Conservation Corner

Raking leaves may be an autumn tradition for many homeowners, but those who want a less strenuous way to prevent their lawns from being suffocated by fallen leaves may want to consider mulching them. Fallen leaves should never be left to linger on a yard for very long, and some homeowners may be surprised to learn that waiting to rake until all of the trees on a property have shed their leaves can be detrimental to the lawn.

That’s because fallen leaves trap moisture and prevent sunlight and air from reaching the grass, making lawns more vulnerable to disease. Fallen leaves also can harbor insects, again putting lawns at risk of disease. Mulching may be the best option for homeowners who prefer to avoid spending several weekend afternoons each fall raking leaves. Many lawnmowers are now equipped with mulching capabilities, which can remove the  need to rake. When leaves are mulched, they are minced into tiny pieces that are left behind on the lawn. Such pieces are so small that they won’t block air or light from reaching the grass, nor are they likely to harbor insects. But as these tiny pieces of leaves decompose, they enrich the soil with nutrients, so much so that some lawns may not even need to be fertilized in the fall.

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