By Sean James
It may be fashionable to remove every leaf that falls on the lawn, but it’s not very functional. Use your mower to mulch the leaves into the grass while trimming turf. It won’t look too pretty when you’ve just finished, but 30 minutes later, the mulched leaves will crumple up and sift in between the blades, making for a fuller, more beautiful lawn. Nutrients will also be recycled, which will make turf greener and more disease-resistant. Extra organic matter will also enable the soil to hold more moisture. The material will kick start the ‘soil-food web,’ ensuring better aeration, water infiltration and growth of beneficial fungi such as mycorrhizae, while also making it more difficult for weeds to germinate.
A new granular product formulated for turf applications, comprising a natural beneficial mycorrhizal fungus, has recently been released on the market. This product is best applied after spring aeration and top-dressing with compost. The fungus, which lives symbiotically with the plant roots, significantly increases their water and nutrient uptake capacity by adding to the surface area of the roots. The roots of the fungus will extend much farther and are much finer then grass roots. In exchange, the grass provides energy in the form of sugars. There are several varieties formulated for different applications, so consult a lawn care professional or garden centre to figure out what option best suits your needs.
This article is part 5 of 8 from our blog series “Keeping it Green: Beautiful turf can be sustainable, too“.