Take a Break – Retire your Rake!

And help the lake. Did you know nature recycles? Tree leaves are fed by the nutrients in your soil, which they return when they fall. It’s crazy to bag up and remove leaves, and then replace those missing nutrients with applications of petrochemical fertilizers (which can harm the lake). Instead, rake or blow leaves from gardens and paved areas into a 5-inch deep pile in a corner of your yard that you can run over with your mower several times until the irregular leaf pieces are roughly an inch in size, even if you don’t have a “mulching’’ mower setting. Then use this much reduced pile as a nutritious weed-free mulch on your garden. Unlike leaves, evergreen needles can be left on the garden where they fall without any risk of smothering plants. Just mow over leaves and needles that are on your lawn and let them stay there to become the organic fertilizer nature intended. Also, the leaves and needles make an absorbent layer that keeps polluted runoff out of the lake.

You can learn more about lake friendly property management in our Watchic Lake LakeSmart section or at the Maine Lakes Society/LakeSmart site.