Autumn has arrived, and one of the most dreaded tasks is that of: quarreling the dead leaves. For all park owners who think, "There must be a better way!" – do not be afraid. We consulted with experts for recommendations on leaf handling with maximum effectiveness (and minimal back pain).
Unfortunately, it seems like you really have to do Something with debris falling on your garden. Some leaves here and there will not hurt, but if you let them pile up and sit for months on the grass, you create the ideal conditions for darkness and moisture, conducive to Snow mold formation that kills the grass, says John Kaminski, grass researcher at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. As spring approaches, you will have to remove all this dead material, and you will have to plant new shoots to replace the bare plots, Kaminski says.
It's time to roll up your sleeves and get ready for a sweep. We have tips that can help.
Choose the right tools
The tools you use can help make this task much easier to manage.
Kaminski first recommends getting a leaf rake. There is more than one type of rake, and everyone has his goal. For example, a heavier steel tool can aerate your lawn in the spring, but it weighs too much to treat lighter leaves. For this task, you will need a light rake with a handle long enough not to have to bend repeatedly and possibly to hurt your back.
An adjustable leaf rake can also help you catch fallen leaves between flower beds, as well as those in your garden, without having to change tools, says Matthew Cook, manager of the arboretum and the soils of the New York Botanical Garden.
You can also use a leaf blower to blow the leaves into piles, Kaminski says. Many large blowers run on gasoline, making them less environmentally friendly than low-tech rakes. However, there are electric and battery operated leaf blowers on the market. A blower can also help older or less fit people get out and take care of their land, Cook says.
According to Cook, another cutting-edge technology is mowing the leaves to mulch them on the grass. This allows the decaying leaves to return to the soil. "I would say the best rake is a lawn mower," he says.
Cook recommends removing the bag from your lawn mower and leaving the cut leaves and grass cut back to fertilize the soil. He notes that the grass grows the most in the spring and fall, when the days are hot and the nights cool. As a result, many people will continue to cut the grass for much of the fall, anyway. Both take care of the leaves while they are there!
However, Kaminski warns that too many decaying leaves can spread the chemistry of your soil. A healthy soil normally has a ratio of 20 to 24 parts of carbon for a part of nitrogen. Dead leaves contain a lot of carbon, between 30 and 80 parts of carbon per nitrogen. All this excess carbon floods the soil during leaf decomposition, which means that decomposition consumes nitrogen, which will not allow plants to grow in the spring.
Cook agrees that your lawn can only absorb a limited number of dead leaves. Even if you opt for the early mulching method, you may have to start picking up dead leaves and moving them elsewhere. But you can always do it with a lawn mower: just put the bag back so you can pick up the chopped leaves and throw them away, Cook says.
Think about the timing
Now that you have the right equipment, it's time to determine when you're going to tackle this monumental task. Your timing will depend on your schedule and the amount of work you can handle in a day.
Kaminski said that he would wait until all the leaves fall off before finishing all the rat's work when he lived in a house with a yard. This is the most efficient method, but also the most laborious.
If you can take the time to do a little each weekend, it will be easier for your body because your stack of leaves will always be a reasonable size.
For Cook, it's best to tackle the leaves regularly, just like mowing the grass once a week. This also prevents the leaves from accumulating and blocking sunlight for a period of time during which the grass should grow and thrive.
Finally, do not forget to consider the weather. The rain will weigh down the leaves, making them more difficult to move. Meanwhile, weather conditions in windy weather will make it much more difficult to wind up debris.
Each yard and each piece of grass are a little different, says Cook. As a result, determining which strategy will work best for everyone becomes an interesting challenge.
Kaminski recommends picking up to your final destination, whether it's a compost pile or a municipal bin. Start at the farthest point of this place, then rake it. If the day is windy, Kaminski recommends lying down in the wind so you do not have to fight with nature.
Do not pick up all the leaves in one heap, as it will be very difficult to move them. Instead, Kaminski says you should pick up leaves in a smaller pile on a tarp, slide or carry the ground cover on your compost pile or your sidewalk box and get rid of it. So repeat. In this way, you can separate the task into discrete exercises, says Kaminski.
Taking regular breaks is another important part of this task. Otherwise, vigorous exercise will tire you too fast. "Like shoveling snow," he says, "it's a physical activity, so be careful not to lose your pace."
Another way to avoid exhaustion is to use a proper posture for raking the leaves. This complete rake, for example, should allow you to keep your back straight. Plus, move your feet instead of bending down and walk to the leaves with many small steps instead of bending over and dragging them towards you, Cook says. As you move into the yard, change the side of the body you are driving with to work on both sides, as you would do with a gym exercise. And as always, lift piles of leaves with your knees and not your back.
It is important to plan the future of the leaves you collect. According to Cook, it is better to compost them yourself, because in the spring, you can turn around and use this mulch for your garden, your garden or your flower beds. If you do not have the space or ability to compost, many municipal governments or businesses will pick your leaves. Check your local government's website to arrange this with them in advance.
"The worst result is that they end up somewhere in a landfill," says Cook.
To maintain a healthy lawn throughout the year, you will probably have to go out and pick up. But if all goes well, you will be able to face it as quickly and painlessly as possible, while getting a good workout.