A common question this time of year is the best way to complete fall yard cleanup. Is it beneficial for your lawn to spend time raking and bagging leaves, or should you plan on mowing over everything and mulching the rest? Better yet, spend a couple of extra hours at the apple orchard or pumpkin patch–and do nothing at all?
The truth is, it’s up to you and depends on your lawn and landscaping needs. Essentially, homeowners want to avoid more than 10-20% of their grass to be covered in leaves when the snow falls. Excessive leaf matter going into winter may smother the grass and inhibit growth, as well as promote mold diseases, and encourage turf damage from critters like voles and mice. Read on for the three most common fall clean up techniques and the pros and cons of each.
Raking. Improve your arm strength by raking (or using a leaf blower) to gather a pile, then bag for disposal, or deliver to a compost site. Depending on the size of your lawn and number of trees on site, this may take an hour or a full day. In order to rake efficiently, lawns should be dry and trimmed. Additional bag fees or compost facility charges may deter people from going this route, but the excitement of jumping in a large leaf pile has its benefits too.
Mowing and mulching. Chopping grass and leaves into small pieces (also known as mulching) so they incorporate into your lawn canopy via a lawn mower benefits the soil in a number of ways. Nutrients and organic matter may add nitrogen to the lawn and assist in root growth. Some leaf types have even been shown to reduce weed germination over time. Mulching may require more frequent mowing in the fall, but specialized attachments and mulching mowers can also be purchased to make this job easier.
Leaving it be. If you have no trees and the wind blows away more than 10% of your lawn coverage, you may be off the hook for raking and mowing. Use your extra time wisely before the snow sets in!
Planning ahead for spring. Already dreaming of epic outdoor parties for next year? Don’t wait to upgrade your lawn! Apply fertilizer every fall to provide nutrients for grass to create deep roots and stay healthy in a dormant season. If you’ve been holding off until spring to lay sod, there is still time yet this year. Cool temperatures and regular rainfall this time of year encourages our Kentucky Bluegrass turf to retain moisture. Make sure to water regularly until the ground is frozen.
Consult with our experts, purchase sod and find winterizing fertilizer at B&B Hoffman Sod Farms in Elk River by visiting us online or calling 763-434-6572.