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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Gardening with Allen: Two ways to keep grass green


When I raked the leaves off my lawn I noticed yellow areas. Is that caused by the leaves? Should I save my leaves?

Anything that shades the lawn from the sun can cause yellowing. You can have a green lawn through the entire winter if you keep the leaves picked up. Grass will stay green even when top growth stops with freezing temperatures. You might as well enjoy green grass instead of letting it turn yellow or brown.

There are two ways you could do a more frequent job without as much work. You could use a blower and blow them into your shrubs and perennial flowers as a mulch. Plants like roses and strawberries will come through the winter with less damage if they are mulched.

You can also scatter leaves over your vegetable garden or annual flower beds. Till or spade them into the soil with the leftover plants. Adding organic matter this way is the best way to improve your soil so all your plants grow better.

You could also pick up your leaves using a rotary lawn mower with a catcher. A mower chops the leaves into small pieces. It also reduces the volume to a third or less. The chopped leaves break down more quickly than whole leaves when placed in a compost pile or pit. They can also be used as mulch.

Leaves are one of the best ingredients for composting. A combination of chopped leaves and grass clippings break down quickly into a fine mulch. It does not take much room for a compost pile. Adding a little soil and some lawn fertilizer and sprinkling with water if needed will help speed the process.

Turning the compost over with a fork or shovel once a month also helps.

Fertilizing your lawn in the fall helps keep it green all winter. Grass will stay green even after it stops growing. Roots take up nitrogen even after top growth stops. Nitrogen is used to make amino acids which are stored in the plants. Amino acids are used to make earlier green growth next spring even before the soil is warm enough to take up fertilizer.