How wold you like to leave the leaves on the lawn this fall instead of raking them and cut down on weeds as well as improving your lawn as well? I bet you are saying sure this is November not April 1st this has got to be a joke. Well it is no joke there is new research that has shown that leaving the leaves on your lawn will not only improve the quality of the lawn but will help to cut down on dandelions as well.
Research that has been conducted by Michigan State University is showing that by leaving chopped up leaves on the lawn not only is the soil improved bu the addition of organic matter and nutrients, but the leaves contain compounds that may inhibit the germination of dandelion seeds.
The research involved Kentucky Bluegrass and the leaves were from oak and maple trees. The research shows very clearly that the chopped leaves promoted improved spring green up and reduced dandelion germination. I find this very interesting.
Previous work in this area has shown that chopped leaves actually do improve the lawn as long as the leaves are chopped fine enough . There was no ill effects on the grass it did not impact density of the grass or or the shoot growth nor did it cause a thatch problem or even effect soil ph.The big caveat here is that you must chop them fine. Whole leaves that are left on the lawn will mat down and smother the lawn killing it . In order for this to work you will need to run over the lawn several times with a rotary mower so that the leaf pieces are small enough to fall between the grass blades, and that when you are finished you will still be able to see the grass.
This is certainly important research. The amount of leaves hauled to landfills each year is staggering not mention the fuel to get them there as well as manpower. Think about how many hours would be saved each fall not raking leaves. The best part of all is that you will be improving the soil and cutting down on the use of chemicals to control weeds and feed the turf.
I for one will be trying this out because the time savings alone will be extra time for other gardening chores. I know that recycling the grass clippings has worked well in reducing the amount of fertilizer needed on our turf grass for years. Now adding the leaves will make the grass even greener. Oh and our lives a bit greener as well.
You can read the report at http://horttech.ashspublications.org