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Oak Leaves: Better Management with a Lawnmower

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Before snowflakes starts to fly in your part of the country, consider taking out your lawnmower one last time. No, you don't need to mow grass--chances are by December the lawn is dormant--but your mower can be used to mulch those last remaining leaves in your yard.

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If you live in the northern United States, you've probably raked up all the maple tree leaves and shrub leaves by mid-October. But leaves on large oak trees may still be shedding, and they need to be dealt with before winter. Oak tree leaves are large and woody, and smother your grass if you leave them on your lawn.

Mulching with your lawnmower is less expensive and takes less time than raking and bagging, plus your lawn can reap the benefits of an extra dose of natural fertilizer in the spring. Research clearly indicates that the practice of mulching leaf litter into existing turfgrass canopies provides benefits for the soil and the turfgrass plant. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, many university research studies show that leaf mulching is good for the lawn.

Use the Lawnmower to Mulch

To use your lawnmower as a mulching machine, take the grass catcher off (if you have one), and simply mow the fallen leaves that are on your lawn. You may opt to get a mulching attachment for your lawnmower (about $50).

You may need to go over certain areas several times--the goal is to get the leaves as small as a dime. You can use this mulching technique not only on oak but on any type of leaves in the fall.

By mulching leaves, you save time over bagging them, and you save money in the spring. You are rewarded in the spring, too, when your grass starts to grow and requires little or no fertilizer. For more information on what to do with the extra leaf litter in your yard, read about Options for Disposing of Leaves from the University of Minnesota.

About the Author
Marcia Passos Duffy is a seasoned freelance writer specializing in small business, gardening, farming, personal finance, B2B, food, travel and other topics. She is widely published online an in print; her credits include Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Fox Business, AAA Home & Away Magazine, Smart Busines Magazine, among others. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association.

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