Field of Science

Leaving leaves

 Our property is one big garden with lots of big trees, deciduous trees.  They produce lots of leaves.  Getting lawn care people to even stop by and then offer a fair and decent price to clean them up is a challenge just in itself, and it's just too big of a job for a couple of gardeners as old as we.  Now we do string a rope and put a large net over the lily pond because otherwise it would fill up with decaying leaves and turn anaerobic and nucky.  We do manage to pull the net off and dump out the leaves, often wet, and this year it took two dumpings before the leaves were under control.  A low fence acts as a snow fence and piles up the leaves adjcent to the pond where they can be vacuumed up and put in a place where needed.  Mostly we hire guys to blow leaves into a pile and then drag them to a part of the garden where woodland conditions are wanted.  The area is generally home to spring ephemerals, like 7 or 8 species of Trillium about half of which are natives, but unfortunately the recent invasion of jumping worms processes the leave much faster than before rather than build up a humus layer.  You don't think of worms being invasive but this species along with the much better known nightcrawler, are both introduced and move way more organic matter around the soil then the natives.  Too bad there isn't a plant that they just hate so much they stay away.   By spring the thick layer of leaves witll be substantially reduced in thickness, and some native plants will do well as a tesult.  Wild garlic or leek, and seedlings of spice bush are appearing in lots of patches, and for the time being these are being welcomed. This is all still better than burning the leaves (against city ordinances) or bagging them for composing by the city.  This year the leaves stayed green so long into October that we began to wonder it they would provide color at all.  Any more ideas out there for dealing with lots of leaves?  

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