Decomposition Of Leaves During Winter

Now that the days are getting shorter and temperatures are getting lower, we can all celebrate the arrival of the beautiful fall foliage. What may not cause you to do much celebrating, though, is the thought of all of the raking that will have to be done to tidy up your yard. You can take at least a little bit of solace in knowing that you can put these old, dead leaves to good use.

Some people recommend leaving the dead leaves where they fell as a natural mulch, as opposed to purchasing pre-packaged amendments and chemical ridden fertilizers, . We actually do not recommend doing this at all, and want to let you know that there are other, healthier options. Fallen leaves will hold up to five times their weight in water, rivaling even peat moss in water retention levels. Since they retain so much water, these leaves will increase acidity levels and can smother and promote fungal diseases in the lawn underneath. This is not to say that the fallen leaves in your yard cannot be put to good use, just that you shouldn’t simply leave them where they fall, or spread them over your grass with the thought that you are boosting the health of your landscape.

So what are some healthier options for leaf removal and/or usage? The easiest option is to simply have us come and clean them up for you. Our fall cleanup services include the removal of all leaves, branches, and other debris leftover from the summer. Once we remove all of the unwanted debris from your property and landscape beds, we can either leave it in a designated area on your property (of your choosing) or we can haul it away. This may lead you to ask, “What do you guys do with it when you haul it away? Is it just going to sit in a landfill somewhere?” The answer is no. We deliver all of the debris to Earth Care Organic Farm in Charlestown, RI for composting. Earth Care Farm’s compost is composed mostly of fallen leaves that are combined with other all natural ingredients including crushed sea shells, seaweed, wood ash, mulch hay, vegetable scraps, and fish byproducts as well as farm animal and exotic manure from Roger Williams Park Zoo.

You could also always choose to use your fallen leaves yourself, and there are multiple ways to do so in a way that is healthy for your landscape. One thing you can use leaves for is to help insulate some of your more tender plants from cold temperatures and wind during the winter. Plants such as carrots, kale, and beets can benefit massively from a 6 inch blanket of leaf insulation, making it possible for you to harvest them all winter long. In addition to using them to insulate your vegetable gardens and mulch beds, you can also use fallen leaves to boost your own home compost pile. Due to their high carbon content, dead leaves will balance nitrogen rich compost ingredients like grass clippings that have likely been collecting over the course of the summer season.

When it comes down to it – there are multiple healthy, organic ways you can remove or use dead leaves once they’ve fallen into your yard. If you take advantage of this, it can lead to a more beautiful and healthy landscape for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Click here to find out more about our fall cleanup services!


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