Will a Blanket of Dead Leave Harm My Yard?

Posted on Jan 1, 2019 9:00:00 AM by Stephanie Morgan

Will a Blanket of Dead Leave Harm My Yard? | The Experienced Gardener

As the fall gives way to winter your schedule is likely getting more and more hectic. There are end-of-year goals to meet and forecasting for the New Year to be done. Not to mention a long list of social and family events to attend. The busyness of this season may lead you to neglect certain areas of your life. Lawn care is one area that some people let slide through the fall and winter. It is easy to put your lawn care tasks at the back of your mind when the grass and weeds have slowed down. You may even like the way a thick blanket of leaves looks on your yard. The problem with neglecting your yard all fall and winter is that the blanket of dead leaves can actually cause harm. The layer of leaves on your grass can block nutrients from getting to it and provide shelter to harmful pests. In order to have the yard you want in the spring, it is necessary to deal with the leaves on your yard.

Block out the sun and other nutrients

During the winter, most types of grass go into a state of dormancy. This means that the grass does not grow like it does during the warmer months. The grass may turn brown and look dead but typically is it just in dormancy. During this time you get a break from constantly needing to mow, trim, and fertilize your yard. This can make you feel like you have a break from all yard tasks. But, if your yard is full of dead leaves you still have some work to do. A layer of dead leaves on your grass can potentially block out all the sun, water, and other nutrients it needs. There is debate on this topic and the fact is there will have to be a very thick layer of leaves on your yard to do damage. So, you do not have to panic and run out to remove each leaf that falls off a tree. But, you do need to keep the leaves from blanketing your yard for an extended time period in order to protect it.

Give shelter to harmful pests

There are a number of different ways pests respond to the colder months. One way is to go into a hibernation-like state called diapause. In this state, pests reduce their body functions to the bare minimum so they can wait out the cold and lack of food. Other pests lay their eggs, which will overwinter in an immature state, until the weather warms up. Either way, these pests need some type of protection from the elements to survive until spring. A blanket of dead leaves on your yard can provide plenty of shelter to these pests. In addition, lots of leaves can hide areas of standing water which pests like mosquitos love.

There is no way to get around the fact that getting and maintaining a nice yard takes work. If you neglect your yard completely in fall and winter it will take more work to get it up to par in the spring. Consistent effort throughout the year and professional help when needed are the best ways to get the yard of your dreams.

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Topics: San Joaquin Valley, General Info, Gardens