Leaves And More Leaves

Bagging leaves with my mower

My turf looks like a forest floor it is so covered with leaves. And yes, they need to be removed. For many of you it is endless hours of raking which granted it is good exercise, but frankly I hate to rake leaves. My solution is to cut them up with my bagging mower. Of course I will be emptying the bag often, but not only does it get the leaves up, but it cuts them up, too. This makes them ideal for putting into a compost pile, and if you don’t have one it helps the amount you can get into a bag. Here are a couple of tips on what I have found to be the most effective way. First, dont try to get all the leaves up in one pass if they are thick. I rev the engine up and go over the leafy lawn quickly with the mower wheels raised high. My goal is to get at least the top coat. On the second pass I lower the wheels and collect the ones I did not get on the first mowing. Another tip is if you don’t have a compost pile, wet the cut up leaves, put in plastic bags, tie tightly, and store them over winter in an out of the way place. The partially decomposed leaves make a great soil additive for the veggie garden or as the first layer of mulch around your shrubs before adding pine straw. This will also lower the cost of buying so much pine straw. So get up the leaves with the lawn mower and save your back. And by the way, they make great compost.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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