Service Area: Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Ladysmith and surrounding areas

Fall Leaf Removal

Fall leaves are beautiful on your trees, not so much on your lawn. Aesthetics aside, a thick layer of un-shredded leaves left on top of your grass over the winter can cause problems for the health and growth of your lawn. They become an impenetrable, moldy mat that will smother the grass and block the water and sunlight needed for photosynthesis.

What is your preferred method of dealing with the leaves in your yard? Do you rake, blow, use a mulching mower, hire a lawn service or leave them on the grass and try to ignore them?

If the leaves in your yard are scattered and cover less than 20% of your lawn, you do not need to remove them, unless you want a neater appearance. However, if they cover a larger area you should manage your leaves. There are several options:

  1. As long as you can still see most of the grass you can use your lawn mower on the leaves. About once per week, as the leaves are still falling but before they accumulate into a thick layer, you can mow over your leaves, preferably with a mulching mower. It may take several passes over dry leaves to chop them into tiny pieces that can stay on your lawn and filter down through the grass blades. As they decompose, they will add nutrients into the soil.
    You may also use a bagger attachment on your mower. Add the collected chopped leaves to your garden and flower beds as mulch or to your compost pile.
  2. Raking and blowing leaves is another option. This can be a strenuous and time-consuming job. The leaves can be collected and removed from your lawn, blown into the woods or used elsewhere on your property, now or in the spring.
  3. If you need assistance with your leaves Grass Roots offers Leaf Management Services. Please contact us with questions or for information.

*Leaves can be an asset, if used properly. They are a free source of nutrients and insulation for your garden and flower beds.

Lasagna Gardening

No, this is not a way to grow ingredients for dinner. Lasagna gardening, or sheet composting is an easy method that uses a layering process to create a NO DIG, NO TILL organic garden bed. The layers break down in about 8-12 weeks, leaving you with a nutrient rich soil that is easy to work with for planting your vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Your garden can be any size you want. This method will even work in containers. Choose a fairly flat site that gets at least 4 hours of sun. You do not have to remove the grass or weeds. In fact, this layering method will help reduce the number of weeds in your garden. You can build sides around your garden space, but it is not necessary.

Just like making a lasagna, the process is all about the layering. Anything that you can put into a compost pile can go into your lasagna garden. No animal protein.

  • Begin by covering your site with 5-10 layers of newspaper, overlapping the edges by 4”. Do not use shiny or colored paper. After it is laid out, saturate the paper with water. The paper will smother the existing grass and will help to suppress future weeds. This layer will also attract earthworms which are good for the soil.
  • Cover the paper with a thin layer of compost.
  • The next layer is made up of “Browns”, the carbon-rich materials. Examples of Browns are fall leaves, shredded paper or newspaper (not colored or shiny), pine needles, peat moss, straw, and sawdust. Lightly water this layer.
  • Next add a layer of “Greens”, the nitrogen-rich materials. Examples of Greens are compost, grass clippings, vegetables and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags (no staples) and garden trimmings. Lightly water this layer.
  • Alternate Brown and Green layers, with the brown layer being twice as thick as the green. Lightly water each layer.
  • The end result should be 18”-24” tall but will shrink down quickly. You can cover the lasagna garden with black plastic if you want it to “cook” faster, but it is not necessary.
  • Keep slightly moist. Rain and snow will help it break down.
  • Fall is the best time to start a Lasagna Garden because the materials are readily available. Over winter the layers will decompose right in the bed. In the spring you will have rich, fluffy soil, with fewer weeds and better water retention. Dig In!