Learning lawns, leaves, landscapes


Tony Nye - OSU Extension



Are you all waiting in anticipation for the “Great Pumpkin” to appear? This might be one of my all-time favorite “Peanuts” episodes. Certainly, many ghost and goblins will be out and about over the next few days celebrating Halloween. My word to the wise: Don’t eat too much candy!

Besides Halloween, this is also time for leaves on and off the trees. Oh sure, they look nice when they change color and are still on the trees, but what about after they fall?

I am sure many of you are raking, blowing, or vacuuming up all these leaves then bagging them. A chore that has been a little difficult with the breezy days we have recently had; a chore I have no desire to complete at our house.

I am sure some of you, if allowed, have considered burning them. I would not recommend burning first and foremost due to the main fact we are very dry. In fact, this is one of the driest late summer/early fall periods since going back to the late 1800’s.

Burning leaves is a waste of energy. Locked inside that leaf are nutrients ready to recycle back into the soil. Trees pull energy from the soil, use it in the process of making leaves, and in all types of plant growth and development, then the leaves fall to the ground, they decompose, and return that energy to the soil.

Burning leaves robs the soil of that recycled energy.

So, what can one do? You can certainly compost them and then use around trees, shrubs and plants at a later time. Some will shred them and use as a mulch this time of year.

Another idea would be to shred them with a mower returning them back to the lawn.

Lawns benefit from shredded leaves too. Research from Michigan State University shows shredded leaves in the turf adds organic matter and mulches bare patches of soil, blocking potential germinating weed seed. In their research plots at MSU, they had 100% control of dandelion after three years of shredding fall leaves into the lawn.

While you are out enjoying the leaves consider what you might also do that will benefit your lawn and landscape for next year. As in many years there have been many issues to contend with from insect damage like bagworms, diseases like die back, canker and the extremes we get from Mother Nature.

Get to class

Whether you spend a lot of time in your yard or just the occasional gardener, I would like to suggest you attend an upcoming Lawn and Garden program, sponsored by the Clinton County Extension Office and the Clinton County Master Gardeners.

The program will be held 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 2 at the Clinton County Extension Community Room, 111 S. Nelson Ave. in Wilmington.

Benjamin Collings, local Clinton County Master Gardener, will be presenting, “Fall Lawn and Bed Care: Guidelines for a Successful Spring”, along with yours truly.

Besides Benjamin’s presentation, we will look to answer your questions along with addressing some of the major problems associated with weeds, disease, and insects we experienced this past year.

We all like enjoying our landscapes but it is so important to take some time this time of year and early winter to winterize our landscapes. We can literally spend hundreds of dollars trying to keep our lawn and gardens looking nice each year.

Spending some hours in our landscapes this time of year could help in having a much nicer, healthier, more problem free landscape next year.

We hope you can come out to our program next week. Cost is free to attend, but we do ask that you RSVP, as we are planning to have some refreshments during the program and will provide handouts of information to those attending.

You can RSVP by calling the Extension office at 937-382-0901.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

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Tony Nye

OSU Extension