Fall is finally here in North Carolina, and the changing leaves have been nice, but can be a real chore for homeowners when they start piling up on the ground. Clearing leaves off the lawn prevents suffocation, letting the turf breathe in preparation for spring. Newly seeded fescue can especially can be damaged from heavy leaves piling up the turf. And while leaving fallen foliage on beds and borders can eventually generate useful mulch, this creates a slippery mess on driveways, pavements, patios and paths.
So what is the best way to clear dead leaves out of your high-use areas?
- Mowing the leaves and mulching the clippings is a great way to take care of the leaves, as long as they are not too heavy. Leaf clippings will decompose and actually add valuable organic material back into the soil with time.
- If leaves are heavy, use a leaf blower to blow onto a plastic tarp into a pile, which can then be carried off the lawn for disposal. We recommend making a compost pile with dead leaves, grass clippings, and other organic material.
- One can go “old school” and just carefully rake the leaves. But do so without causing any damage to tender fescue seedlings that may be growing in the turf.
- If leaves need to be hauled off to a re-cycling landfill, put into paper bags if possible.
So give your lawn a chance to breath, and it looks much nicer, by clearing the lawn of leaves. Most have fallen by now and it’s a great time to do so. And with the drought we are still in, don’t neglect some winter watering also on trees, turf, and shrubs.