Lawn Maintenance: Using Leaves to Your Advantage
Many of you who rake do so for your lawn’s health. It is true that fallen leaves can form an impermeable, impenetrable mat that could potentially suffocate your lawn. However, leaves also have the potential to help your lawn by providing a nitrogen boost and even amend your soil structure. When the top layer of soil heaves as it thaws and freezes in late winter and early spring, leaf fragments work their way naturally into the top layer of the soil. To reap these benefits, shred the leaves and apply a thin layer to your lawn. They will work their way down and begin to decompose, releasing said nutrients and bypassing the need to haul bags to the dump.
The Art of Shredding Leaves
Shredding leaves into smaller bits accelerates their decomposition, providing the nutrients locked in the leaves faster. Shredding also makes the leaf mulch lighter and more airy, allowing water and air to circulate through the layer to the soil below, resulting in healthier root systems. Smaller leaves, such as those of a honeylocust, will work fine without shredding, but for those with maple, basswood, oak, or other large-leafed tree types, taking the extra step of shredding the leaves will yield many of the benefits of wood mulch. Does shredding sound like a deal-breaker? Simply pile up your leaves and use your lawnmower! Spread a healthy layer of shredded leaves (leaf mulch) along foundation beds and garden beds. Use them as mulch around your trees.