#04- Should I leave my leaves on the lawn over winter

Hey, hey, what is up, everyone? Hope you’re all having a great day. This is going to be a short episode about a topic that I’ve seen come up quite a bit over the last few months. I know it was daily on my phone, on my daily news feed, and that is about mulching leaves. 

What I’ve seen, a lot of articles from all over the UK, Europe and here in the States, are saying that we need to, instead of removing the leaves and and all the nutrients that come with it, we need to just kind of let them stay on the grass, and we need to let those nutrients be recycled. And so that was popping up all over. I had even had some clients that were calling me around the same time I saw the articles and say hey, what’s going on with this?

 And so I just wanted to give you my opinion on it. I’ve researched all sides of it and I’ve, you know, from my point of view. And so my thought is this, on one end I love the concept, right. Leaves, they’re going to come from trees so they are a great source of organic matter. There are nutrients in them and so the idea is, yeah, let’s recycle them. Instead of always having to put down new fertilizers, let’s recycle what nature is giving us. And so I love the idea, and I think it’s the right mindset. 

There’s a few things that are a little tricky on it. And so, many of you have seen–and maybe you’ve done this before–you just didn’t have a chance to get to your leaves raked up. The snow came. You said I’ll deal with it in the spring, But often what can happen in the spring is under the snow or the freeze or the ice that usually covers the ground–you know, here in Utah, it’s going to be feet of snow, back East it might be a sheet of ice or maybe just a hard frozen ground–those leaves can often sit there, and just basically suffocate the lawn, the grass areas throughout the winter. And then what can happen a lot of times is, because of it just sitting there, in the spring, you could see different fungal issues. One in particular I’m thinking of is gray snow mold. Also pink snow mold. That’s kind of a negative side about it. 

I love the idea. And I think, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. I also know just from seeing it years on end that, you know, if you just leave those leaves, your lawn is going to be mostly dead or destroyed, and you’re going to need a major reseeding in the spring. My suggestion to my clients and to anyone who may be looking and trying understand what to do, is a little bit of both. So I love the idea. 

I would say if you have a great mower that’s got a great mulcher on it, and you can really mulch those leaves up very fine and small and shoot some of those back on the yard, I think that way be able to get a benefit from the leaves without suffocating. The big thing you want to avoid is big piles or just thickness. No sunlight getting to the root system. You know, just constantly blocked from nutrients, from water, and create a great atmosphere for fungus. So I would say, if you have a great mower and it mulches really well, maybe you’d change or freshen or clean your mulch blades and then, you know, run it through and you can run it. But I would probably have you run over it a few times in different directions, really blade it up and then leave it. Of course, you just want to avoid the leaves building up and preventing sunlight, oxygen, and different nutrients from getting down into the soil. 

But I think there is some benefit here, and I think you can do it to a small degree, and I definitely like it, and I’d recommend it. And it’s the same thing with lawn clippings during the year. You know, if you cut your grass at four inches and you’ve got two inches of clippings, it’s going to suffocate and kill off the grass if you leave it there. But a little bit can go a long way, and it doesn’t take that much. The risk, is especially like with the grass clippings, you know, if you have, if you have a fungus or an issue in the soil and you’re shooting that back in you could spread it. Same concept here with the leaves. But overall, if you’ve got a healthy lawn and you want to get a little extra kick out of your leaves, go ahead. Mulch them up multiple directions. Get them real fine, real small. Don’t let it suffocate or cover too much of the ground, and you’ve got a great way to get a little bit of organic matter back into the soil. 

That’s my thoughts on that, and I hope you have a great day.

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