Leaves – Using for Mulch

Q: I was raking up huge piles of leaves from our ever-struggling Midtown fescue lawn when it occurred to me how pointless and stupid this annual event is. After twenty years of planting, aerating, occasionally sodding, and finally just giving up on grass, here I was, still trying to save it. Why not just use these leaves and make my whole front yard a leaf/mulch pile? Any words of caution, wisdom, or encouragement?

A: I applaud your insight but I wonder why it didn’t hit you years ago! A lawn is not essential for an appealing landscape. However, a pile of leaves is considered unattractive by most of your neighbors.

At the very least you’ll have a bumper crop of mushrooms if you continuously maintain a thick layer of leaves. You might also harm the roots of the trees that provide shade. Why not plant beds of shade-loving plants in your front yard? Lenten rose, Japanese painted fern, autumn fern, hosta, variegated Solomon’s seal, bleeding heart and ajuga all love shade and can be part of an attractive design.

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