Smart Gardening: Leaf Mulching


Hi, I am Rebecca Finneran with Michigan
State University Extension. After a long hot summer, gardeners are
probably thinking to themselves, “Why would I put a lot of time into investing
into my lawn for the fall?” But smart gardeners know the
best-dressed lawns begin in Fall. If fertilization is on your dance card
then you’re on the right track, but don’t forget about a resource that might be staring
you right in the face: your tree leaves. On those slightly dewey mornings
during October, elevate your mower deck to the highest
setting, and set out on your merry way crossing over the leaves once or twice. Usually this
can occur once a week, but if there’s a heavy wind you may find
yourself mowing twice in one week. After one to two passes with the mulching
lawn mower or even a regular lawnmower tiny little pieces a leaves will still
be left on the surface of the ground. These over time will sift down around the
turf particles, and provide essential nutrients for your
plants to grow later on next summer. So here’s another smart tip: if you have
a bagging mower you could also alternate between
mulching the leaves into the turf one week, and then collecting those brown
leaves to use as mulch in the landscape beds and vegetable gardens for the next week.
After several years of research, Michigan State University turf grass scientists
started seeing not only the benefit back to the lawn but– what? –no weeds! The tiny pieces will eventually sift down through the turf and provide future weed control, and essential
nutrients that can save you money and time. Come spring you won’t even notice the
tiny leaf particles! So if you want a recipe for a luscious
lawn throw the rake away! Smart gardeners know that it starts with mulching leaves into the
turf. For more information on a wide variety of Smart Gardening articles or to find out about Smart Gardening classes and events visit www.migarden.msu.edu. That’s www.migarden.msu.edu.

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