Mowing Leaves

I am trying a new strategy this fall when it comes to the leaves on our lawn. In previous years I raked and deposited the leaves in piles at the edge of the forest that is in our back yard. I always contort myself in some part of the process and end up with aches and pains. So – this year I am experimenting with mowing the leaves – mulching them into the yard. Mowing does take some effort but the motion is regular and I don’t end up with aches. Mowing must be done frequently enough that the leaves don’t get so thick on the ground that the mower isn’t effective. The yard looks great for a time after the mowing (see a before and after picture below of an area under a sycamore).

The mowing is working great for leaves like oak and sycamore that are large and brittle; the mower mulches them quite well. The smaller and more flexible types of leaves (plum, tulip poplar, and maple), which have not fallen as much in our yard yet, might be another story.

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Right now, I am just enjoying the occasional colorful leaf on the maple.

The projection for our area is that the fall will have less color because of the near drought conditions we’ve had since mid-summer. We’ll see. There are still a lot of leaves left on the trees and the leaf mowing experiment still has a month or so to go.

In the Fall Yard – November 2018

We finally got some vivid leaf colors in the trees behind our house. The usual vibrant yellows of the tulip poplars were almost missing since those leaves turned brown quickly before they even left the big trees this year.  The pines were shedding some needles too.

A rain came, and a lot of leaves fell from the trees within a day or two of achieving good color. I let the leaves dry for a day or two then went out to rake. The temperature was in the 50s and the sky was clear. The trees still had a few leaves…but most were on the ground.

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My plan was to rake leaves that were on grass into areas where deep shade prevented grass from growing. The area between the compost bin and the red maple and then back to the forest is a great location for piles of leaves from the rest of the yard.

I didn’t put any more leaves in the compost bin because they were just raked…not shredded. I discovered that a lot of the pine needles had fallen with the rain, so I got a trash can full of them and put them into the compost. How nice to have pine scented compost!

Cooler Days – Little Fall Color

Here it is the end of September and most of the leaves are still on the trees and green. The ones that have fallen are brown.

Our oak is a good example of that. Looking at the ground it looks like half the leaves have fall but the tree still looks like it has plenty more. (The ruler in the picture is me learning to take better documentary pictures for trees.)

In the back of our house, the red maple has no red leaves. Usually it starts out with a few that show up surrounded by green. But right now it’s still a wall of green although there are leaves on the ground that are brown.

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The tulip poplar usually has some yellow leaves surrounded by green. Some of the leaves look like they might be turning but even the zoomed image looks like a wall of green.

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There are some green tulip poplar leaves that have fallen in recent heavy rains…but overall the tree still has a lot of green leaves attached.

The sycamore has been dropping brown leaves but still has a lot of green ones on the tree. It’s usual the first to drop leaves. This year some are staying on the tree but there are still more green than brown ones.

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We’ve gotten a lot more rain than usual in September (almost 11 inches rather than the historical average of 4.6 inches) and the trees may be impacted by that. There is a lot of mud even in the grassy areas of our yard.

The end of October is generally the time the leaves fly from the trees, so I am still anticipating fall color. It just seems that there are too many brown leaves on the ground already.

Raking Oak Leaves

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I’ve raked the leaves falling from our oak tree twice already this year. My typical tools are the rake for the leaves and then a broom for the crushed acorns in the driveway and street gutter.  Today I remembered to take before and after pictures.

I had cleared 4 trash cans full of leaves from the gutter and grass closest to the street just a few days ago and was surprised that were so many leaves to be raked.

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5 trash cans full of leaves and a half trash can of acorn debris later – the yard looks better but I realized that the tree still looks like it has a lot of leaves! This is not the last raking of the fall for this tree.

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I also noticed that the acorn debris seemed to be more ‘hats’ that the nut itself. Maybe the neighborhood squirrels have been retrieving more of the acorns that fall on the driveway!