NOVEMBER is a month when we really can learn something from the pros. From golf courses to formal gardens, professional gardeners will be hard at work doing housekeeping. And it’s all because of leaves…
We don’t think about it much but leaves actually play a big part in lawn care. In the spring and summer when they’re on the trees, they’re creating shade just where we don’t always want it; and in the autumn and winter, they’re falling off and settling on the grass – again just where we don’t want it. It’s not so much of a problem on flowerbeds where we can leave them to rot and for the worms to pull them down. But on our lawns, fallen leaves can cause lots of problems, not least being the duration of the leaf-fall season itself. No one wants to be popping out every day for weeks on end to clear the latest fall.
So here is some information and advice to encourage you to do your own good housekeeping during November (and beyond).
- Get some kit: If you have big deciduous trees, then it’s worth investing in some machinery to make your leaf-clearing a lot easier. You can of course use your mower to pick up fallen leaves, but a good leaf blower can be just as easy – in fact it’s quite fun! You might even choose to secure a large heap of blown leaves in a quiet corner to give some hibernation shelter to some wildlife – just remember to check carefully next spring when you clear the pile.
- Prevent disease: Leaves on the lawn aren’t just untidy; and they don’t just create pale and slow-growing patches of grass. They can actually kill your grass. And they do this by encouraging our worst known lawn disease, fusarium.
Fusarium is a fungal disease that comes to life in the winter months, and the fallen leaves create a warm, damp environment that is perfect for it to flourish. And fusarium can be fatal. It takes no hostages and if given a chance will attack all types of well-looked-after lawns including sports turf.
Fusarium can be discouraged by using good healthy lawn care practice, but the most important thing you can do is to remove those fallen leaves. And keep on doing it. Get them off the grass as soon as possible.
You should also be wary of any sections of lawn that don’t get much winter sunshine. Damp, dewy mornings are a fact of winter life (and a delight too) but if the grass never gets the chance to dry out, then fusarium can take hold.
But how do you dry a lawn? Well, all that’s actually needed is what I want you to do anyway – walk out across the grass (knocking of the dew) and use a mower or a leaf blower to shift those leaves. That much can make all the difference to those especially damp areas (a blower can actually remove dew to enable a dry afternoon winter cut.)
We don’t always have to be as meticulous as the professionals in every aspect of our lawn care, but with autumn leaves we definitely do!