If your lawn looks anything like the picture above you may rejoice at the awesome autumn colors and at the same time realize that your next task is to clear up the leaves. While using a rake is good exercise it is not the most enjoyable way of spending time, but the effort will be well worthwhile once you remember that leaf mold is a valuable product with many uses in the garden. In her article which I found on the Longfield Gardens website Kath LaLiberte suggests that the leaves should be shredded to create garden gold.
Raking leaves may not be your favorite thing to do on a beautiful fall day. But rather than thinking of it as a chore, think of it as harvesting! For gardeners, shredded leaves are the season?s most abundant ? and most valuable crop.
Autumn leaves are a rich source of organic matter and?valuable?trace minerals that trees mine from deep in the soil. When mixed into the soil in your garden, they feed earthworms and other beneficial organisms. They also aerate heavy soils and help sandy soils retain moisture. Leaves can be used to make an attractive, weed-suppressing mulch for your flower garden, and they?re an effective way to insulate tender plants from extreme cold.
The Value of Shredding
When you chop?leaves into small pieces, it creates more surface area. This makes it easier for microbes do their work converting leaves into humus and available plant nutrients. Shredding leaves also keeps them from packing together into tight, water-shedding clumps. And, it?makes them easier to handle, because?you can store them in less than half the space.
How to Shred Leaves
Leaf shredders work great, but all you really need is a mulching mower with a bag attachment. Simply mow over the leaves with the bagger attached and empty them out when it gets full. If you prefer more finely shredded leaves, double-chop them by mowing once without the bagger and a second time with the attachment. As you work, you can empty the leaves into a cart or onto a large tarp that can be dragged to another area.
See more at Longfield Gardens