Once Fall arrives and the leaves begin to cover your yard, we get lots of phone calls for leaf removal. People often ask us: Should you remove the leaves? What can you do besides removal? And, what do those leaves do to the soil if they are not removed?
If you want quality turf in the spring and your home has a lot of leaves in your yard, then you need to do something about those leaves. Turf needs sunlight to thrive. Turfgrass leaves must be exposed to sunlight to assist in the process of photosynthesis. One thing to consider is removing all the leaves entirely.
We can’t perform our other lawn and landscape winterization services (dethatching, fertilizing, aerating, bed mulching, etc.) if you have a serious layer of leaves in your yard.
Another course of action is chopping up or “mulching” those leaves. If you have a fairly deep or thick layer of fallen leaves, having them all chopped up does not necessarily alleviate the sunlight exposure issue. But providing organic material to your lawn, ornamental beds and soil is a good thing. Having a good amount of organic material in your soil increases aeration and soil tilth. Mulching leaves certainly assists in accomplishing that mission.
There are other considerations too. Certain leaves, from certain cultivars of trees, can alter the pH of your soil. Oak trees make the soil acidic just by being there – and the leaves make the soil even more acidic and below what is desired for most turfgrass soil. Pine needles, for example, can also increase the acidity of soil.
That’s why we do a combination of leaf removal with mulching during our leaf removal services by putting mulching blades on our mowers. Mulching mowers chop up leaves (turfgrass clippings, just about everything) more finely. It basically holds things inside the mower deck longer and chops the stuff up more. It saves you additional fertilizer applications, improves soil tilth and reduces thatch. It allows your grass clippings to decompose faster.
When you want those leaves removed but still want to consider that is best for your lawn, consider a combination of leaf mulching and leaf removal.