Autumn is a beautiful time of year, with the leaves changing colours and turning your garden into lovely shades of brown and yellow. While they are nice to look at, fallen leaves can be a real nuisance to deal with.
Fallen leaves can make your garden look untidy, and if you don’t deal with them immediately they can damage the grass and turn it yellow. There are also safety concerns that come from slippery or frozen leaves.
There are also many benefits that come from fallen leaves, and they can actually help maintain a healthy garden. Here are some simple tips that will help you to deal with fallen leaves in your garden, and ensure that you can put them to work instead of disposing of them.
Use the correct tools
There are many tools available that will make your leaf collecting much easier. A leaf blower is a handy machine that blows the leaves into piles that you can then put into bags. A garden vacuum is even easier to use, and as you would expect these machines suck the leaves into the attached bag. Both of these options will make light work of your garden leaves.
If you don’t have access to a leaf blower or garden vacuum, then a normal garden rake will suffice. A rubber rake is the best type for raking leaves from gardens and paving, but an ordinary garden rake can be used.
Wet or dry
If you are raking the leaves manually, it is best to do it when the leaves are wet. This makes them heavier, but it also stops them blowing about if it is a breezy day. The last thing you want is to rake your leaves into a nice pile only for a gust of wind to destroy your hard work.
If you are using a garden vacuum it is best to use it when the leaves are dry, if possible. This is because the leaves will be lighter, and you will be able to compress them in the bag.
One thing to note is that if you have allergies, you want to remove the leaves as soon as possible and when they are dry. Piles of wet leaves are perfect breeding grounds for mould, which is a common allergy.
Collecting the leaves
If you have used a garden vacuum, this part of the job will be much easier. If the vacuum uses disposable bags, then when it is full you just remove the bag, tie it up and attach another one. If the garden vacuum has a reusable bag then you can empty the contents into another bag.
If you are using a leaf blower or a rake, you want to gather the leaves into big piles. When you have finished, put each pile of leaves into a bag.
A good strategy here is to lay a large sheet or tarpaulin in the corner of your garden. Either blow all of the leaves onto the sheet, or use a wheelbarrow to transport the piles of leaves onto the sheet. Once all of the leaves are on the sheet, simply gather up the corners of the sheet and tie them up.
What to do with the leaves
Now that you have gathered all of leaves up, what do you do with them? Rather than just dump them all in the bin, you can actually use them to benefit your garden in a number of ways.
Help Your Lawn
If you only have a small layer of leaves covering your garden, you can go over them with a lawnmower. This will shred the leaves into small pieces, which will enable them to break down faster. When these leaves break down they will help to keep you soil moist and healthy all winter.
If you have a large amount of leaves covering your lawn, remove some of them before doing this. Too much leaf mulch on your lawn will damage it and stop light and water from reaching the soil.
If you do nothing else with your fallen leaves, make sure you do this. Make sure the leaves are moist but not wet, and mix them with other green material in your compost bin. If you turn them once a month to allow the oxygen to circulate, you will end up with compost that you can use for your plants all year round.
Turning your leaves into leaf mulch is one of the best things you can do to help your garden. Shred the leaves with a lawnmower, and then use them in the same way as you do for your lawn.
The difference is that instead of leaving them on the lawn, you can place them around your flower beds and plants. A layer of three to four inches is sufficient.
Leaf mulch has a number of benefits. As well as helping the soil stay moist and healthy, it also acts as insulation for plants when the weather is cold. Leaf mulch is also a useful weed barrier and stops them from growing.
Fallen leaves in your garden can be a real pain to deal with, but if you follow these steps and don’t leave them lying too long they can actually be useful in the maintenance of your garden. Leaf mulch, lawn fertiliser and compost are all essential ingredients of a healthy garden, and they can all be made from leaves.