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Autumn Lawn Care Tasks

Author : Mark Bartley

If you are lucky enough to have trees around your garden, you may see raking as simply one of those back breaking chores that has to be done. But can a few leaves be all that bad, so why bother with all the raking?

In fact, falling leaves are a big problem for autumn lawn care. While a few won't make too much of an impact on the health of your lawn, a blanket of leaves, especially those that remain damp, will suffocate your grass and prevent healthy growth in the following year.

So how do fallen leaves affect your lawn?

While they are lying on the grass as whole leaves, they don't present too much of a problem apart from spoiling the appearance perhaps. But once the decomposition process begins, fallen leaves can really start to do some damage. The mulch combines with grass cuttings and other lawn detritus to form a 'thatch' that quickly becomes a thick layer of rotting vegetation in the zone between the soil and the grass shoots. This produces damp, warm conditions that will cause the individual grass blades to rot at the base. The result is a sparse, brown patch where no new grass grows in the spring.

Damp lawns can be a breeding ground for bacteria. The damp, warm conditions also provide ideal breeding environments for bacteria, which can introduce diseases into your lawn and killing off the grass further. The permanent layer of damp vegetation also encourages moss growth, and lawns that have a thick thatch of decaying leaves often falter under excessive moss growth during the autumn period.

Bugs and worms are always looking for a place to live and breed. Leaving a thatch on your lawn can encourage bugs, some of which can be a problem. Beetles and insects such as Chafers and 'Daddy Long Legs' will use lawn thatch as a breeding ground for their eggs, which may result in an infestation that will damage your lawn further.

Removing the leaves is often the best option. Unfortunately, autumn lawn care has to include the hard, physical job of leaf raking. However, rather than waiting until every last leaf has dropped and then raking, the simplest way to make this tough job a little easier is to stick to the old adage – little and often. If you have a small garden with very few overhanging trees, removing the leaves can take just a few minutes each week while the leaves fall. However, if you have a vast lawn or a garden completely surrounded by large trees, then regular raking is the only way to keep things under control. Don't leave the raked leaves in piles on the grass – placing them into a specific compost pile for leaves is a sound approach. Leaves can break down to form excellent garden compost, but they can much longer to do this than other garden materials. Set aside one area of your compost bins specifically for raked leaves and let them compost for a minimum of two years. This allows them to break down into crumbly loam and also gives the leaves time to expel as much cellulose as possible and make the compost suitable for garden use.

While just a few leaves on a lawn may not cause too much damage, a thick layer of fallen leaves will cause problems, so make sure your autumn lawn care schedule includes raking. Once leaves have been removed, why not take the chance of improving your lawn even further by spiking and adding a top dressing or perhaps an autumn feed product

Author's Resource Box

Mark is an enthusiastic gardener and has covered all areas of autumn lawn care. Experienced gardeners agree that autumn is a key period for lawn care.

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Tags:   gardening, gardens, grass

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Submitted : 2010-10-28    Word Count : 702    Times Viewed: 712