Greener Landcare Through Onsite Leaf Mulching

In an article on line in grounds magazine, Zac Reicher and Glenn Hardebeck Reviewed studies done at several well known universities on this topic. In reviewing these studies, leaves were mulched directly into the  turf. Formal mulching devices like the flowtron mulcher were not needed, instead, leaves  were mulched with a mulching mower on top of the turf:

“The easiest and cheapest way to dispose of leaves is to mulch them into the turf. This is not a new idea, but universities have only recently compiled enough data to determine that tree-leaf mulching has no long-term negative effects on the turf. Studies at Michigan State, Cornell, Rutgers and Purdue have concluded that mulching tree leaves is an excellent disposal method that does not harm healthy turf…… After application to the plots, we immediately mowed the leaves with a mulching mower”.

They did find that it was necessary to add nitrogen to the turf to balance out the high organic content of the leaves which are low in nitrogen, and found that there was literally no detrimental effect to mulching the leaves into the lawn:

“ We found that even the high rate of tree leaves had no effect on turf visual quality, color or growth. Although we expected tree leaves to tie up nitrogen in the soil, we saw no long-term effects of tree leaves on turf growth regardless of the nitrogen rate we applied”

The study found that by using a mulching mower, the leaves would reduce overall fertilization costs, and eliminate the cost of gathering the leaves, and trucking them out to a larger composting facility. The recommendation is that golf courses, ground maintenance crews, and by implication, communities of home owners could save money through simple on site mulching.

For more details on the results of this study, go to nhttp://www.grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_mulching_tree_leaves/

Lets give some serious thought to how we  manage leaves. Is it really so hard to mulch the leaves on site with a mulcher or a mulching mower rather than blowing them out to the curb and removing them? Might it not in fact be simpler and easier?

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