To the Editor:
Each fall, homeowners are faced with the task of disposing of leaves. Environmental laws passed in the 1990s forbid burning of leaves and dumping leaves in landfills in many places. Citizens often object to compost piles of leaves because of odor. What to do?
There is a simple and cost-effective solution – leaf mulching. In 1991, Michigan State University studied the effect of mulching various types of leaves into existing lawns. It conducted other studies, as well. The results are impressive:
1. Weed control – significantly fewer weeds grew on plots where certain leaves were mulched. There can be nearly a 100 percent decrease in dandelions and crabgrass after adopting certain mulching practices for three years.
2. Leaves are fertilizer – mulching leaves into the lawn can be like an application of fertilizer.
Thus, mulching leaves can have the dual effect of producing better lawns and solving the problem of leaf disposal for the homeowner and our cities. Presently, homeowners and cities spend considerable resources disposing of leaves. Let’s save resources by mulching.
I have practiced mulching for 10 years and can vouch for its effectiveness. Mulching requires no special equipment. Simply take the grass catcher off the mower, and mow over the leaves until they are dime-sized. This may require several passes. Six inches of leaves may be mulched at a time. Applying fall fertilizer after mulching hastens the decomposition of leaves.