It doesn’t make sense to rake leaves and bag them, just to have them end up decomposing in a landfill. Leaf mulching recycles a natural resource and enriches the soil of your lawn for free.
In fact, turf benefits by receiving more nutrients when you mulch fall leaves back into the lawn instead of raking them saves time and money, adds nutrients to the soil, speeds spring greening and reduces weeds.
Here’s how to recycle this fall’s crop of fallen leaves:
- Remove the grass catcher from your lawn mower. Mow over the leaves on your lawn. Repeat until they are reduced to dime-sized pieces.
- Mow until you see about half an inch of grass through the mulched leaf layer.
Any kind of rotary-action mower will do the job, and all kinds of leaves can be mulched. Throughout the season, you can chop up to 18 inches total of leaf clutter with several passes of the mower. Having a somewhat thick layer of mulched leaves is okay as long as you can still see the green grass blades poking through. As leaf bits settle into the ground, microbes and worms get to work recycling them.
Once you’ve enriched your soil with leaf mulching, don’t forget that fall is the best time to feed and seed your lawn. A few simple steps can help ensure that your lawn will be strong next season and beyond:
- After mulching, feed your lawn with fall lawn fertilizer to help build strong, deep roots for a better foundation and a more robust lawn next year. The nitrogen in the fertilizer will also help the mulched leaves decompose faster. Be sure to sweep excess fertilizer off hard surfaces like driveways and sidewalks.
- After feeding, spread seed where needed. To reseed your bare spots, dig up bare areas, mix in compost, sow your seeds and cover with more compost. If the weather is dry, keep the seeded soil moist until new grass begins to grow. Seeding autumn bare spots will thicken the lawn and make it more resistant to future bare spots.