MASTER GARDENER — Fallen leaves are nutrient-rich and pollinator habitat
Published Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 12:02 AM
As most gardeners know, many trees shed their leaves in the fall and winter. This is the tree’s survival mechanism, and going dormant allows the tree to conserve energy and water.
Can we all agree that raking leaves is a chore?
Using a lawn mower to corral the leaves or shred them like mulch doesn’t provide the aesthetics sought by this gardener, and the process is too fussy! Let’s get your ‘leaf’ started by looking at some helpful tips on the best ways to collect.
Foliage was once beautiful, possessing vast shades of orange, yellow, red, and bronze before falling to the ground. (thatched).
These drifts have the ability to stunt the vegetative growth of nearby plants, attract unwanted pests, and simply appear unattractive. It tends to be a tedious lawn care job.
Many gardeners may find raking leaves boring, but this gardener rakes outdoors and enjoys the sounds of nature and music.
Many gardening experts say leaving fallen leaves alone can benefit your garden, local wildlife and the environment while reducing maintenance of your lawn and garden. For some, it makes sense to rake some of the fallen leaves, especially from the excess of leaves that stifle paths and other plants. be aware that the disease can be spread by
Leaves provide valuable and vital nutrients that replenish the soil. If you choose to bag them and remove them, you’re damaging the environment by throwing away these nutrients that every healthy garden needs because you’re filling up a landfill!
Debris from trees: Leaves, stems, seeds, shrubs, and other plant parts are essential for overwintering in wildlife. Bees, moths, and many other pollinators rely heavily on garden debris, brush piles, and leaves for insulation during colder months.
Is your landscape full of deciduous trees?
Tool selection and choice can either simplify or complicate leaf flaking. Rakes are made from different types of materials such as steel, polypropylene, and bamboo.
Some leaf rakes are designed for several types of leaf removal, so choosing the right one for your needs is important.Rake length and tine spread selection are important.
A comfortable rake with a good handle length for your height means you don’t have to bend over while using it. The tines should be of a non-clogging design and close to 30 inches wide.
Before you start raking, find comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, and wear sturdy leather gloves to prevent blisters. Choose hearing protection and safety glasses when using the machine.
Gardeners often wait for leaves to fall, and I’m not one of them! Leaves have been falling for months and the lawn looks unkempt. Raking is not a seasonal event. The thick mats of leaves are difficult to remove, making it a painful and exhausting task, resulting in more time spent outdoors.
It never fails. When you finally rake, the wind will pick up, but don’t think of this as an obstacle, but as a blessing. Using the blessings of nature (wind), enjoy the rake. The process is much faster if you scoop along the direction of the wind.
Gardeners who are short on time want to get their gardening tasks “done” quickly and opt for lawn equipment options for leaf removal. A leaf blower, when operated correctly, can certainly reduce leaf raking (enclosing) time. Similar to lawn mowers with mulching blades attached, it speeds up leaf decomposition.
I have mastered the art of raking leaves.
- If you cut the leaves and mulch them, you can leave them alone. This will make the lawn more fertile over time. Or rake mulch around existing shrubs, trees, flowers, and other gardens.
- Create a compost pile if you don’t have one. Dedicate an area, create a compost pile, and mix the leaves with other garden debris. Use compost to fertilize your plants.
- Compost bags are a great option for disposal. Many local governments offer ‘green waste’ collection. Local governments often provide free compost that you can use to enrich the soil in your garden.
- Burning leaves is a last resort. Burn in small increments on a windless day, away from anything that could catch fire. Burning leaves produce pot ash, which can be used as a gardening aid.
John Green is a Certified Texas Master Gardener. If you have any gardening questions or would like more information, please contact the Orange He County He Master Gardeners Helpline at 409-882-7010 or txmg.org/orangeOrange County Texas Master Gardeners Association Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.