Everywhere, it’s raining leaves. So are we going to rake all those fallen leaves to the curb to clog our storm drains and choke our landfills? No, no, no! Intelligent and responsible homeowners save their leaves to improve the garden and protect the environment. The best part? This invaluable organic matter is free!
Here are some easy ways to dispose of fallen leaves without hauling them off of your property.
1. Run a mulching mower over fallen leaves on the lawn to chop them into tiny bits. Left in place, the leaves will decompose and provide organic matter and nutrients to the grass without harming it in any way. They’ll also attract earthworms that will loosen the soil. No more need to rent a core aerator!
2. If you want, bag the chopped leaves from your mower. But don’t put them out with the trash. Instead, spread them as mulch on your garden beds. They’ll look great, stay in place, and enrich the soil. Or add them to your compost pile or compost bin. Kept moist and well-aerated, they’ll quickly decompose into rich organic matter even in the cold of winter.
3. Pile unchopped leaves atop and/or around tender shrubs, perennials, and bulbs that don’t normally survive winters in your area. Fallen leaves provide excellent insulation.
4. If your property includes a wooded or natural area, rake or blow the leaves there. They’ll break down and feed trees and other plants, keep the soil moist, and reduce run-off and erosion.
5. Rake the leaves into a giant pile to let your kids experience the time-honored tradition of jumping into them and making a mockery of all of your hard work. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, HOWEVER, permit teenage males to up the ante to “x-treme leaf jumping.” Briefly home from college last week, my freshman son, Brian, suggested jumping into the pile from atop a porch railing approximately 8 feet above the ground. Grumpy explained to him that a pile of leaves is about 99% air and that his Gluteus maximus would become a Gluteus craximus. Finally, he agreed to fall backward into the pile from ground level. “Wow, I hit harder than I thought,” he said. Now here’s the scary part. He’s studying Physics.