EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.
GREEN TIP: Instead of spending time raking and bagging up your leaves this fall, use them as mulch for your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.
We have talked before about grasscycling and the long term benefits to your lawn. This fall mulch your leaves back onto your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. Leaves also make great mulch, garden cover and rich compost. It’s good for your lawn and reduces the time you spend raking.
A Drawback of Leaving Leaves at the Curb: Phosphorus
Tree leaves are full of phosphorus. Piles of leaves can release large amounts of phosphorus into surface water run-off, ultimately resulting in high concentration in rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. This can lead to changes in animal and plant populations and degradation of water and habitat quality (exessive algae bloom).
Mulching Leaves On Your Lawn
Use your mower to cut leaves into small pieces, allowing them to fall into and under the grass instead of resting on top of it. This process results in increased surface area, which in turn makes it easier for insects and microbes to consume the leaves and get the nutrients back into the soil.
Compost Your Leaves
Composting is another great way to handle leaves at home. When you add leaves to your compost bin be sure you also add some nitrogen rich material to help the leaves (which are high in carbon) break down. Grass clippings, fruit scraps and vegetable scraps are an excellent source of nitrogen. You can also speed up the composting process by chopping up your leaves before you put them in the bin.
Some people like to keep a few bags of leaves to add to their compost piles throughout the year.
Source: City of Madison
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Ecosystem Gardening is about teaching you how to become a steward of your own property and to begin making positive choices in your own backyard for wildlife and the environment.