Garden Tools, Gardening Year, George, Hiring Help in the Garden, How To, Trees, Wildlife

how to deal with falling leaves

As anyone with deciduous trees in their back garden will know, autumn can be a beautiful, but laborious, time of year. As the foliage turns to stunning shades of reds and yellows, it begins to drop, and drop… and drop. Learning how to deal with falling leaves is a challenge every gardener must face, so to help out we’ve rounded up the best tips for you.

Why do you need to sweep up leaves?

Fallen leaves can smother the lawn, suffocate plants and introduce diseases into the soil. If you can’t see the top of the blades of grass, or if over a third of the lawn is covered, then it’s time to clear away the leaves.

Remember leaves will continue to fall throughout the season, so it’s worth planning a day to clear up the leaves every few weeks until winter.

Are leaves good for wildlife?

Some creatures do like to use fallen leaves as shelter, particularly worms and other insects. So it’s good to do your bit for the local wildlife and leave a small patch of leaves undisturbed.

wildlife in leaves

Is it OK to mow over leaves?

Yes, mowing over leaves can help to shred them and make them easier to mulch. But heavy falls and wet leaves can be tough to mow.

Watch out for pine needles

Pine needles will decompose into an acidic mulch, which is only suitable for certain plants. So it’s worth sweeping these up and bagging them separately from the leaves for later use. Helpfully, pine needles usually drop first.

How to clear up fallen leaves

  1. Rake the leaves into piles. You can use a leaf blower to help create rough piles first (or blow the leaves straight back into woodland).
  2. Rake the piles onto leaf bags or a sheet and gather up. The folding Leaf Eazi Leaf Collector is a great tool for this.
  3. Drag these bags off the lawn and store for later use.

A leaf vacuum is another useful tool for collecting autumn leaves. Look for one with a shredding function to make disposing of the leaves even more efficient.

raking leaves

Should you rake wet or dry leaves?

You can rake up leaves when they are wet or dry. If they’re wet, they’ll form a more grabbable solid lump, but be much heavier to move. Beware wet leaves can also contain mould or mildew, which can set off allergies. To use a leaf vacuum the leaves will need to be dry.

What do you do with leaves after you rake them?

The best thing to do is turn fallen leaves into compost. This saves waste and returns the nutrients back to your garden. Firstly, make sure you remove diseased leaves from the pile and bin them to avoid spreading the infection. If you can, shredding the remaining leaves will help speed up the decomposition process. Then put the leaves onto the compost heap to biodegrade. Use the fresh compost on your flowerbeds the following spring!

Are leaves good for garden soil?

You can mulch some of the leaves directly into the lawn, provided there is not too thick a layer, and send their goodness straight into the soil. You need to see at least half the grass through the leaves for this to work. Start by aerating the lawn. Then chop the leaves into small pieces using a lawn mower. As the leaves mulch, they will decompose and their nutrients will run straight down into the soil.

mulch

If you have plants that like a lot of mulch (like shrubs, garlic and roses) you can make the mulch and then rake it straight onto the flowerbed. The best time of year for mulching is in the autumn, to help protect your plants over the winter frosts.

Help for dealing with falling leaves

If all else fails you can hire a professional leaf cleaner. But clearing up the leaves is a rewarding task, and with the help of our leaf collectors, should be done in a breeze!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Gardening, Hiring Help in the Garden, Make over

Dex the digger, brought his mate Luke to work one day saying that he would share his wages with him, but needed, or perhaps he said wanted,  someone else to work with, I can’t quite remember. Well, pleased that the work would get done quicker, I insisted that Luke should be paid equal wages too.  Seeing two grown men working  for half wages did not sit right with me.  However, over the next few days, it did seem to be taking a long time to do these last bits of garden. work  Then the rain came, and came and came and came, so that when Dex and Luke came to work, they had to take shelter in the shed at frequent intervals. I was away for 3 days and left them to work, as I had done before when Dex worked alone. This time on my return however, there definitely did seem to be less work done than when Dex had been alone.  Did I smell a rat? Had it rained that much? Was I getting paranoid?   I pondered over the weekend, and decided to ask Dex to come to work early on Monday, without Luke.  I would then work with him most of the day myself. I rang on Sunday to arrange this, but couldn’t speak to Dex directly, leaving a message instead.  Early Monday came and went. Dex did arrive late morning with Luke, full of apologies.  Unfortunately his personal life had fallen apart that weekend and he had to travel from Kent that morning, from where he was now staying.  The cost was outrageous and accounted for most of his earnings that day. We all three worked in the garden till early afternoon and got most jobs finished and the place looking tidy.  The new turf had taken well and loved all the rain.  I had bought just the Cordyline I wanted and found the perfect place for it. But that was the last I saw of Dex and was left feeling very sad for him. I left thinking about the rest of the garden for another time.

      

Gardening, Hiring Help in the Garden, How To, Make over

I am over the worry of it now and on the downhill stretch.  There were enough bricks reclaimed to remake the wall, and it looks great in light yellow colours of the old London Stock bricks that the house is built in. The path beside it we started in the crazy paving that was down before.  However, I was using them only because they were there.  I don’t really like the look of crazy paving in a Victorian house setting. The Dex came up with a plan.  He had only just started and the cement was still wet.  It takes quite a time to fit the jigsaw puzzle together and we reasoned that laying concrete was quicker.  Dex’s master plan was to inlay white stones in the cement.  I was due to rush to Sussex on a school pick up run in an hour, but chose to rush to the local Jewsons to buy more cement and white stones.  I couldn’t quite picture the white path, but took a chance that my taste and Dex’s would match. I flew down to Sussex, but had a bad night there imagining the path to look like a long trail from the top of a grave. The next morning a friend commented that that he had never seem a garden makeover with a graveyard theme….that helped.

But it was lovely and I am so pleased.  It still has to have a resin coating so I think it will wear well.

                

Gardening, Hiring Help in the Garden

And just little Topsy, it grew.

The work has now expanded and is transforming ¾ of the garden; transforming in a good way.  It’s just that, although relatively inexpensive, in terms of labour, the whole job has still cost a small fortune. It’s one of those buying things you sometimes do in Ikea or a pound shop where all the things are such good value for money that you end up buying them all, get to the till, and then faint. I really would never have dreamed of putting this amount of money into the garden.

And I am also not going to feel even more uncomfortable about having done it by adding up all the expenditures to know EXACTLY how much it has cost. I want to be able to just get to the bit where I buy the plants, the delicious bit, without really knowing. After all, I have already got to the squirming stage without the real pleasure, to offset it… And it will be wonderful, like a new garden again after 30 years, I will have fun out there, breakfast, parties, padding pools, I will lounge, sunbathe and, and……no, I will just enjoy working in it like I always do. I will look at it and drink in the beauty of it, you just can’t put a price on that. Perhaps this is not so exciting a stage anyway as it is all the hard landscaping of wall and path preparation, all mud and cement.

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