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November 22, 2013

End of a fall classic, leave all the leaves alone

Here at the Courier, we don’t mind doing yard work. (Okay, so at least one of us harbors the same feelings towards yard work as a vampire does to the sun, but he’s in the minority.) But after picking at the newly formed calluses on our hands, we began wondering, why do we rake leaves?

We reason the decomposition of leaves should act as a vitamin to the grass. Won’t whatever substance remains in the leaf when it falls provide some nutrient to the ground, that it can subsequently absorb after the leaf decomposes? Bugs eat leaves, so there’s something nutritious in them, right? And then, more pragmatically, are we seriously spending all these hours of our fall raking leaves when we could be writing newspaper articles?
And besides, what do we do with leaves anymore? Most cities have only select days on which you can burn leaves and even if a citizen abides by the rules, at least somebody is going to get grumpy about the smell (Monmouth’s days and hours are Monday-Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., by the way). And landfills don’t want to add leaves to its trash. A responsible citizen could take their leaves to the transfer station near south 11th Street between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during the week or from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. But then again, aren’t we just wasting our time doing anything with the leaves?

A little discussion gave us the tales of our childhood. One member remembered a dense layer of leaves would suffocate the grass, leaving ugly brown splotches. Another contributed that raking leaves, much like Stanley Yelnats’ digging holes, simply builds character. A third opined the occupation was an undertaking constructed by the Illuminati in order that the secret society can better control the masses by stealing young American kids’ Saturdays in the fall and therefore the children would be less likely to think and act creatively in later life thus leading to the perpetual imprisonment of the American mind.

After an intervention for this editor and subsequent revoking of his Netflix subscription, we surveyed every college student’s best friend, Google. Apparently, we weren’t the only people interested in this subject. Our initial hypothesis, that leaves do provide some help to the lawn, proved correct–sort of. A large covering of leaves, especially larger leaves like those that fall from maple trees, will possibly (as we already pointed out) suffocate the lawn and leave it vulnerable to winter devastations such as snow mold.

Google, through professionals, suggests we should wait until the leaves are nice and crunchy, grab your iPod, rev up the lawnmower and grind the leaves up. The leaves then act as a sort of mulch protecting the ground and as studies at the University of Michigan State hint can even impede weed growth, especially dandelions.

So our final solution looked like this: subtract raking leaves, add mowing, get more time to write articles. And less calluses.

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