Raking all the leaves in the yard during fall can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, however it’s important to keep in mind that removing them is essential to the health of your lawn. A thick layer of leaves on your yard prevents it from absorbing air, nutrients, and sunlight. As it becomes difficult for air, water, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the lawn’s root system, a lawn may develop disease, cause flooding, or even attract pests. As the leaves rot, mold and fungus can fester and harm your lawn. In addition, the weight of the layer of leaves can prevent new grass from emerging next spring.
One possible unfortunate side effect of not raking the leaves on your lawn is fungus. One of the most common causes of lawn fungal disease is humid weather conditions and cool temperatures, so the fall has optimal conditions for fungus growth. A thick layer of leaves covering your lawn all autumn can create the perfect conditions for fungus to infect your lawn.
When a lawn is suffering from lawn fungal disease, there will be yellow, white, or brown spots on the lawn. Alternatively, dark, wet, slimy patches of grass are a sure sign that your lawn is not healthy. In the fall, dollar spots will be the most common type of fungal infection. Dollar spots are small, roughly silver dollar sized, discolorations in the grass. As the fungus spreads, these spots merge together forming large clumps of discolored grass. There are fungicides that can help eliminate an outbreak of lawn fungal disease, but the best measure really is prevention. Making sure the leaves in your lawn are raked is the first and most effective way to deter fungal growth in the fall.
In addition to fungus, a thick layer of leaves on your lawn can prevent water from heavy rains from draining properly. Flooding will cause your lawn to be over watered and suffer from lack of oxygen and shallow roots. Depending on the length and severity of the overwatering due to flooding, this can cause serious damage to your lawn.
Flooding can also have dire consequences for your belongings since a clogged up outdoor drain can cause flooding, particularly in the basement areas of your home. If left unchecked, this can destroy belongings, cause fungal growth, or even damage the home’s foundation. Along with proper raking and disposal of leaves in your lawn, be sure to check any drains around your yard and clear them of leaves.
A layer of leaves on the lawn for a long period of time can also attract a variety of lawn destroying pests. High concentrations of leaves are a great place for bugs and critters to hide out in and stay warm as it gets colder. In addition, once deprived of sunlight and nutrients grass becomes vulnerable to being overtaken by weeds. This damage can have lasting effects once the ground thaws and spring sets in. Luckily as soon as the winter sets in, pests are no longer a problem for your lawn, so you only have to worry about fighting them off for a short time! As usual with your lawn, proper maintenance at the right times of the year is sure to prevent big problems later on.
Don’t forget that removing the leaves gives your lawn one last chance to soak up the sun and warmth before the grey winter season.
If you’re interested in help with your seasonal yard maintenance call us at (636) 688-6647 and ask about our Fall Yard Clean Up Services. We’d love to help!