Before winter comes, you will need to take a few steps to winterize your yard so that come spring, it is tidy and fresh and ready for action. One of the key elements to winterizing is eliminating fallen leaves. There are several ways to go about doing this, but they are all in the name of cleaning the yard and preventing rot. If you leave them where they fall, they pile up and create moisture, and the sun does not reach the grass. This makes a mucky mess and attracts more critters than you might like to have. And when the spring comes, and the snow melts, guess what? The leaves will still be there, even more rotted and messy than they were six months ago. Now on top of all your spring projects, you have to rake the yard. So don’t miss your chance: clean up those leaves before snow falls and you’ll be on your way.
As mentioned, there are several ways to go about leaf removal: you can rake them by hand, use a leaf blower, or mulch them up with your lawn mower. Today we will tell you all about mulching with a mower, which proves to be the most efficient and least strenuous method for the homeowner. Besides, since you already have a mower, you don’t have buy any new costly equipment for this job. Using your mower is a great way to cut up the leaves and reduce the amount of waste, or turn the fallen leaves to compost. Most municipalities require you to collect your leaves, bag them, and leave at the curb for pickup.
Mulching with a mower gives you the advantage of combining grass clippings with the leaves. Grass clippings will be rich in nitrogen, while leaves will be rich in carbon, and this combination will enable them to compost more quickly together. Composting this way may also stop you having to fertilise the yard before winter, which some homeowners choose to do to keep the yard healthy and off to a good start in the spring. You may want to leave the clippings on the yard for the purpose of composting. Whether you collect them or leave them is up to you.
You can buy a mulching kit for the mower, but this isn’t entirely necessary. The first option is side discharge. You’ll want to use this method if you want to mulch them back into the grass, or if you want to collect them later with mower and bag. This is a good option if the grass is wet and tall, or if the leaves are particularly moist. You want to grind them down as much as possible, especially if you plan to leave them on the grass. The first time you pass through the yard, leave the bag off the mower. Let the pieces shoot out to the side, and then attach the bag, and continue to mow in stripes so that you pick up the disposed pieces from the previous pass. You can also move in circles so that you are cutting and re-cutting the leaves. The goal is to shrink down the volume so you can only use one or two bags for collection, or for the sake of compost.
Bagging the clippings is better when the leaves are dry to slightly wet. Otherwise they will clog the mower. Attach the bag to the mower and once you’ve collected the leaves, bring a tarp to an area of the yard, and dump the particles onto it. This will make it easy to move them at once. Dump them in the woods or leave at the curb for pickup. If you are using collection bags, simply dump the clippings into these bags as you go.
Here are some tips for shopping for a good mulching mower:
- Get one that is rear-wheel drive and self-propelled. Mowers are heavy enough on their own, and even heavier when full of clippings. You want that baby to do the work, or at least possess the strength to push itself along. We recommend rear wheel drive for better traction and even weight distribution.
- You’ll need a high-lift mulching blade. The standard mower wont work as well. Mulcher blades will have serrated edges, and are shaped so as to increase air movement into the collection bag.
- Look for a high-quality dust filtering bag described as “dust blocking.” Otherwise you’ll be choking on the dust while you mow.
Mulching the leaves will take up a fraction of space and materials if you were to simply rake and collect. This will save you money and save the environment. In addition, you will have to do less work. If you left the leaves whole before collecting, you’d have to stop and empty the collection bag at least ten times more than if the leaves are mulched.