To Rake Or Not To Rake: That Is The Question
As autumn approaches our yards will become thick with colorful leaves as they fall off the trees. Leaves can become wet and annoying when they hinder your green grass in the spring. Some people find an immediate need for getting rid of the leaves. They rake them, bag them, and throw them away. Is there an alternative to doing this? Putting a natural product into a plastic bag and then dumping it into a landfill doesn't seem very environmentally friendly. Here are some options you have on what to do with all of that fall foliage.
The Conventional Standard In The Suburban World
In this method you spend hours raking the leaves, bagging them up in plastic bags, then hauling them to the curb so they can be placed in a landfill. In this scenario, we look at the leaves as rubbish. In some ways, this method is worse than the even older way of burning leaves in the fall. The millions of plastic bags used are non-biodegradable. Out of site, out of mind, I suppose, but is this really the best way of disposing of leaves? The only benefit of doing all of this work is the exercise and having a completely unnatural looking lawn.
Just Leave Them Where They Lie
OK, this may not be the preferable way of lawn care if you live in a neighborhood, but this is Mother Nature's approved method. Each year, in the forests (you know, that place where all of the trees are), leaves fall to the ground and no one touches them! The leaves decompose and become nutrients for the grass, trees, and other plants. While this is the laziest way of going about lawn care, the benefits are that sooner or later, the leaves will become nutrients and your lawn is nice and colorful for a few weeks. They also form a natural blanket on your yard to keep moisture sealed in and stop it from becoming overtly dry. You also have more time to watch football and stay warm.
If you absolutely must do something to look like you are a part of civilized humanity, there is another method. You can take your lawn mower, if it has a mulching feature, to roll over the leaves in your yard and shred them. The smaller pieces will mix in with the grass and then go back to decomposing and fertilizing your lawn. Basically, you're putting your leaves through a food processor to feed your lawn. It doesn't look as nice as a well-groomed, environment killing lawn, but it does the job of keeping you in-the-friendship-circle with your neighbors.
Add Them To Your Compost Pile
If you must rake, then you can choose this method. Instead of buying plastic trash bags, put your leaves in a compost pile. The leaves will decompose into a dark, rich brown plant matter to add to your gardens or bare spots on your lawn. This is a great way to get your mulch pile going and you'll have plenty for gardening in the Spring!
Some Fundamentals On Knowing Your Trees
Oak leaves and pine needles contain a lot of acid compared to maple, ash, and other types of leaves. This means they can throw off the pH of your lawn and also, they will take longer to decompose. You might want to consider this when choosing what to do with the fallen tree material. You should also consider your neighborhood. In some places, leaving the leaves on the ground is perfectly all right. This seems to be the case especially in the New England states. In other places, however, you might as well burn a car in your front yard if you aren't going to rake what is there. Just take into understanding that you live in society and you need to make peace with your neighbors.