Will mulching leaves over time negatively effect soil?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Florida Gardener, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. I have a customer with a ton of ficus that i mulch into the grass after trimming.....over time, will this have a negative effect?
     
  2. loupiscopolandscaping

    loupiscopolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 320

    depends on many variables...mulching leaves turn into soil with lots of nutrients that will help build a lawn...but if theres to many leaves to mulch and they clump up in areas, those areas could kill the lawn due to lack of sunlight...also check to see the thatch status in the lawn...not much thatch maybe a good idea..to much thatch maybe not a good idea...to much moisture, watch out fungus
     
  3. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    The best way to use mulched up leaves is in a compost pile. Let the heat of decomposition along with microbes do their thing and render it to organic material that is beneficial to our soil here in FL.

    Leaf litter blown under shrubs or mulched into lawns can become a vector for pests and diseases. It's not in the best interest of your customer. In the cooler months mulching leaves into the lawn take a lot longer to break down. All the composting processes are influenced by temperature.

    I understand that the money may not be there to put the additional time in when originally bidded. It's hard when you can't get the customer to pay up for a cleanup. Also, I know it's frustrating to have to deal with the neighbor's leaves and crap blown into your service location.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Mulch is always good for the soil, but as stated, it may be a problem for the plants that are there. If it doesn't hurt the plants and/or create disease pest problems, definately go for it.

    Mulch produces organic matter in the soil and is the single most important component of any soil for any type of plant growth. Moisture holding capacity, air in the soil, cation exchange sites, perculation, etc. are all important for a healthy plant.
     
  5. loupiscopolandscaping

    loupiscopolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 320

    i usually dn't mulch leaves, except at 1 clients house....she MAKES me mulch them...if i dnt mulch the leaves ill loose the job.lol...anyway she has a large property, but we blow the planting beds, and lawn areas into the wooded areas. then take my Z Master and make some Confettie lol.
     
  6. Jb3NH

    Jb3NH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    Feed the soil. ammend if it gets too heavy
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I can't imagine that the soil would become 'too heavy'... I would think that after a few years of mulching, you soil would become light, airy, with great water holding potential...
    At least in the top couple inches... :)
     
  8. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,533

    Maybe with proper aeration and topdressing. All soils compact over time.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  9. Jb3NH

    Jb3NH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    @ smallaxe Yeah your most likely right on. I'm trying to get a greater grasp of organics, i apologize if i shot that comment off a little too quickly. not trying to mislead.

    So, OP, if the soil is able to break down all that leaf matter without creating a hotbed of destructive pathogens then and an elevated exposed surface rooting requiring a dethatch... then, in my opinion go for it, not harm done

    Like i said i have a ways to go in my learnin, but in the long run that turf may even become more disease stress resistant...?

    You might be able to get away with up selling a liming it every once. Keep those trace elements available to the herd.
     
  10. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,533

    I read the original post again. Ficus trees carry several types of fungus that may be spread far and wide by the mulching instead of removal.:usflag:
     

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