One of the most beautiful things about Autumn in Kansas City is watching colorful leaves as they gracefully fall to the yards below. While your family may enjoy posing amongst this picturesque backdrop for holiday cards, once the snapshot’s captured, get out the rakes and clear those leaves!
Many homeowners mistakenly believe fall’s natural lawn cover is a beneficial source of nutrients and should be left alone. While it’s true that decomposing leaves release nutrients to soils below, a leaf blanket deprives lawns of much needed sunlight. In fact, grasses such as bluegrass and tall fescue use this cooler season – and the last remaining sunlight of the year – to maximize their growth. This creates hardier grasses with deeper and more sustainable root systems. Deprive the grass of sun, and you will notice the effects next year.
Horticulture agent Dennis Patton suggests the following schedule for raking, bagging, and/or composting/mulching your fall leaf blanket:
- New grass: Rake leaves every day or so to allow enough sunlight for the lawn to get a good start.
- Established lawns: Deep leaf layers should be raked every 4 days or so.Or, consider raking some leaves and using a mulching mower to break down the rest for soil enhancement.