It’s that time of the year where leaves are falling from the trees and onto our streets and the parks.
But beyond the romance of children kicking and playing through such leaves… someone has to actually do something with them. In the city streets that’s OK – the leaves will be somewhat magically dealt with by the street cleaners who secretly buzz about the suburbs during the night. For our back gardens, however, it’s really up to us… and the Bob-A-Job kids that ring on our doorbell (should such creatures even still exist).
And it can be a mighty job. My own mother had to apply to the council to remove over-hanging branches from her garden, which dropped continual layers of leaves throughout the autumn weeks, creating an army of black bin liners, stuffed full. And of course, whether your lawn is natural or artificial, that will have no bearing on the leaves that fall on it from above. However, such leaves are not necessarily the enemy. In fact, properly cleared and redeployed they can be added to the compost, or used to create a leaf mould.
But before the actual collection, however – and if you are able – run the leaves over with a rotary lawn mower. That will certainly help break them down more quickly. Then… you need to collect the leaves. And to do that
you’ll need a few implements, such as a scoop (they look like hands on the end of extended handles – you may well have seen them in B&Q), a rake, plastic bin liners, watering cans and the relevant bedding plants to use with the compost. So, don’t feel you need to keep bending down to scope them up: as with all aspects of gardening there are these dedicated implements to ease the process.
If you don’t want to add another tool to the already overcrowded shed, however, then use your existing rake, especially if it’s got a plastic end. Use the rake to drag the leaves into separate piles across the lawn, then gather up the piles and transfer them to your compost, helping it to mulch down.
Alternatively, you may prefer to keep the leaves in a lush leaf mould. In this case, put them into a good bin liner, and store them. Again, dampness will help the decomposition process, so make sure you add water if they’re getting dry, remembering that different leaves take longer to break down (interestingly, oak and beech take the longest… and we have plenty of both in the UK).
Although fallen leaves won’t necessarily damage your artificial lawn, you’ll still need to rake them up, so that the lawn continues to look gorgeous throughout the winter. But let’s see the fallen leaves as our foliage friends – A bonus, falling free from the air – for use either in your compost, or potting soil, or to condition your existing beds. But don’t ‘leave’ them where they are… !