Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Why Bother Raking the Leaves Off the Lawn?

septembre 13
Photo: terren in Virginia

Perennials, shrubs, trees, etc. tolerate fall leaves and even love it their base is covered with dead leaves in the autumn. This creates a natural mulch that feeds them and protects them from the harsh winter conditions to come. Lawns, on the other hand, cannot tolerate such an invasion. Remember that lawns don’t exist in the wild. They are an artificial medium maintained only by hard work.

The problem is that lawn grasses continue to carry out photosynthesis throughout the fall and until the ground freezes, so they need as much sun as they can get. Fall leaves cut off their source of energy. It therefore is necessary to continue to rake up leaves until the growth of the lawn stops, which is usually, in Northern gardens, when snow or a good solid freezing finally ends their growing season. The presence of a few leaves won’t harm a lawn, but when a layer of leaves forms that cuts off all the light, it’s time to get your rake or blower out and move those leaves somewhere else.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

  1. Aw, don’t tell them not to rake their leaves. I spend the fall picking up those tidy, clear, plastic bags of leaves that my neighbors dump on the curb. It’s free mulch, and I call it treasure hunting.

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