After a long hot summer, most everyone is ready for the cooler temperatures and lower humidity of fall. As beautiful as this season can be, with trees displaying an array of hues, all turfgrass managers know those colorful leaves eventually tumble from the treetops to liter their landscapes. On the ground, leaves signal that it’s time to start working.
Interestingly, a light cover of leaves during a week of frosty night temperatures can actually keep the grass (especially Zoysia) green for a prolonged period of time in the fall. This effect is especially noticed after the leaves are removed. While a few leaves wont harm your turfgrass, a thick layer of leaves is not only unpleasant to view but also can cause problems for the turfgrass. The down side come when fallen leaves are allowed to accumulate, blocking sunlight from reaching grass blades and limiting air circulation, which could cause turf disease to proliferate. In addition a smothering layer of wet leaves keeps soil moist, which can cause turf roots to rot if the soil stays wet long enough, possibly killing large patches of turfgrass. In short, ignoring leaves is not an option!
Once leaves begin to drop, either due to late summer droughts or near freezing temperatures, it’s time to deal with the problem, and leaf removal should become a weekly operation. Whether you opt to rake, mow, blow or vacuum leaves, it’s always better to act before rain arrives, which transforms dry leaves in to soaked, heavy mats. Wet leaves are always harder to handle, making the job more difficult and time consuming.
In Alabama, the major leaf removal season usually starts in October, with the bulk of the leaves falling before Christmas, and January is usually spent doing the final clean up. At Twelve Oaks Landscape we include leaf removal in most of our basic maintenance programs please do not hesitate to contact us so we can help take you more step towards developing a beautiful lawn.