Grounds maintenance: tree leaf mulching can be good for the lawn
A leaf-mulching program may make sense for grounds maintenance managers in government. Two turf researchers from Purdue University found that mulching tree leaves may improve soil properties, thanks to increased microbial activity and water-infiltration rates. Each lawn needs to be evaluated individually, say grounds maintenance experts Zac Reicher and Glenn Hardebeck.
There’s no question that grounds maintenance departments have to do something with leaves. Tree leaves can shade the turf, robbing it of precious photosynthetic activity in the late fall. Even thin layers of tree leaves trap humidity at the turf surface and increase the chance of snow mold during winter. Thicker layers of leaves can smother and completely kill the turf. Removing the interference from fallen tree leaves also allows late-season nitrogen applications to reach the turf more effectively, and improves the efficacy of late-season broadleaf herbicide applications. Therefore, for optimum turf health, it is critical to remove the tree leaves, or at least break them up.
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