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The air is getting crisp, leaves are changing colors, and pretty soon your once pristine lawn may be covered in a blanket of leaves. Your first intuition may be to blow those leaves into your neighbor’s yard but we have a better idea. Let’s put those fall leaves to work!
Mulching. It’s one the easiest ways to improve your lawn’s health. You don’t need to be specially skilled in the art of lawn maintenance and it doesn’t take much time at all. Everything you need is already on your lawn; you just have to know how to utilize it.
Mulching consists of organic material that’s spread over your grass to improve the soil. Sounds like fertilizer, right? It works the same way, but you don’t have to worry about buying it at the store because you can use grass clippings and leaves from your own yard. Here at TaskEasy, we’re all about saving time and money so we’ve provided you with some tips to help you do just that.
So, why would you want to cover your lawn with mulch? Well, because mulching puts much needed nutrients back into the soil. When done correctly, mulching returns about 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium, and 1% phosphorus. That’s not just mumbo jumbo, those are the same three nutrients contained in virtually every fertilizer. Basically, mulching can feed your lawn 25% of its total nutritional needs for the year, which is enough to cut out one entire fertilizer treatment. You don't have to rake up grass or leaves = win. You can buy less fertilizer = win. Less trash for the dump truck to haul away = win for your garbage man?
How to Mulch Grass Clippings
Lawn mowing season may be coming to a close for some of you but you still have a little bit of time to use those grass clipping for mulching purposes. When you mow, leave the grass on the lawn to add beneficial organic matter to your soil. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind:
- The grass clippings must be small enough to settle beneath the surface of the lawn and decompose. This can be achieved with a regular lawn mower but is best accomplished with a mulching mower. Some mowers have special blades you can attach for mulching.
- A general rule of thumb is to never cut off more than one-third the height of your grass. If you haven’t mowed in a while, the grass blades will be too long to mulch. Instead of decomposing, they’ll simply sit on top and can smother your grass or even cause disease. If the grass is clumping, then bag it or run it through a mulching bin and redistribute it across the lawn.
- I know we said don’t bag it but there’s another exception... weeds. Unless you want to have a lawn full of weeds, it’s best not to spread around weeds like dandelions and crabgrass.
- Also, if the lawn has been treated several times with chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, the grass clippings may not break down effectively.
How to Mulch Leaves
Now that you may have an abundance of leaves on their way, lets talk about some mulching tips for leaves!
- As they fall onto the lawn, simply mow over the leaves to chop them up into small pieces like you would do with grass clippings.
- Make sure the leaves are completely or mostly dry. You might have to make a few passes with the mower depending on the thickness of the leaves.
- If you have flowerbeds, cover them with the mulch you’ve gotten from the leaves. Pro-tip: remove leaves in spring if they haven’t completely broken down so that those flowers can start to emerge.
There you have it. The 411 on mulching. For help keeping your lawn looking great All-Season long, contact a TaskEasy contractor and we’ll be happy to help you out with any of your yard care needs!