Fall leaves are a nuisance for many homeowners. They usually pile up quickly, and when you try to get rid of them, they clog up your lawnmower and blow around the yard. As a result, regular yard maintenance, especially around your condenser, becomes a routine chore. But before you toss the leaves in the trash, try using them for some of these eco-friendly ventures.
Rake up the Leaves
Raking leaves is the most important of all fall chores. Here’s how to do it right –
- Rake a straight line in your yard, from one end to the other, using a push rake or leaf rake.
- Using a leaf scoop or leaf vacuum, gather up leaves from freshly raked paths.
- Sweep up any remaining leaves with a broom, then put them in a bag for disposal or use later.
- Clean up any debris that has fallen on sidewalks and driveways.
- Be careful not to hurt your back. Use the strength in your arms rather than bend over the rake too much.
- Don’t forget some HVAC maintenance – remember to clear around your condenser. Leaves that collect from outside your condenser unit can block the airflow that cools it.
Build a Compost Heap
Compost heaps are made by layering green materials with brown materials and allowing them to break down over time. The best way to make one is to use a large container, such as a wooden box or plastic bin, but you can also pile up leaves against a fence or wall.
Start by laying down some newspaper or old sheets. Then, lay down your leaves and cover them with more newspaper. You’ll want to add more layers of newspaper until you have between six and nine inches of leaves.
The more layers you add, the better your compost will be once it’s ready!
Create Leaf Mold
Leaf mold is an extremely rich soil amendment that can be used as an alternative to peat moss or compost when potting plants. It’s made from decaying leaves mixed with water and allowed to sit for at least six months. As the leaves break down, they release nutrients into the water that are then absorbed by the soil.
The easiest way to make leaf mold is by simply collecting leaves from your yard and allowing them to break down over time. Once you have collected enough leaves, pack them loosely into a bin or trash bag and let them sit for up to three years.
Make Some Mulch
If you’ve got a lot of leaves to dispose of, you might want to consider making your own mulch. Mulch is excellent for helping plants retain water and nutrients.
Gather your leaves into piles and chop them into smaller pieces with a leaf shredder or lawn mower. Scatter the chopped leaves over your flower beds, creating a layer of insulation for your perennials.
Mow the Leaves Back into the Lawn
Recycle your leaves by mowing them back into the soil. It’s much better than bagging them and sending them to the landfill, where they’ll sit for years, decompose slowly and release methane gas into the atmosphere.
Mowing over the piles in your yard or garden mixes them up with the grass clippings and decomposing organic matter already in your soil. When they decompose, they’ll release nutrients that feed the grass underneath and help it grow thicker and greener.
Create Some Leaf Art
If you have kids, creating some leaf art is a great way to keep them entertained. Here are a few ways to keep the kids busy while gathering leaves.
- Leaf art – This is a fun activity for all ages. Just grab some paint and brushes, and let the painting begin. Choose some larger leaves that aren’t too brittle and paint over them. Use whatever colors you want to create bright and beautiful leaf pictures!
- Make leaf prints – If you don’t want to get messy with paints, then try making leaf prints instead. Simply paint a leaf before pressing it onto paper. Remove it quickly before it dries out too much. You can also use leaves to make stencils by pushing them onto pieces of paper or cardboard until they leave an impression behind.
- Make leaf rubbings – This is another excellent activity for the kids. If you know what leaves come from which trees, it’s an educational activity too! Collect different types of leave and place them underneath a sheet of paper. Using a pencil, lightly rub the paper over the leaf. You’ll soon see the leaf shape come to life! Label and learn the different leaf types.
Stay warm this winter by booking HVAC maintenance that keeps your furnace working. Speak to the professionals at Service Champions and keep your Southern Californian home cozy this season.