While the City does offer a great leaf collection service each year, have you ever thought about turning that deluge of fall foliage into free lawn fertilizer? Or using leaves as a form of winter mulch and cold weather protection for your landscaping?
All it takes is a few passes of the lawnmower each week to break leaves on the lawn down into smaller shreds. These leaf shreds will then work their way through the grass and decompose into the top layer of soil, acting as a natural fertilizer and weed control agent.
By leaving or adding leaves to landscaping beds, you will provide a natural form of insulation for perennials and bulbs, helping them through any stretches of severe cold that winter may bring (as well as providing protection and food for birds, toads, caterpillars and other wildlife). By spring, as with the mulched leaves, you will find a lot of the leaves decomposing and helping to fertilize the plants below them. At that point, you can either clear away the remaining clumps or spread mulch overtop as you ready your landscaping beds for the growing season.
With UA’s impressive urban forest expanding from year to year, an increase in mulching by homeowners certainly won’t bring an end to the need for our annual collection program. But it may help turn challenge into opportunity—reducing your time spent raking, benefitting your yard, keeping leaves out of the stormwater system, and helping City crews work their way through the community more swiftly.