Dealing With Leaves on Your Lawn
With the onset of Autumn and the beginning of the dormant season, trees put on their last big show with a spectacular array of fiery reds, yellows & orange leaf colours. But this show is quickly followed by the seasonal issue of leaves on lawns.
There is a change in attitude recently to how we should deal with leaf fall on lawns & grassy areas. In the past we were always quick to get the rake out and tidy up any fallen leaves. One famous case was in France as the revolutionaries were moving in on the Palace of Versailles to overthrow Marie Antoinette.
As the gardeners fled for their own safety & leaves were not being regularly removed from the lawns, Marie Antoinette noted what a lovely idea it was to scatter the leaves around the base of the trees. Little did she know that this was the natural course of leaves such was the meticulous manicuring of lawns at Versailles.
We all like a manicured lawn, but it is now clear that it comes to the detriment of mammals & insects that use our gardens. So we would now advise that you no longer rake up fallen leaves from your lawns. The layer of leaves provides insects & earthworms with shelter & food which in turn provides larger mammals & birds with an important source of food over the Winter months. So this thin layer of leaves on lawns becomes an ecosystem of its own during Winter.
Also, the excessive raking & scraping of lawns in Autumn can be quite damaging to lawns. Generally weather conditions are damp in Autumn & this can lead to unnecessary soil compaction & lifting of grass sods. If you really must remove leaves from your lawn, we would advise using a leaf blower. Blow the leaves off some of your lawn whilst leaving areas in a natural undisturbed state.
Of course, fallen leaves are an excellent source of nutrients & make a great addition to compost heaps. Leaves from large trees contain nutrients from deep down in the soil layers that have been absorbed into the trees through their deep root system. By composting these leaves you can reintroduce these nutrients back into your garden to feed flowers, shrubs & vegetable plots.
If you have issues with bare & patchy lawns, then using a leaf blower to remove leaves from these areas would be a good idea. The build-up of fallen leaves on bare lawns will certainly make this problem worse as the leaves block out much needed sun light.