Love Your Soil. Don’t Rake Those Leaves!
March 8, 2017
Want a free source of organic matter? There is one available to almost all of us and it's right before our eyes. Did you know that the leaves that fall in your yard can improve your soil and the health of your landscape? By shredding them into the lawn with a mulching mower instead of bagging them up, you allow this valuable resource to get to work for you. This is not to mention the fact that all these inestimable leaves are saved from our city landfills.
Why is organic matter important?
Because plant roots feed on water and nutrients found in the soil, those that are depleted of nutrients have nothing to provide for the plants growing in them. Microbial organisms in the soil survive by feeding on broken down plant material. These important microscopic creatures help make up the living component in healthy soils. Poor quality soils cannot support vigorous growth or robust plants. Only weeds can endure these conditions so as desirable plants such as your St. Augustine grass die off, weeds will replace them.
The shredding process allows the finer particles to trickle down through the grass blades so that leaves decompose quicker and eventually nourish your soil. Later when your grass clippings fall down to combine with the leaf particles, they create an effect similar to that of a compost pile with properly mixed green and brown materials that speeds decomposition.
Our trees nourish the soil.
Many of us have oak trees in our neighborhoods, some of which hold onto their leaves until springtime. Live oaks, which are evergreen, typically start replacing their leaves around this time of the year as well. Both types of oak leaves are very slow to decompose. Shredding them with the mower along with other organic debris, allows them to become food for the soil and plants much sooner. Oak leaves are also naturally acidic so they are a wonderful amendment to our alkaline soils, as they help to balance the pH.
This simple effort costs nothing except for a bit of labor, but this effort makes a beneficial impact on the vitality of your landscape.
Posted: March 8, 2017