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Keyword: mulched leaves

Baltimore County leafcyclingContributed by Mother Nature

Psst, come closer. I want to share a well-kept secret with you - “Leafcycling.” Haven’t heard of “Leafcycling?” Well, you’re not alone. So let me tell you a little story. To start, we must go back to spring when the deciduous trees are emerging from their long winter “sleep” and their leaves begin to grow.

Leaves take in sunlight and carbon dioxide, and through an amazing process turn it into the food that a tree needs to thrive. Leaves also produce life-giving oxygen for the planet and help to moderate its temperature. Leaves perform this task day in and day out from spring to fall.

When summer ends and temperatures drop, these hard-working little gems provide a magnificent show of colors. But even as these little wonders fall from their branches, they still have much to offer when given the chance. That is where “Leafcycling” comes into play.

Instead of wasting your leaves by raking, bagging and putting them out for the County to collect, put these little gems to use enriching your yard. The easiest way to “Leafcycle” is to run your lawnmower over the leaves where they have fallen and leave the clippings on the lawn. These clippings will decompose over time and enrich the soil with valuable nutrients.

There are a few simple rules that you should follow when “Leafcycling” to obtain the best results:

  • Instead of waiting for all of the leaves to fall and mulching them in one cutting, do multiple cuttings. This is especially true if you have a lot of leaves.
  • Chop the leaves as finely as possible. The finer the particles, the quicker they will decompose. A mulching mower will assist in this process, but any mower can be used.
  • Make sure the leaf particles don’t cover the tops of the grass blades. You don’t want to smother your lawn.

If the mulched leaves are higher than the tops of the grass blades, you can place the excess around your annual plants, shrubs, hedges and trees. A six-inch layer of mulched leaves will quickly settle into the ideal three-inch layer that will help to keep soil moist and protect the plants’ roots through winter.

Make it easy on yourself and give your lawn, garden and the environment a boost by using these little gems as I intended.

Thanks from Mother Nature and the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Recycling Division.


Revised April 6, 2016