The value of mulched leaves

Medicine Hat News - - HOT PROPERTY -

Home­own­ers who don’t look for­ward to dust­ing off their rakes each fall might be happy to learn that mulching fallen leaves with a mower may be a health­ier and less la­bor in­ten­sive way to con­front a yard cov­ered in leaves. For 20 years, tur­f­grass spe­cial­ists at Michi­gan State Univer­sity stud­ied how lawns re­acted to hav­ing ground up leaves left on the lawn and the re­sults were over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. Re­searchers found that tiny pieces of mulched leaves even­tu­ally sifted down through the turf and pro­vided the lawn with es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents. Mulched leaves also served to con­trol fu­ture weed growth by cov­er­ing up bare spots be­tween turf plants. Such spots typ­i­cally pro­vided open­ings for weed seeds to ger­mi­nate and ul­ti­mately in­fect lawns. In fact, re­searchers found that mulching leaves for just three years could pro­duce a nearly 100 per­cent de­crease in dan­de­lion and crab­grass growth. Home­own­ers with mulching mow­ers that also have bags can even help their gar­dens by al­ter­nat­ing us­ing the mower with and with­out the bag on once leaves be­gin to fall. When mow­ing with the bag on, mulched leaves can then be used as mulch in land­scape beds and veg­etable gar­dens.

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