With fall in full effect, it can be easy to let your weekly leaf maintenance get out of hand. Things may come up, the weather may not permit, or maybe you just don’t feel like it. Don’t get caught in that trap! Fall lawn care is essential to the health of your lawn and will help you get a head start when spring finally rolls around. Cleaning up that fall leaf debris is more important than you think.
That carpet of leaves covering your lawn acts as a trap for all the moisture that gets built up throughout the wet fall months. The leaves block sunlight and airflow from reaching your lawn underneath. What does this mean? All of that excess water sits and festers under those leaves. Before you know it, you have a fungus or mold problem. Snow mold and brown patch are big problems for property owners who forget or neglect to rake the extra leaves on their lawn before the snow starts to fly.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, your lawn needs to breathe. Letting the leaves build up on your lawn will block that essential airflow from getting down to your grass. During the fall when the temperatures aren’t too cold or too hot, your lawn is working overtime to prepare for winter. It needs plenty of sunlight and airflow to strengthen its root system and get ready for the big freeze. Having a thick coat of leaves will hinder your lawn’s last efforts to prepare for the winter.
As the weather cools, there will be plenty of pests looking for a warm place to call home. Piles of leaves are perfect places for creepy crawlies. Stink bugs, box elder beetles, ticks, spiders, slugs, and many other bugs love to warm themselves in your leftover piles of leaves. These small pests can also attract larger pests and rodents that come for a quick and easy meal.
A common defense for leaving those leaves out on the lawn is, “that’s free mulch!” While this isn’t wrong, it also isn’t entirely correct either. Leaves are definitely nutrient packed and have even been shown to be great for your lawn in the fall. BUT! That doesn’t mean that you should just leave them as is.
When the leaves are dry and crispy, you can go over them with the mower and shred them into a fine leaf mulch. These can be left on your lawn as an excellent fertilizer. Another way you can reuse these leaves is to compost them. Put them into a compost container and make sure to turn them every couple weeks to get a great fertilizer for the spring!
Letting a generous layer of leaves build up on your lawn is very unhealthy for your lawn. If left unchecked, you could be paying the price for that unchecked leaf debris well into the spring.