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Rake Leaves No More

Guest post by our gardener, Barb Tewell:

Mowing LeafsTests at Michigan State University resulted in improved soils and healthy lawns when the  leaves were mulched into the lawn in the fall.  Mow at least once a week – leaves shred most efficiently when damp so an early morning mowing helps.  To boost natural matter into my soils, I am spreading the clippings around most of my beds and trees (that don’t have other mulch around them).  MSU  tests also showed that leaf compost does not harbor disease and insects.

An article appeared in the Fine Gardening Magazine and it confirmed what I have done for years.  About 31 years ago I bought an Ariens mulching mower (newer idea at that time)  and I was surprised at how well it not only mulched grass but the fall leaves as well.  My neighbors watched in amazement as I mowed over a heavily leafed lawn without raking it first and there was so little evidence of the leaves on the ground.  I let 2 neighbors borrow the mower for their yards, and voila, the dealer sold 2 more!

Bonus:  If you like a wood or straw mulch in the summer, save excess shredded leaves in the fall mixed with a little dirt and water, and use as an underlayment of the new mulch added in the spring.  Remember only 1-2 inches of mulch is needed.

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