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Collecting leaves

Collecting leaves in autumn

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Around this time of year leaves start to fall. First those despatched by trees and shrubs desperate for water, and in just a few short weeks by the majority of the nations trees.

For many gardeners this presents a dilemma. To start collecting leaves “as they fall”, or to wait until they are all down and do it in one go.

Consider then what a carpet of leaves actually does to your lawn. Leaves bind together when wet, especially the larger varieties, making an impenetrable mat that blocks light and air from the grass. That is the two primary sources of life removed. This may cause patches, weakened areas or even kill it off.

Collecting leaves
Another crop of leaves to provide a vital fertility boost to lawns and beds

But grass is tough stuff, it will be back in the spring, right? Maybe, but not for sure. It can take months for grass areas to heal themselves, leaving lawns unsightly and even unusable.

And it’s easy to do something about it.

Fallen leaves are a usable commodity in your garden. Collecting leaves to be part of the regular compost pile, or kept in separate leave bins to create leafmould, will contribute a rich structure and mulching substance for your flower beds over the winter.

Or if you are fortunate enough to have a mulching mower, it will chop it all up and return it to the grass, thereby giving a huge boost to the fertility of the lawn. Otherwise your mower will be able to shred and collect most of the leaves for you to deposit in compost or leafmould bins.

Collecting with a mower or vacuum is easier than raking them up. Leaves that are whole, i.e., not chopped will take a lot longer to break down than the shredded ones.

Collecting leaves action plan

As leaves start to fall collect them regularly, twice a week if possible.

Start a leafmould bin or add them to the compost

As frosts start add them to the flower beds and around trees for the worms to incorporate into the soil.

So far we have not mentioned the other advantages of removing leaves. They are untidy, they blow into the house when its windy, they stick to the dog and cat, they are very slippery on hard surfaces. Trodden in leaves can make a real mess of your carpets too.

So put them to use! Collect them and return their energy to your garden.

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