A leaf mulching experiment

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by That Guy Gary, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,413

    Here's approx 1k sq ft of pure perennial rye I planted early Sept:


    I spread eight 30 gallon trash bags of partially processed leaves over half of it and mulched them in. the leaves would have been close to a foot deep when whole.



    I'll continue to add more leaves until I get the equivalent of about 2ft of loose leaves in the lawn, about 2-2.5" layer once crunched up well on the lawn.

    Then we'll see if there is any difference between the sides come Spring!
    oqueoque and KerbDMK like this.
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,636

    A 2-2.5" layer might be too much to successfully breakdown during an Idaho winter. Keep us posted.
    That Guy Gary and KerbDMK like this.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,622

    Take a look after rain. In theory, the tiny leaf pieces should fall down to the soil level--and--the grass should grow up through the residue.

    What kind of leaves? Oak? Maple? How much did a bag of leaves weigh?
    Is the quality acceptable after a few days?

    What kind of mower? Mulching blade? Chute blocker? Sharp blade? Did you "mow" the leaves repeatedly?
    Was this the last grass mowing of the season? Average temperature in last week?
  4. OP
    That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,413

    I've gone 2"+ deep with leaf mulching on lawns before, I just set this up to compare it side by side. If anything does make it to Spring it'll burn up fast with warmer temps and fresh clippings added.

    Leaves were mostly maple, some ash and crabapple.

    They were all collected the same day from final cuts on a few residentials I maintain on the weekend. They were collected with a commercial 30, first pass with the deck closed to reduce volume and second pass bagging.

    Weight varied depending on the lawn they were from because of variable leaf to grass ratios. Pure leaf bags were probably all around 10-12 lbs with the heavier ones that had more clippings around 20.

    They were mowed into my lawn several times with a 21" and a wavy mulching blade. Blade is sharp but in my experience it doesn't matter with leaves, they shatter just as well as they cut. It's in the background there, old Craftsman with the outdated exercise package that has a wonderful deck design for mulching.

    Temps have been chilly, mid 50s to low 60s, a few light frosts overnight but nothing serious yet. Just enough to take out my tomatoes.

    My lawn won't need cut again but I will drop the deck and trim it low towards the end of the month. Since it's just a few hundred sq ft I might even go over it with a blower to work the litter down deeper before I add some more.

    I'll add a few more pics of how it looks as it is now when I can take them in better light. I actually mulched the leaves passed sundown, just snapped the last pic real quick before I left this morning.
    phasthound, RigglePLC and hort101 like this.

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