Leaf and Yard Waste Options
Leaf and Yard Waste Options
Leaf and Yard Waste: Tips
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn instead of raking them. Grass clippings that are left on the lawn return nutrients to the soil.
- Use mulched leaves on your lawn, or mixed into the soil in gardens or surrounding tree beds to create healthier growing conditions and help control weeds.
- Small mounds of grass clippings can be used to protect plants during the spring when their is still a chance for frost.
- Build or purchase a backyard composter to manage some of your leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste. Over time, these materials will transform into a soil enchancer that you can use on your property.
Grass cycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving the clippings on your lawn after the grass has been mowed. Grass cycling is a simple process that requires no work and is considered nature's way of recycling by returning nutrients back to the soil. Grass cycling happens when you leave you grass clippings on the lawn instead of raking them into piles for removal or capturing them in a grass catcher that is attached to some lawn mowers.
Common ways to use grass clippings:
- Leave the grass clippings on the lawn as you mow instead of raking them. Grass clipping are 80% water and break down quickley which returns important moisture and nutrients to the soil quickley.
- Add them to your backyard composter once they have had a chance to dry in the sun.
- Blend them into the soil that is used for gardening and tree beds.
- Use them as mulch for flower and vegetable gardens. The clippings can also be placed around the base of bushes and trees.
How to Grass Cycle
Most lawn mower models will allow you to grass cycle.
- Mow your lawn when the grass is dry. Mowing the grass while it is damp or wet can lead to clumping.
- Leave the clippings on the lawn as you mow.
- Mow your lawn regularly during peak growing season.
- Keep your mower blade sharp. Mowing your grass with a dull blade can tear or weaken the grass.
- Try to keep the blade on your mower between 5 cm and 7.5 cm in heighth which is approximately 2 to 3 inches.
The Benefits of Grass Cycling
Grass cycling is a responible, time saving practice that reduces waste, helps produce a healthy lawn and benefits the environment. Choosing to leave grass clippings on the lawn will:
- Save you time by creating less work. It can reduce the time that you must spend to mow and maintain your lawn.
- Eliminate the need to rake your lawn, bag the clippings and properly dispose of them.
- Reduce moisture loss and returns it to the soil. The grass clippings act as a mulch which helps to retain moisture, controls the temperature of the soil and helps to reduce the amount of watering required for lawn maintenance.
- Help reduce or prevent damage caused by the sun.
- Return nutrients back to the soil when the grass clippings are permitted to decay naturally.
- Improve lawn quality because it allows for a deeper root system to form which will increase a lawn's resistance to disease, drought and insects.
- Reduce the need to use fertilizers. The nutrients contained in grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer.
- Not lead to thatch if done properly. Leaving the grass clippings on the lawn can actually prevent thatch from occuring.
Leaf cycling is an easy way to manage leaves on your property. Leaves are rich in carbon, minerals and fiber, which will all be returned to the soil when left to decay naturally in the environment. They can be used to improve the condition of soil in gardens and for your grass.
Leaf Cycling: Tips
- Compost leaves in a pile in an out of the way location in your yard.
- If you have a vegetable or flower garden, dig and mix some of the leaves in with the soil as you winterize your garden and prepare your garden for the spring.
- Use some of the leaves as mulch around the base of bushes, trees and shrubs.
- Depending on the number of trees you have in your yard, you can mow over the leaves each time you cut your grass. Like grass cycling, the leaves will be mulched each time you cut the grass. The height of the blade on the mower should be between 5 cm and 7.5 cm in heighth which is approximately 2 to 3 inches. To prevent clumping of the leaves, only mow your lawn when it is dry.