I’m sure most of us have leaves this time of year. I was running errands the other day and saw many homes with leaves bagged by the street ready for pick-up. As I drove I wondered if everyone was aware of the benefits of fallen leaves. Besides the usual fun one, jumping in the piles, leaves are also great for your garden and lawn.
At the end of the autumn season in November we give our lawns one more cut. This serves two purposes. First, it makes our yard and gardens look tidy. The second benefit is that any leaves leftover on your lawn will be cut and therefore turned into mulch by the mower. As these cuttings decompose they provide valuable micronutrients to your yard.
If you have already raked up leaves in your yard why not add them to a compost pile and/or use some to protect perennials through the winter. With the temperatures being as warm as they have been this November, I would wait until December to cover perennials. It’s always best to start after we get our first hard frost which is usually in December.
We have found leaves are especially helpful to winter-over hardy Mums. Yes, they really are hardy. You just need to prepare them properly for the winter (especially in year one). For starters, they must be planted in the ground. We water our mums once a week through November and every other week in December, and then cover with approximately 1 inch of leaves. As soon as the flowers go by, many people stop watering their mums. They are still living and rooting in the ground and still need water after their blooms fade.
It's wonderful how trees leave such a treasure for your yard and garden.