Make your own natural lawn fertilizer this fall by mowing leaves instead of bagging or raking them into streets for community pick-up. Raking is a time-consuming chore, and not necessary when you can turn those leaves into your own free nutrient source for grass. Shredded leaves and grass clippings add nitrogen, potassium and organic matter to your lawn. You can even rake leaves out of planting beds into piles and mow them into the lawn where they will decompose and recycle nutrients back into the soil.
Action Tips: Save time and effort by mowing leaves into your lawn for efficient disposal and grass fertilization. For best results in mowing leaves:
- Raise your mower height to meet the depth of the leaves.
- Mow when the leaves are dry.
- Make several passes to break the leaves down into small pieces.
- Add Nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn in the fall, which will speed leaf decomposition and provide for a vibrant spring lawn.
- Mow regularly, it is best to not let leaves cover turf for more than three or four days
Sources: Lyman, G.T., “Turfgrass Science: Managing Yard Waste to Preserve Water Quality”, Michigan State University, http://www.turf.msu.edu/managing-yard-waste-to-preserve-water-quality; Reicher, Z. and Hardebeck G. “Leaf Mulching Effects of Turf Performance”, 1999. Purdue University Turfgrass Program. http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/report/1999/page24.htm; Finneran, R. “Smart gardeners mulch fallen leaves into lawn to save money”, January 24, 2013. Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_gardeners_mulch_fallen_leaves_into_lawn_to_save_money