Autumn brings to mind crisp clear evenings, warm apple cider, beautifully colored trees … and raking all those leaves, the quintessential fall to-do. We’ve got some creative solutions for your leaf management that will help green up your landscape for the spring.
“Leaf” Them Alone?
Closing your eyes and wishing the wind will blow them away will not work. If left on your grass, leaves will literally smother your turf. Diseases will take root. Realize that dead leaves are actually manna from heaven for your lawn. Eighty to ninety percent of a plant’s nutrients are stored in the leaves. When they decay, the nutrients return to the soil. Ah, that got you thinking!
Every year, more and more, yard waste ends up in American landfills, and that includes leaf matter. The fortunate fact is, this can be alleviated with leaf management. Its goal is to repurpose leaves in a way that benefit your lawn, flower beds or vegetable garden. Learn The Secret to Easily Attaining a Healthy, Leafless Lawn in our recent article.
Ways to Manage Leaves
- Blow them – If you are totally allergic to raking leaves, then try blowing them into your flower beds and around trees. You can also blow them onto a tarp to make them easier to bag or even better – add to your compost pile.
- Vacuum them – Consider renting a vacuum machine with a shredding feature. You can use a bag attachment and easily distribute the shredded leaves around your yard. Vacuum machines are fairly quiet, too.
- Mow them – Instead of bagging leaves and putting them to the curb, mow over them with a mulching mower. The mulched leaves can be left on your lawn to absorb back into the soil. You should see roughly 50% of the grass through the mulched pieces of leaves.
- Mulch them – Add a bag attachment to your mulching mower and presto, you have mulch that you can spread throughout your landscape. Apply a 3-6” layer around trees and shrubs and a 2-3” layer in annual and perennial beds.
- Compost them – You can also add your leaves to your compost bin. Mulched leaves will decompose faster than whole leaves.
- Till them – Blow all your leaves into your vegetable garden area and then till the leaves into your soil. For heavy clay soils, till a 6-8” layer of leaves into the dirt to improve aeration and drainage.
- Eat them – Not you, but a rent-a-goat. Yes, there is such a thing. A goat herder will bring their herd to your yard and turn those little eating machines loose. Soon, no leaves. You won’t wake the neighbors up with these guys. Win-win.
Time That Saves Money
Why go and buy bags of compost when you have plenty falling from your trees every fall day? It only takes a little creative leaf management to recycle them into usable nutrients for your lawn and gardens. Think of how green and healthy your lawn and plants will be thanks to all your fall leaves. Now go ask your neighbor for his bagged leaves. We have mulch to make!
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your fall clean-up and winter preparation projects. From blowers and leaf vacuums to mulching mowers and tillers, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.
While it may still feel like summer, fall is quickly approaching. Organizing your autumn garden to-do list now will help you plan for all the things you want to accomplish before Old Man Winter shows his frosty face. Focus on clean-up and cover-up when coming up with your projects.
Here are some suggestions for things to do:
- Remove spent blooms and foliage – This will help prevent diseases and pests from overwintering in your garden. If you detect that a problem has already developed be sure to remove the affected debris from the area.
- Dig up bulbs and tender plants – If they cannot survive the cold temperatures, dig them up and move them indoors. Let your bulbs dry out on newspaper for a couple of days before putting them in paper bags to store in a cool, dry area.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch – Your summer mulch has started to decompose. Add a fresh layer of mulch to your beds now to keep weeds at bay. Replenish with another layer before harsh weather sets in to give you a thick protective covering for plants and soil.
- Rake up fallen leaves – Mulch the leaves with your lawn mower and spread them onto your beds or add the leaves to your compost pile.
- Continue watering trees and shrubs – Keep giving them deep soakings until right before the first frost. They need to build up moisture for the long winter months.
- Cut back perennials – Remove the dead portion of the plants to eliminate pests and mulch. Divide plants that have outgrown their spot in the garden.
- Till up beds – If your plants are all done for the season, remove the plant debris and till up your beds. When your vegetable garden has finished producing, till the plants into the soil.
- Add compost to beds – While tilling up your flower beds and garden, work some compost into the soil to help next spring.
- Maintain compost pile – Make sure your bins are ready to withstand the winter weather and that your pile has been amended so it will continue to decompose. Cover the compost pile to keep it from getting too much rain and developing mold.
- Cover future flower beds – If you have an area you want to plant in the spring, till it up now, add organic materials and cover it with either a thick layer of mulch or plastic to discourage emergent growth.
- Hold off on trimming trees – Wait until your trees are dormant before you cut them back to avoid having any new growth appear before the first frost.
Clean Garden Tools
While you are in the cleaning mood, don’t forget to clean your gardening tools before you store them for the winter. After washing them with soap and water, you may want to wipe them lightly with vegetable oil or WD40 to help keep them from corroding. Nothing beats a shiny new spade to work with in the spring!
Be Ready for Old Man Winter
You’ll always be able to find a DIY project to do, which is why organizing your fall garden projects makes sense. It will help cut down on the workload in the spring. Be ready for Old Man Winter this year. Your garden will thank you for it.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your fall clean-up and maintenance projects. From rakes and shovels to wheel barrows and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. Check out our blog, Fall Checklist Part1- Garden Clean-up and Winterization for more helpful tips on getting ready for that lovely season we call winter.
Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care
Tags: autumn checklist, autumn garden, autumn to-dos, DIY gardening, fall checklist, fall clean-up, fall gardening to-dos, flower bed, garden clean-up, gardening to-do list, Winterization