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What in the world can I do with all these leaves?

Answer

Leaves are a really great thing that we have to deal with every year, even though they can be lots of work. The organic content of the leaves can be put to many wonderful uses for your gardens and lawn.

Use leaves to build up the organic content of the soil in your lawn. Having an adequate level of organic matter in the soil is vital to healthy turf as it improves soil structure, reduces compaction and improves water retention. Run a lawn mower (with a mulching blade if you have one) over dry leaves on your lawn to shred them and then spread or rake them around, but no more than ½"-¾" deep. You have to be careful here that you don't get too much of a good thing. Too thick a layer will trap moisture and increase the chances of turf disease. In many neighborhoods you will have too many leaves to mulch them all into the lawn, so you will have to blow them or rake some of them off and mulch the ones you can use.You will be amazed at the results.

Use leaves to build up your compost pile for next year. Using your mower like I described above, mulch the leaves and add them to your compost pile. Leaf compost is good for many uses around the garden.

Use leaves as mulch. Shredded leaves can be used directly as mulch in your gardens, either by themselves or (if you prefer the look) underneath a layer of shredded bark mulch.They will gradually decompose and improve your garden soil. Remember to keep your mulch from touching plants and less than 3" deep.

Please don't burn your leaves. According to www.ct.gov/DEEP, "The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and your local municipality limit open burning for public health and safety reasons...Open burning pollutes the air...can create nuisance odors and smoke that may adversely affect your neighbors. Loss of control in the midst of open burning can result in forest fire and destruction of property."

Sprigs & Twigs offers a Fall Leaf Clean-up Service. All of the leaves we remove from customers' properties get shredded and composted for later use in our organic landscaping business.

If you need help cleaning up your leaves, give our office a call.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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