A study conducted over several years at Purdue University shows that using a rotary mower to mulch leaves into the lawn, rather than raking them up, has no detrimental effect on turf health. In fact, the mulched leaves may improve soil conditions. Added benefits of mulching leaves include saving time raking and saving the cost of hauling bags of leaf litter away. Furthermore, mulching disposes of the leaves without filling up city landfills.
New research at Michigan State University* is suggesting that there may even be some herbicidal effects of mulched tree leaves. In a 2004-2005 study, mulched maple leaves (particularly sugar maple) were seen to control broadleaf weeds like dandelions.
*Reference: Kowalewski,A., Buhler,B., Lang,S., Nair,M., and Rogers. J. (2007) Effect of Mulched Maple Leaves on Common Dandelion in Established Kentucky Bluegrass. ASA Abstract.
Authors: Pamela Sherratt & Dr. Dave Gardner
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