Fall clean up: Composting and other tips
Leaves everywhere. Is raking leaves even necessary? Although leaves are a wonderful source of organic material for soil, leaving a thick layer of leaves on your lawn blocks the sunlight and traps moisture. This can cause diseases and kill your grass.
The only thing more frustrating than raking up tiny little leaves is picking up the tiny little leaves. A couple of cost effective products and techniques have been invented to help combat this frustration.
- The Handy leaf grabbers – Mimicking giant hands, these paws easily grab four to five times more leaves then mere mortal hands alone.
- The “Claw” Leaf Scoop – Though a little more cumbersome then Handy leaf grabbers, the salad tong approach to leaf pick up does successfully nab a large amount of leaves all at once.
- The giant brown paper bag – Paper yard waste bags are strong enough to stand on their own, unlike plastic bags, and they break down more easily in landfills.
- Mulch those leaves – Mulching the leaves directly back into the soil is a big time saver and adds some nutrients back into your lawn.
Composting: A boost to your soil
Give your soil a big boost and get your garbage working for you with composting. The trick to composting is ensuring that you have the proper balance between your greens, such as food scraps, and your browns, such as shredded paper. Here’s everything you need to know:
- Don’t compost dairy products, meat or bones – these foods attract animals and pathogens you don’t want in your soil.
- Break it down – The more you break down materials beforehand, the less work your compost has to do.
- Turn it right round – Compost needs air. If your compost really smells, then you have clumps that are lacking air. Turn the compost regularly and make sure it isn’t too moist. Covering the bottom of the composter with branches will also allow for air movement and drainage.
- Don’t start from scratch – Make sure some ‘finished’ compost or garden soil is in the composter. This helps speed up the start of the composting process.
- Let the sun shine – The higher the temperature on a composter, the faster the compost will break down. Place your composter in the sun to help keep it warm.
Getting a jump on next season
Don’t wait for next year to make your lawn better. Get a jump on next year’s lawn care this year.
- Aerating the soil – This allows for oxygen, water and fertilizer to easily reach the grass’ roots.
- Fertilize for future growth – as the weather cools, the grass leaves grow slowly, but the grass roots grow quickly. Applying fertilizer in the fall helps grass grow deeper roots.
- Weed control – Weeds are also in energy storing mode in the fall. As they are absorbing additional nutrients, add in some herbicide to make sure they don’t come back next year.
Enhance your yard this season and the next with a thorough fall clean up this weekend.
8 smart ways to beat the leaves this fall (2014)
Composting 101: Tips And Tricks For Creating A Healthy Heap (May 11, 2012)