What To Do with All Those Leaves
Maryland is famous for its fall foliage. Visitors flock from all around to witness the vibrant array of autumn hues that come alive in our forests and hillsides. Although colors peaked a little later than normal this year, the display was well worth the wait. But now the season is leaving its mark on our yards. The leaves that looked so beautiful in the trees look like a November nuisance laying on our lawn.
Our children may think of fall as the season for sipping cider or carving jack-o’-lanterns, but for homeowners, it’s about raking leaves. And rake we will. By the time we finish clearing the lawn it’s time to start all over again. As tempting as it is to simply blow them into the street or onto your neighbor’s property, don’t be that guy. Maintaining proper lawn etiquette is essential, and that includes knowing what to do with all that fallen foliage.
(Don’t) Leave Them
There are varying opinions on leaving leaves on a lawn over winter. Some lawn care professionals claim it won’t harm the grass and could even act as mulching. We’re inclined to agree, assuming it’s nothing more than a thin layer. But leaving thick spreads and piles in place very well could kill your lawn. Not only will the grass be smothered, the leaves present a breeding ground for snow mold, a fungal growth that kills grass and also triggers asthma and allergy problems. Additionally, heavy leaf cover gives shelter to mice and moles, which often cause turf damage.
There’s no place better for fallen leaves than your compost pile. Once broken down, they’ll provide essential nutrients to keep your soil strong and your garden growing. Just add them to the grass clippings, garden waste, and other organic debris you’ve collected and let the fertilizing magic begin.
It seems weird to think that we should rake leaves only to spread them back out, but when placed over soil, it does a lot of good. Be sure to shred them first, so the dirt can still get air and water, but don’t hesitate to scatter them around gardens and landscape beds. It’s an effective – and free – weed killer that, once decomposed, enriches and improves soil structure. Even better, it doesn’t pose the discoloration risk of wood mulch, so feel free to place it near the porch or patio installed by Excel Fencing & Decking, Maryland’s leading deck construction company.
While we’re not suggesting keeping all of them, leaves do hold some long-term value away from the soil. Some people have leaf collections and use collages to teach kids and grand kids about trees and help them develop a greater appreciation for nature. Leaves also can be used in art projects like fall foliage wreaths and leaf decoupage. Who knows, this fall’s rakings could become an important part of next year’s autumn decorations.
While you’re out there raking…and raking…and raking, make a mental list of some of the fun features that we could bring to your yard. Maybe adding a split-rail fence would form a perfect perimeter, or perhaps you dream of a summer full of backyard barbecues on a new hardwood deck. From pergola construction to sidewalk installation, call on Excel Fencing & Decking to solve all your construction needs.