Note: The author, Howard Miller, is the Outreach Coordinator for the Cheney Lake Watershed
It’s that time of year when the trees shed their leaves and drop them in copious amounts on the ground. I see my neighbors rake their leaves and haul them off in the trash or have their lawncare folks do that for them. Me I don’t rake any leaves nor haul any off. I simply chop them with my mower and add the minerals back into the soil through decomposition. Something to think about is that trees mine minerals out of soil deep down and deposit 50-80% of them in their leaves. Minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium & calcium. My question is why do we pay folks to fertilize our yards and then pay those same folks to haul the leaves off?
Last fall I had an area that had leaves about 3 inches deep in the corner of my yard. My neighbor mused that I would have to haul some of those off, but I didn’t. I chopped them up with my mower and later he asked me where I put them. I told him to look down they were still there. This summer that same neighbor asked me why one area of my yard did better than the rest…I asked him if he remembered where my pile of leaves was last year. After the lightbulb came on in his head, he began to realize I wasn’t completely crazy and that it was the leaves that helped my grass grow.
My advice is to chop your leaves and use the minerals the trees are offering you free of charge. Leave your leaves and leave more of your hard-earned money in the bank.