Having deciduous trees on or near your lawn can make for a beautiful show come fall. With a carpet of colors adorning your grass, it can really make you start to think twice about leaf removal.
Once spring arrives, however, that reluctance to get rid of leaves often turns into regret.
Why is that? There are at least a couple good reasons why leaving layers of leaves through winter can be a detriment to your landscape.
Your Lawn Still Needs Light and Air
A leaf on its own doesn’t seem like much of a blocking agent, but allow them to build up and you soon have a significant barrier between your grass and the elements.
Especially before winter chill hits, grass needs water, nutrients, and healthy air flow for its root system to prepare for the long haul. Blocking sunlight and air flow creates much more potential for your lawn to come out of the winter season in worse shape than it was going in.
Most grasses in our part of the country are “cool season” grasses, and conditions are best for them in autumn to build and store all the energy they need. It might feel a bit like they’re procrastinating, but that’s just the way of things. Give them enough opportunity by engaging in leaf removal.
Matted Leaves Can Make a Good Home for Undesirables
A thick layer of leaves can smother your lawn, but it can also create a safe haven for other organisms you do not want to harbor.
Snow mold is a substantial worry when layers of leaves go unchecked. You will often see it in spring as patches of tan-colored grass. It sometimes even comes with a white pink webby coating just to make sure you know something isn’t right.
Appropriately, this lawn disease is caused by two kinds of mold: gray snow mold and pink snow mold.
Snow molds tend to be more likely when first snows strike and cover early, before the ground has had a chance to fully freeze. This leaves a warmer layer beneath the snow where the mold can grow—and if there is a layer of leaves on top of that, they’re only adding to the moisture and insulating warmth that mold needs to thrive.
Under a continuous snow cover, odds are very low you will see the effects of the mold until spring thaw. Therefore, help prevent it in the first place by taking care of leaves in autumn!
Additionally, leaves can create warmer nesting areas for voles, mice, and other small critters. You will see the damage they can cause in the spring, as well.
Do I Need to Remove ALL the Leaves?
We know, we know. Raking or blowing leaves is not the most fun you can have on a fall day.
We have some good news, however: when it comes to leaf removal, you don’t have to be a vigilant watchdog, snatching every leaf before it even hits the ground.
Perfection is only a requirement if you want your lawn to look immaculate. Leaf coverage of about 10% should be fine, especially if those leaves are of a smaller variety. (Oak leaves, for example, are pretty big units.)
In fact, thin coverage such as this can be mulched up by your lawn mower and left on the lawn. It will be small enough to provide nutrients without interfering with sunlight!
If you have trees that dump a heavy, steady layer of leaves on your lawn, however, mulching that all up will probably not be enough to keep it from covering too much of your grass.
In these cases, you could mulch with a bag attachment and store the shredded leaves somewhere separately, such as in a compost bin. Otherwise, you’ll want to get out the rake or blower.
Fall Leaf Removal Needs? We Can Help!
If leaf removal is a matter you have questions on, or the task of keeping up with it is something you can’t fit into your time, we can help! While we’re at it, we can provide other forms of fall maintenance to ensure your lawn is fully prepared to face the colder months.
Give our Holland headquarters a call at (616) 399-6861 or feel free to use our online contact form to send us any questions or requests.