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Hudson is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, but those trees can be a problem in autumn when the leaves fall. Raking and bagging or blowing leaves to the curb is a challenge. After spending time and money to get rid of the leaves, the annual raking ritual removes important nutrients that lawns need to thrive. Then in the spring, homeowners repurchase those same nutrients in a bag of commercial fertilizer from the local garden center.
Why not skip the rake and leave the leaves? Rather than bagging and sending them to a landfill or raking them to the curb where they will be used to create next year’s bag of commercial fertilizer, why not use the nutrients to fortify your lawn and gardens? While leaving a thick layer of leaves on your lawn all winter lawn might smother parts of the lawn, mulching the leaves back onto the lawn can effectively and inexpensively fortify the soil and keep your lawn healthy.
If areas of your yard are wooded, leave the leaves on the ground where they fell. It adds another layer of organic materials that offers winterizing protection for trees and shrubs, while providing food, shelter and nesting materials for wildlife and insects.
In lawn areas, run a mulching mower over the leaves to cut them into smaller pieces and leave them on the grass. Rather than killing the grass, it will add nutrients back into the soil, make the lawn healthier, and save on store-purchased fertilizer. While a mulching mower is the best, using a regular mower is fine, especially if you mow over it a few times during the fall season.
If you have lots of leaves, you might want to use a bagger on your lawn mower and then spread several inches of the cut leaf pieces around trees and flower beds as mulch to protect plants and trees over the winter, again saving on the purchase of commercial mulch.
If you’re into composting, leaves are also great for composting, particularly as layers to cover food waste during the winter.
It also helps cut down air pollution generated by leaf blowers and trucks needed to haul away the leaves and water pollution due to runoff from commercial fertilizers into streams and waterways.
So, skip the rake this fall and have more time to sit back and enjoy the glorious colors of Hudson’s autumn leaves.