Tuesday, Nov 19th

Last updateTue, 19 Nov 2019 2pm

You are here: Home The Goods This Fall, Mow, Don’t Blow, Your Leaves
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

This Fall, Mow, Don’t Blow, Your Leaves

mulchmowMowing your leaves - also known as mulch mowing - into tiny pieces on your lawn, is healthier for your lawn and soil than piling or bagging them to be removed. As the shredded leaves settle between grass blades and decompose, their nutrients enhance the soil. Leaf-mulched lawns often need less fertilizer and water. Excess mulch can be blown into garden beds to help prevent weed growth, to conserve moisture and sprinkler usage, and to provide a protective layer in winter. The pollutants from leaf blowers and trucks that must haul away the leaves are avoided. And, leaves piled in the streets can be a thing of the past! Homeowners around Scarsdale have been mulch mowing leaves for many years with great results.

Mulch mowing can be done with any standard homeowner or commercial lawn mower. Simply mow over the fallen leaves. All types of leaves can be mulch mowed. (Pine needles, which are acidic, may change the ph balance of your lawn if mulch mowed in large quantities so consider using pine needles as a mulch around the base of pine trees.) To help shred the leaves into smaller pieces, it’s recommended that a mulching blade be used. This type of blade, which has grooves to shred the leaves, is inexpensive and available for any type of mower.

All landscapers have the equipment to mulch mow, and it is just as easy (or easier) to mulch mow than it is to blow the leaves to the curb. If you have a landscaper, ask them to mulch mow your leaves. Many, but not all, landscapers have experience mulch mowing leaves. If your landscaper is new to mulch mowing, the following are key points for them to know:

• Equipment: They should use a mulching blade at a minimum, but a mulching kit will provide even better results. Mulching kits, which include additional attachments beyond just a mulching blade, are available at any mower distributor and can be fitted to commercial mowers.

• Mulching Technique: Mowing the leaves in a circular pattern, rather than back and forth in lines, will result in smaller pieces of leaves which decompose more quickly and will avoid “striping lines.”

• Time: It should take your landscaper no additional time to mulch mow leaves rather than blowing them to the curb. In many cases it actually saves time.

• Cost: Mulch mowing leaves should not cost more than having leaves blown to the curb or bagged. There are many landscapers in Scarsdale who have been mulch mowing properties for years at no additional cost. If your landscaper claims it will be more time consuming, ask them to try it for a few weeks. They should see it takes no additional time.

If you mow your own lawn, use a mulching blade which you can install yourself or bring to any local mower shop (there is one in downtown Scarsdale) to install. Make sure to have the blade sharpened as needed. Try to mulch leaves once a week so the piles don’t build up too high for your mower, especially during the heavy drop of leaves. For larger amounts of leaves, you may want to raise the height of the mower deck.

If you think that there are too many leaves to mulch mow, shredding piles of leaves reduces the volume of leaves significantly! What looks like a huge leaf pile will shred into tiny pieces and quickly settle into your lawn. If you are concerned about the quantity of leaves, try mulch mowing for a few weeks when leaves first begin to fall and there is less leaf volume. Even if you need to put some leaves to the curb during the heavy leaf drop, any reduction in leaves put to the curb is a benefit.

Excess mulched leaves can be placed in your garden beds. They look great, are a healthy addition to your yard and will save you the cost of buying wood mulch. Remember, to avoid damaging trees and plants, never place mulch directly against a tree trunk or shrub and never pile mulch more than 2”- 3” high in a garden bed.

The shredded leaves resulting from mulch mowing will not harm your lawn. In fact, the shredded leaves are beneficial to your lawn. Decomposing leaves cover the soil between the individual blades of grass where weeds can germinate. Once the small bits of leaves settle in, microbes and worms start breaking them down. It is important that the leaves are shredded because whole leaves left on a lawn can smother the grass. The shredded leaves quickly settle into the lawn and your lawn should not look messy.

Leaf mulch mowing benefits our local landscape, reduces the number of truck trips in our community and gets large piles of leaves off our streets.

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop