, our fields, and lawns demand attention. What we do to our lawns now will save us time later.
Here are some leaf tips.
Reuse the money that you grew! Many of our neighbors rake their leaves into neat piles and stuff them into large trash bags. Others rake leaves onto large tarps and drag them out into a field or forest. Some pay landscape companies to suck up and remove the leaves. All this costs the landowner money.
If you leave leaves alone, a couple problems arise. One problem is that leaves camouflage any pet poop. You will be constantly stepping on these hidden land mines. The second problem is that matts of leaves will kill your beds and lawn. Too much nutrient is just as bad as too little.
Screw the rake! Use a blower to spread the leaves around the yard. Blow out any beds and islands. Battery powered blowers are more portable but suck the batteries dry in a hurry. A corded blower will have more power and last if you need, but you will also need a long extension cord. Once the leaves are in the yard, its time to mulch. If you have a small yard, a push mower will do. A larger yard means a riding mower is best.
Pick a dry, non-windy day. Set the mower blade on the highest setting. A mulching mower blade is best. After the leaves are staged for mowing, mulch away! Know your mower blow direction, or where the discharge opening is, and travel so that the mulched leaves will spread across the yard, and not pile up along the fence or back into your gardens.
If you collect bags of mulched leaves, you can take the grass bag off and easily pour the chopped-up leaves into your garden. Dig ditches in your garden where you have room for the mulch. Cover them up with dirt. In the Spring, the leaves will have rotted and fertilized your garden. If you throw them away, you are trashing a crop of nutrients. Now you need to buy more fertilizer to replace what you trashed.
A recent study showed that 3 years of consecutive mulching, in the Fall, reduces dandelions and crabgrass nearly 100%. That’s with no chemicals!
Mulched leaves in the yard will replace your nutrients naturally. I even mulch my dead squash and tomato vines/leaves. Mulched leaves allow microbes and insects, and worms to break down the detritus and release the nutrients back into your soil. Rhubarb is especially nutritious for your garden. Laying the large leaves over the garden will also spread nutrient and keep your soil from blowing away.
Mulched grass and leaves are FREE fertilizer! These organic nutrients build soil. Removing them from the garden or yard is like farmers not re-nourishing their own soil. Eventually the soil will die and become sterile. Our landfills are full enough with trash. Reuse and recycle what you spend so much money and time growing.
Invest in a decent mulching mower and mulch the grass every time that you mow. This means less fertilizer, seed, and herbicide. Use the savings to buy a new shotgun or fishing rod.
Using power tools is a time saver. Time saved means more time doing other things, like hunting or casting a line. Using my new zero turn mower, I mulch a 50-inch-wide path across my property. The mulching blades turn everything into mulch. My mowing beast has cut my lawn time down to a third of the time that it used to take. Just saying!
Mow and mulch smarter! Hunt and fish harder!