Gardening Rookie: Drowning in Leaves

| 11/10/2009 11:17:50 AM

Help me! My yard has been overtaken by leaves—big leaves, small leaves, brown leaves, red leaves—and I don’t know whether I’ll be able to dig myself out. 

I’m feeling more than a bit overwhelmed by the leaf takeover at my house, and I know I’m not alone. What’s a green gardener to do to keep all those leaves in order?

You could just not rake the leaves and hope they’ll blow away.

autumn leaves
They may look lovely, but an abundance of leaves left on the lawn all winter can kill your grass. Mow over the leaves and spread them across the yard so your lawn can reap the benefits of decomposing leaves’ nutrients. Photo by mksfly/Courtesy Flickr. 

But if you’re like me and you live in an area where your neighbors keep their leaves cleaned up each fall, you might not want to leave them lying around. Plus, leaves can be slippery and dangerous if they collect on sidewalks and in streets. And thick leaves left on the grass all winter can actually harm your yard rather than helping it—trust me, you won’t be pleased if you discover your lawn is dead come spring.

Still, you don’t have to haul your leaves away to the dump. Why would you want to when those leaves are a great source of nutrients for your soil?