If you don’t know already, my lawn in planted in zoysia – a warm-weather grass. And that means my lawn is starting to brown and getting ready to take a winter’s nap. So you might think that I can take a break from lawn care until spring returns and my lawn greens up again. But that isn’t the case at all. When it comes to lawn care, November’s more important than you think.
Even though many lawns in Virginia Beach and throughout the region are going dormant, they still need protection from things that could do them harm. It’s an important time to cut your lawn to a proper, short length; to clean up sticks and debris; to fertilize and amend your soil. If you’re not able to take care of all of that work on your own, now is a good time to give my neighborhood lawn care company, Grounds Guys, a call.
For now, I want to talk about managing your leaves – that’s something pretty much anyone can do. Local trees are dropping plenty of leaves right about now. There are some places in your yard where it’s ideal to let those leaves sit, decompose, and nourish the ground underneath. The lawn isn’t one of those places. Leaves – especially wet clumps of them – can bury your lawn and press it flat. A buried lawn won’t get the nourishing light it needs. Flattened lawns are susceptible to mold.
You might be thinking that raking leaves is the best practice for your lawn, but that isn’t true either. Raking away leaves takes away a great potential source of nutrients. What you want to do is give your lawn the best of both worlds: the nourishment offered by decomposing leaves and free access to air, water, and light.
The solution is simple: Let the leaves remain on your lawn when you mow. Rather than bagging the leaves – and sending them to landfill where they’ll do no good – mulch the leaves into small pieces. These mulched leaves will sink down to the soil, providing nutrients while letting the grass breathe. It’s better for your lawn and less effort for you – a lawn care win-win.
Hopefully you know better than to mow your grass when it’s damp. That’s even more true when you’re also dealing with wet, heavy leaves. For properly, more finely-chopped chopped mulch – and less wear and tear on your mower – wait until the leaves are dry.
My zoysia has already stopped growing, but the last of the leaves have yet to fall. Soon I’ll be out to mow my lawn – not to cut it, but to chop up the leaves. My yard might not look quite as well-manicured as my neighbors’ leaf-free lawns, but come next spring, all of those dead leaves will provide a the foundation for a lawn that my neighbors will envy.