First, you will have to do a little raking, getting leaves out from under bushes and away from fences. Once you have done that, cut through the leaves, as if you were cutting your lawn. First cut, let’s say, North to South, and after that, cut through them again, East to West. That second pass over the leaves grinds them into confetti, which during the Winter will break down, and fertilize the lawn. You should do this process, every week, like you would if you were cutting the grass, NOT all at once, when they have all fallen.
You don’t have to have a mulching mower to do this process. I have used a self-propelled mulching mower, and your everyday (low-end) mower, and they both work just fine. A plus, with a “starter model ” mover is that it is lighter, and you can even PULL it backwards, if needed. Sometimes when going forward you blow the leaves a bit, where as, when pulling the mower, you suck them in toward the blade.
Always after mowing, unhook the spark plug cap, then turn the mower on its side, and with a garden trowel scrape any built up debris from the underside of the mower. This prevents smells from the decaying wet vegetation buildup.
And finally think about this… In nature there is a perfect cycle. First the trees take the nutrients from the ground, up through the roots, to form the canopy. In the Fall, when the tree sheds its leave, the leaves holding the nutrients fall, decompose, and are AGAIN nutrients for the tree to absorb. The tree ALMOST provides its own food.
When you grind the leaves you are helping this cycle to continue. When you rake and dispose of the leaves, you have just ELIMINATED the second half of the natural cycle. So, maybe, this year, try grinding your leaves, your trees and lawn will LOVE you, and you will be a bit “greener”, by not adding more product to the land fill.
One more tip…Always wear safety glasses when running the mower. A stone, piece of a branch, or some other kind of object could be thrown up in your direction. I wear glasses and put my safety glasses right over my everyday glasses.
So tell me, do you grind your leaves, would you considering giving the GRINDING method a try???
Companion Post ..Applying fertilizer / Weed Control on the Lawn 4-27-2011