I keep thinking…if people mow their lawns, bag the clippings and rake up all the leaves, where does the lawn soil get any organic material from? It’s an interesting question and one that I haven’t found the answer to yet.
I used to bag the lawn clippings. I was having fun doing it too. Then, I read that I could just mow the lawn and let the clipping stay. Of course the article was written by one of those freaky granola people with a dirt lawn. You know the type, the guy who tries to eat the lawn weeds. I always try to take advice from people I want to be like, not some weirdo who jumped on the “green” train. So, I kept on reading articles from a variety of authors. I came to the conclusion that leaving the grass clippings on the lawn is okay if you mow frequently. If you mow infrequently, you will get big grass clumps that will kill the grass underneath. I think I can handle mowing regularly. About half way through this last Summer, I stopped bagging and the lawn looked the same thereafter.
The whole reason I did that research is because every time I bagged the clippings, I felt like I was taking a little bit of love away from the soil. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how that soil was going to get the organic material back. I mean, was it from the leaves I pick up every Autumn? No, because they obviously aren’t there anymore (I picked them up, duh).
I had a vision in my head…I visualized the lawn in five years. It was horrible. Everything was in black and white and looked barren like the moon’s surface. You can even use Mars as an example. I didn’t like having a lawn with no nutrients and dark soil. I decided to keep reading and to research what would happen if I just mulched up the leaves that fall from the trees every year and kept them right there on the grass. Well, wouldn’t you just know it, other people were having the same thoughts and a group up at Michigan State University did a study on this exact topic.
You can read about it here.
I am going to jump right to the conclusion of their study. They said that it is okay to mulch your leaves into the grass and it’s actually better for the soil. It helps out all those microbes and the worms as well. I know about the worms because my compost pile is FULL of them. Worms like organic material. If the lawn had more organic material, I could imagine that the worms would find their way there.
I’m going to do it. This year, I am going to mulch the leaves and leave them on the lawn. I am going to have to do a really thorough job though because there are a lot of leaves. That’s good because there are some areas of this lawn where the soil is just stripped of any nutrients. I wouldn’t even call it soil anymore. It’s like dust when it gets dry.
I suppose I could always just spread peat moss or compost over the grass every Autumn. That wouldn’t really be fun. Besides, where would I get my compost? From the big pile of leaves and grass clippings I raked up and bagged the year before?
This year will be the experiment. I will let you know how it goes. If things look good in the Spring, I will tell you. Actually, I will tell you either way. It can’t get any worse than it is now. Although, I am looking at the grass after a three week spell of no rain and a thorough dethatching job. Things ain’t looking so great.