DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Picking up leaves frozen to the ground

How to get frozen leaves off your lawn

The quick freeze caught many of us with leaves now frozen to the ground. So how do we get these leaves peeled off the grass to pick them up?

A steel (not plastic) rake can do it, but it really is hard work. A mechanical option that works well is to use a de-thatching attachment on your lawn mower.

These come in many different designs ranging from metal prongs mounted on the front or back of the mower.
 This one attaches to the front of mower
 like this
And the other option is to remove the mower blade and replace it with a dethatching blade like this.
I prefer the blade option, because the prongs in the front will clog up with leaves and have to be cleared out, whereas the blade with the springs does a good job of tearing the leaves up so they will break down faster in mulching and is less likely to clog.
Both methods will do two jobs at once for you, not only are you breaking free the frozen leaves, but you are dethatching the lawn at the same time as shown in this video.
The main problem a DIY Homeowner will have is the surprising amount of material being gathered, filling your bagging system within one or two passes. A way to speed up this process is to either get the trailer or pickup you are using to haul off the material as close as possible, or, buy a dozen small tarps and put them all around the lawn so you do not have as far to walk to dump your bag.
A quick note on throwing away or burning leaves, leaves are one of the highest nutrient compost you can put into your lawn or put around your trees. If possible, take the mulched leaves and use them as ground cover in your tree wells. At the very least you should compost them and incorporate them into your garden. This includes Maples, Willow and most Oak leaves. Be careful not to use Black Walnut in that these trees produce the toxin juglone which can harm plants (see link).

This is a fun video discussing leaf composting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Yard Check List

A quick Yard check up list for this early winter.

1. Have you wrapped or covered the trunks of your younger trees to prevent sun scald

2. Remove the snow and wrap your evergreens so they will not break under the extreme snow loads

3. When the weather breaks (which we usually see windows of warmer weather) be ready to prune your shrubs and trees while they are dormant. Keep in mind though, you do not want to prune when the branches are frozen and the cell structure shatters.

4. Do NOT throw away those leaves, they are the best mulch you can build for your garden.

5. Keep up the worm farm even in this weather, this will be your jump start for great soil next year.