Fall Leaf Clean-Up Tips

November 18, 2009 | Leave a Comment

By Christine Woodside of Popular Mechanics

Trail boss’s guide to leaf cleanup at home (© Monalyn Gracia/Corbis)

Trail maintainers have an intimate relationship with the earth — they know which brush could cause a fire, how rain will wash over a path, where erosion will occur and the differences between dormant and diseased trees. It’s a given, then, that trail bosses know their leaves. For the most part, they want leaves to cover and rot — the leaves are good for the soil and for next year’s growth. But most people have spouses, neighbors and guests who like neat yards. Even experienced outdoorsmen have to do yard work.

Here are some great tips for Fall yard maintenance:

1. Collect leaves selectively
The goal is to identify the spots on a residential property where ignoring a thick mat of large leaves would kill the grass or create a slippery hazard.

When collecting leaves, focus on concentrated areas that trap leaves, such as under a big maple tree, the inside of a fence or the crook of an L-wing on a house where trees from nearby slopes might drop leaves that then have nowhere to go.

2. Make mulch
Running over leaves with a mower and leaving them on the lawn is actually healthy for a lawn, but be careful not to overmulch. Concentrated fresh leaves might be too intense of a fertilizer, especially for gardens. You can also collect the churnings and put them in a compost bin or pile to decompose for a season before spreading in the garden.


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