Making the Most Out of Your Leaves

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Leaves do everything right. They raise the spirits when they fill out the trees after a long Canadian winter. They absorb sunlight that feeds trees. Birds find privacy among the foliage. They shade us in the summer, and they are beautiful. Of course, they also benefit the earth when allowed to decompose on the ground.
Then why do we want to get rid of them so quickly after they fall? Yes, they will smother and, therefore, damage a lawn if left unraked, and that will be unsightly. For some of us, however, less lawn might be a good thing, allowing more room for vegetable or flower gardens.
Consider that perhaps there’s much too much emphasis on emerald green, weed-free lawns. (Weed-free means chemical laden.) Less lawn equals less mowing, and I’m all for that. Besides, simply letting weeds and brush grow provides for more wildlife habitat by creating hiding and nesting places for the creatures that live in urban environments. Diversity never hurts.
Many people, however, have a different set of aesthetics, and some neighbors might take a very dim view if they see a rogue leaf left on your lawn. Out of respect for our neighbors, we need to keep things neat.
OK, then what do we do about all those fallen leaves?
You could compost the leaves, which will make an excellent fertilizer, but this requires a bin, a layering of added materials and periodic attention. Instead, you could make leaf mold if you have the space.
It’s really easy to make leaf mold: Simply rake the leaves into a pile, maybe on the corner of your property, and forget about it. Just leave them alone. If you need worms for fishing or for your garden, look in your leaf pile when it starts to decompose, and you’ll find them there.
Leaves take a long time to break down, so be patient. If grass clippings get mixed in, so much the better because the nitrogen in grass will hasten the decomposition of the leaves. After a couple of years, your leaf pile will become leaf mold, and that’s wonderful stuff to add to your gardens. No, the mold is not great fertilizer, but added to garden soil it becomes an excellent soil amendment.
Leaf mold allows the soil to retain much more moisture, and leaf mold certainly makes it easier to dig in the garden. This is especially true in our native Maine clay soil. Leaf mold also makes excellent mulch that you can spread on your garden paths and between flowers and vegetables. If you don’t have a garden, place the mold around shrubberies or the trees from which they fell. They would gladly accept the return.
To speed up the leaf mold process, you could chop up the leaves with your power lawn mower or some other device, but what’s the rush? We burn too much fossil fuel as it is. Let nature do its work in its own time.
If you have no interest in making leaf mold, you could mow over your fallen leaves several times right on the lawn where they drop. Leaf particles will fall between the blades of grass and not smother your lawn and create a nice layer of protection for your lawn from the harsh winter.
We invite you to come in and explore all the possibilities the leaves can provide you.  We have a number of tools to help you with effective leaf and lawn cleanup; whether it be moving leafs, mulching leaves or bagging leaves, we have some great affordable, practical and effective options for you.
We look forward to helping you.


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