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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 9:15 PM

Edith says mow your weeds for mulch

Edith says mow your weeds for mulch
Soon all the leaves will fall off the trees and you will be tempted to rake them all up.  This may not be necessary but you still should do something about those leaves. So many people rake and burn their leaves.  This adds greenhouse gases, is hazardous if you burn in windy weather or near structures and dry vegetation, and it is a waste of nutrients that could feed your plants next year.  Now I can also add that those leaves can be used to reduce weeds in your lawn next year.  However, you still need to do something with the leaves on your lawn or they could smother your lawn.  That something is mowing them instead of raking them. Researchers at Michigan State University found using a lawn mower to mulch leaves into the lawn reduces weed seed germination.  This means it acts like a pre-emergent herbicide.  If you have already established perennial weeds like dandelions you have to find another way to removed them but emergence of new dandelions and annual weeds will be significantly reduced without using herbicide. You can also save on fertilizer if you use your leaves as mulch.  When plants take up the fertilizer you apply or get it from natural source such as soil bacteria fixing atmospheric nitrogen in a form that is available to plants, it becomes incorporated in plant tissues such as leaves.  Other soil bacteria and fungi that break down dead leaves releases that nitrogen back into the soil in a form that is available to plants for next year. The best part is this is a slow release of this nutrient that keeps excessive nutrients from polluting bodies of water. If you have more leaves than your lawn can use, put the excess through a shredder and spread them thickly over flower beds to keep weeds down in those locations.  If you run out of flower beds to spread leaf mulch put it on the surface of your vegetable garden to keep weeds down and add plant nutrients to the soil for next year’s vegetable garden.  Shredded leaves are also great for a compost pile that you plan to feed, allow to get hot, and then turn to make compost for your vegetable garden or new flower beds you plan.       Sign up to receive updates and the Friday File email notices. Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon.