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Autumn Arrival

by CountryLife Gardening | Sep 01, 2016
Autumn time in the garden
While we might not want to admit it, Autumn has started to arrive. Days are getting shorter and the leaves on trees are starting to turn shades of amber and gold. And while this means there won't be as many long evenings spent pottering in the garden, it also means there will be more jobs to keep on top of while we are in the garden.

Judging by the queries that have been coming into CountryLife from customers a lot of them are putting their attention into their grass at the moment. One of the biggest questions I have got over the past few weeks has been how to deal with leaves falling on lawns. Apart from cutting down the trees all together the only solution is determination and lots of elbow grease.

The best way to manage leavesWhile many gardeners can't justify buying a leaf blower the most cost effective solution is investing in a good rake. There are rakes to meet every budget but I always recommend spending a bit extra on a good durable one as it will see a lot of work over the coming months. The way I look at it is that I would prefer to spend more to begin with instead of spending twice the amount having to replace a broken rake after only a few uses.

I find it better to keep on top of leaves and rake them up every couple of days. In the past I have waited until all the leaves have fallen from the trees before I tidied them up but this literally leaves you with a mountain to clean up! It is quicker and less daunting to do it as it comes.

Once you have collected the leave you can either add them to your compost heap or bag them up and turn them into leaf mould which can used to enrich the soil the following year. I am a big fan of making leaf mould as it really is like liquid gold in the garden. It adds so much to the soil and gives plants a great boost when you plant them. 

Making leaf mouldMaking your own leaf mould simply involves collecting the leaves and bagging them up into sacks or black bags. This helps to contain the leaves and some say speeds up the process. If the leaves you collect are very dry it worth chucking a jug of water in on top of them to aid the break down. Finally pierce a few holes in the bag and tie it loosely at the top. Once you have all your bags ready you can leave them in corner of the garden for around a year to a year and a half until you have rich dark leaf mould. 

Good quality, well-rotted leaf mould (more than two years old) can be used as seed-sowing compost, or mixed equally with sharp sand, garden compost and good quality soil for use as potting compost. Leaf mould that is less than two years old can be used as mulch, soil improver, autumn top-dressing for lawns, or winter covering for bare soil.
If your leaf mould is slow to break down into leaf mould, try turning it regularly to aerate the leaves and speed up the breakdown process. It is important to make sure that the leaves do not dry out, and you should moisten the pile if necessary in hot, dry weather.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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