When homeowners see piles of leaves accumulate on their lawn, the natural instinct is to grab a rake and bag them up before they weigh down grass, block out nutrients and potentially lead to the spread of fungus and disease. While that is one way to deal with the leaves and their potential effects, there’s also another alternative to consider, one that uses a different method to maintain the health of your lawn (with added benefits): mulching leaves into lawns.
How to Make Mulch with Leaves
Before leaves can be converted into mulch, they need to first be chopped or shredded. This allows them to decompose faster into the soil, while preventing mats of leaves from smothering plant roots. The best way to accomplish this is using something you already have: your lawnmower. Most lawnmowers sold today have specialized blades installed, along with a mower deck that optimizes airflow, keeping the leaves suspended and chopping them into tiny pieces. The end result should be leaf bits that are about the size of a dime, distributed evenly across the lawn for total coverage.
(Tip: In some cases, piles of leaves may be so thick that they are difficult to mow over. If that’s the case, you may want to lightly rake over them first to spread them out.)
What Happens When Mulched Leaves Are Added to Lawns?
You’ll Improve the Health of Your Soil
As leaf bits settle into the soil and decompose, they provide a food source to earthworms and other microorganisms that inhabit the soil. The availability of these nutrients increases the level of microbial activity in the soil and in turn, improves the health of the soil as a whole. Lawns have more access to the nutrients they need to thrive, while a balanced environment wards off weeds and other lawn issues. This saves costs tied to weed control products, as well as lawn fertilizers.
You’ll Have a Positive Impact on the Environment
In addition to the direct benefits mulched leaves have on lawn health, this practice also comes with innate benefits for the environment. Consider landfill space, for instance. The EPA reported that in 2015, yard trimmings (including leaves) accounted for nearly 35 million tons of waste — with almost 11% of that waste going into landfills. Mulching leaves into lawns helps to cut back on this waste, freeing up existing landfills and negating the need to build more of them.
You’ll Save Time & Efforts
Compared to the traditional route of raking and bagging leaves, mulching leaves into your lawn is a less labor-intensive process. While raking an entire yard can be time-consuming and hard on some homeowner’s backs, filling and hauling bags to the curb can be even more strenuous. And if you’re in a town where there is no leaf collection system, you’ll face the added burden of having to transport bags of leaves to landfills or another destination.
Mulch Leaves Into Your Lawn This Fall
Instead of throwing away raked leaves this season, we encourage you to make use of them in your Michigan lawn. Shredding or chopping leaves and integrating them back into soil is one of the most cost-effective ways to nourish your lawn (while supporting the environment). Think of it as a free fertilizer — one that every Michigan homeowner should take advantage of this season.
Looking for additional help caring for your lawn? Lush Lawn & Safari Tree offers a range of lawn care services to maintain the look and feel of your lawn year-round. Get your free, instant quote today.