3 Pre-Winter Lawn Care Pointers

Winter weather can be harsh, especially on lawns. Homeowners in Carlisle, PA who spend much of spring and summer tending to their lawns may fear the impact that winter will have on their once-lush landscapes, making the fall a great time to fortify lawns against any harsh conditions to come.

Homeowners must take grass type into consideration before taking steps to prepare their lawns for the winter. Some grasses are best fertilized in late-summer, while others should be fertilized in autumn. Cool-season grasses, including fescue and bluegrass, are best fertilized sometime between the months of September and November. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda or zoysia, should be fertilized between July and September. Once homeowners have gained a greater understanding of their lawns, they can begin exploring the various ways to prepare their lawns for whatever winter has in store.

Explore winterizing fertilizers

Homeowners who want to make their grasses more winter hardy can consult landscaping professionals to determine if winterizing fertilizers will work for their lawns. These specially formulated fertilizers, many of which are made exclusively for cool-season grasses, contain higher levels of potassium and lower levels of nitrogen than early-season fertilizers. Potassium helps strengthen and harden plants, and cool-season grasses may need extra potassium as winter settles in. Homeowners who are not sure if they should apply winterizing fertilizer can conduct soil tests to determine the potassium levels in their soil. If the test indicates the soil has sufficient potassium, then applying a winterizing fertilizer is likely unnecessary. In addition, homeowners who have fed their lawn a balance of nutrients throughout spring and summer likely will not need to apply winterizing fertilizer.

Get rid of fallen leaves

While fallen leaves may be integral components of idyllic autumn landscapes, leaves left on the lawn throughout the winter may lead to disease in the grass. Leaves trap moisture and block sunlight and air from reaching grass, and that can encourage the development of disease. In addition, leaves can harbor insects that also may contribute to disease. While it might seem like common sense to delay leaf removal until the end of autumn when all the leaves have fallen, that, too, can prove harmful to lawns. Leaves left laying on lawns for long periods of time can contribute to the same types of damage as leaves left on the lawn throughout winter, so do your best to remove leaves as they fall.

Take steps to fight snow mold

Homeowners who live in regions where snow falls into spring or where spring tends to be cold and damp may want to take steps to prevent snow mold. Gray snow mold typically looks fuzzy and gray, and lawns infested with snow mold may develop unsightly gray or brown spots indicative of dead grass. Pink snow mold may be even worse than gray snow mold because pink mold attacks the roots as well as the leaves. To prevent snow mold, continue mowing into the fall, even as lawns grow dormant, clearing the lawn of grass clippings and leaves after each mow. Thick lawns may provide a breeding ground for snow mold, so homeowners whose lawns have a history of developing snow mold may benefit from mowing their lawns into the fall.

Winter is rarely easy on lawns, but homeowners in Carlisle, PA can take several steps to prepare their lawns for potentially harsh winter weather. Need professional help? Contact Locust Ridge Landscape LLC today for all of your landscaping and lawn care needs in Carlisle, PA and surrounding areas.

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Spring and summer may be the seasons most often associated with landscaping and lawn care, but tending to lawns and gardens is a year-round job. If lawn and garden responsibilities dip considerably in winter, then fall is the last significant chance before the new year that Chambersburg & Shippensburg, PA homeowners will have to address the landscaping around their homes.

Fall lawn care differs from spring and summer lawn care, even if the warm temperatures of summer linger into autumn. Homeowners who want their lawns to thrive year-round can take advantage of the welcoming weather of fall to address any existing or potential issues.

Keep mowing, but adjust how you mow

It’s important that homeowners continue to mow their lawns so long as grass is growing. But as fall transitions into winter, lower the blades so the grass is cut shorter while remaining mindful that no blade of grass should ever be trimmed by more than one-third. Lowering the blades will allow more sunlight to reach the grass in the months ahead.

Remove leaves as they fall

Much like apple-picking and foliage, raking leaves is synonymous with fall. Some Chambersburg & Shippensburg, PA homeowners may wait to pick up a rake until all of the trees on their properties are bare. However, allowing fallen leaves to sit on the ground for extended periods of time can have an adverse effect on grass. Leaves left to sit on the lawn may ultimately suffocate the grass by forming an impenetrable wall that deprives the lawn of sunlight and oxygen. The result is dead grass and possibly even fungal disease. Leaves may not need to be raked every day, but homeowners should periodically rake and remove leaves from their grass, even if there are plenty left to fall still hanging on the trees.

Repair bald spots

Summer exacts a toll on lawns in various ways, and even homeowners with green thumbs may end up with a lawn filled with bald spots come September. Autumn is a great time to repair these bald spots. Lawn repair mixes like Scotts PatchMaster contain mulch, seed and fertilizer to repair bald spots, which can begin to recover in as little as seven days. Before applying such products, remove dead grass and loosen the top few inches of soil. Follow any additional manufacturer instructions as well.

Aerate the turf

Aerating reduces soil compacting, facilitating the delivery of fertilizer and water to a lawn’s roots. While many homeowners, and particularly those who take pride in tending to their own lawns, can successfully aerate their own turf, it’s best to first have soil tested so you know which amendments to add after the ground has been aerated. Gardening centers and home improvement stores sell soil testing kits that measure the pH of soil, but homeowners who want to test for nutrients or heavy metals in their soil may need to send their samples to a lab for further testing.

Fall lawn care provides a great reason to spend some time in the yard before the arrival of winter.

The landscaping professionals in Chambersburg & Shippensburg, PA can help you maintain your lawn this fall and keep your landscape looking pristine and healthy. Contact Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC today for a free quote!

How Mulched Leaves Help Your Lawn

Various chores are synonymous with certain times of year. For example, cleaning a pool is a summertime task. In addition, rare is the instance that Mother Nature forces anyone to break out the snow shovels outside of winter. Raking leaves has long been a task for fall afternoons, but homeowners may be surprised to learn that they might be better off putting their rakes in permanent mothballs.

In the 1990s, turfgrass specialists at Michigan State University began exploring the potential benefits of leaving mulched leaves on a lawn instead of raking them and leaving them for curbside pickup. While the researchers noticed an obvious leaf residue on the lawn after mulching, they noted that it only sticks around for a few days. Eventually, the tiny pieces sifted down into the lawn, ultimately serving to control future weed growth while also providing the lawn with essential nutrients. Over time, researchers noted that homeowners who mulched rather than raked their leaves needed less fertilizer to give their lawns a green look in spring, saving homeowners the effort and cost associated with fertilizing.

Researchers also noted that decomposing pieces of leaves cover up bare spots between turf plants, which have traditionally proven to be excellent spots for weed seeds to germinate. In fact, MSU notes that homeowners can expect a nearly 100 percent decrease in dandelions and crabgrass after mulching leaves for just three years.

Depending on the type of mower being used, up to six inches of leaves can be mulched at a time. Push mowers can handle smaller amounts, though can still be as effective as ride-on mowers.

Fall may be synonymous with raking leaves. However, homeowners who want to give their lawns a healthy boost should consider putting their rakes away and mulching their leaves this fall.

If you need help this upcoming fall with lawn clean up, contact the landscaping professionals at Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC. We offer landscaping to Chambersburg and Shippensburg, PA customers as well as Fayetteville and Carlisle residents. Contact us today for a free estimate!

How and When to Fertilize Your Lawn

Various components go into creating beautiful, lush lawns. Lawn maintenance involves ensuring lawns have all of the nutrients they need to thrive. Fertilizer is essential when feeding lawns, but fertilizing a lawn involves more than spreading fertilizer around the yard and hoping for the best. Fertilizing is a process that should be done carefully and timed correctly for optimal results.

No two lawns are alike and each lawn has different needs. The type of grass and whether a lawn is mostly in the sun or shade may dictate fertilizer requirements. While many lawns are comprised of several different grasses, a general rule of thumb is that the lawn will need to be fertilized in the spring at the very least. After that, fertilization schedules should be customized according to grass type, climate and other factors.

Spring is a prime time to fertilize because the lawn is reviving after a long season of cold weather and dormancy. Come spring, lawns need to be fed to turn green and grow. Soil supplies some of the nutrients grass needs, but many soils lack elements that lawns need to survive the growing season. Lawn and garden experts at Lowes say a healthy and actively growing lawn uses a great deal of energy, and fertilizer will provide the boost it requires. Fertilizer helps promote new root and leaf growth, aid in recovery from damage, reduce weeds, and replace nutrients lost to water runoff.

Fertilizing the right way

Follow these steps to feed the lawn and help it thrive.

  • Identify the type of grass in your lawn and consult with a garden center to find the right type of fertilizer for your grass. Many grasses are categorized by season and may be referred to as cool season, transitional or warm season grasses.
  • Test the soil to check for pH. You want the soil to be as close to neutral as possible so it can readily process the nutrients in the fertilizer.
  • Broadcast or rotary spreaders will evenly distribute fertilizer and will not cause striping on the lawn like drop spreaders might. Resist the urge to fertilize by hand, as you may lay an uneven amount of product, producing burns and brown spots.
  • Fertilizers come in slow-release, fast-release, and weed and feed formulations. Which fertilizer you use will depend on the type of grass you have and how much time you have to devote to lawn maintenance. Slow-release fertilizers may be preferable because they do not need to be reapplied often.
  • Use caution and set the spreader to distribute less product if you are unsure how much to apply. Excessive fertilizer can damage a lawn.
  • Water the lawn well after application, and always follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep people and pets off of the lawn for a day or two after application.
  • Scotts recommends that lawns with warm-season grass be fed over the summer as they grow steadily from spring to fall.
  • Another application of fertilizer in the fall will supply lawns with nutrients to continue to grow and then survive winter.

Build a strong lawn by feeding it effectively. Dense, healthy lawns can strangle weeds and lead to beautiful landscapes.

The landscaping professionals can help transform your lawn and offer advice to keep your lawn looking green and healthy. We service customers in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Fayetteville, and Carlisle, PA. Contact us today for a free quote!

Why Hiring a Landscaper May Be For You

The majority of homeowners in Chambersburg, PA want their properties to appear as appealing as possible. While many homeowners want to be proud of their properties and come home to a welcoming home each night, the benefits to maintaining landscaping go beyond the notion that well-cared for lawns make for more comforting retreats.

Because numerous variables, including landscaping, influence property values, it’s difficult to assess just how much the property values of homes with impressive landscapes are influenced by those very landscapes. Indeed, studies have produced varying results regarding the effect of well-landscaped homes on property values. But what many studies have shown and what many realtors indicate is that impressive landscaping adds a significant amount to property values, with estimates suggesting landscaping increases home values by anywhere from 5 to 20 percent.

Such estimates are good news for homeowners, and they also highlight the stakes involved when making landscaping decisions. Homeowners with green thumbs may embrace the challenge of revitalizing their lawns and gardens, but many, especially those pressed for time, can benefit greatly from working with a professional landscaping company.

Why hire a professional landscaper in Chambersburg, PA?

Maintaining a property requires more than just mowing the lawn every couple of weeks. Even homeowners committed to making their properties as pristine as possible can run into problems when adverse weather conditions pose a threat to lawns and gardens. The following are just a handful of reasons why homeowners may find working with Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC is the best thing for their properties and their bank accounts.

The professionals at Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC understand the local climate. Our experienced landscapers understand the local climate and the challenges it presents to your lawn. Experience can prove invaluable as lawns battle adverse conditions that threaten its survival. While homeowners going it alone may struggle through a trial and error period as they try to address problems threatening their lawns, our experienced professionals are more likely to identify the problem immediately, providing a ready solution that can prevent potentially costly repairs down the road.

We can provide inspiration. In addition to maintaining properties, our professional landscaping team in Chambersburg, PA have vast experience improving properties through landscape design. Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC may have a host of ideas for your property that you would never think of. Homeowners with little to no lawn and garden experience may not realize all the things they can do with their properties, and those who go it alone may end up with unappealing landscapes that do not attract buyers’ attention when the home hits the market. We have a wealth of ideas and, perhaps more importantly, we understand which ideas will and won’t work on a given property.

We can remove some of the stress of managing landscaping projects. Homeowners know that home improvement projects, whether they are addressing home interiors or exteriors, can be stressful. Professional landscapers typically have a network of professionals, including contractors, who they have worked with in the past. Such connections can ensure more complex projects that require both landscapers and construction contractors go as smoothly as possible. In addition, homeowners who receive contractor recommendations from their experienced landscapers tend to rest easier knowing the people working on their properties have already developed a rapport and established a successful track record working together.

Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC may be just what homeowners in Chambersburg, PA need to turn their properties into appealing oases no buyer can resist. Contact us today for a free quote!

Potential Culprits Behind Thinning Grass

Thick grass is often a hallmark of a healthy lawn. If grass begins to thin, homeowners may feel as though all the time and effort they spent tending to their lawns was for naught. Thinning grass can be caused by any number of things. And while it might take a little effort to address, thinning grass can be treated if homeowners correctly identify that cause of the problem.

Leaf Spot

The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst notes that leaf spot diseases affect both cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. Various fungi can cause leaf spot. Symptoms and the timing of the appearance of leaf spot will vary depending on which fungi is causing the problem. For example, bipolaris sorokiniana, which affects grasses in warm, wet summer months, produces small spots that are dark purple to black. Dreschslera poae is another fungi that causes leaf spot, and it also produces dark purple to black spots. However, it tends to appear in the spring when the weather is cool and moist. Understanding the different fungi and when they typically strike can help homeowners identify what is causing their grass to thin. In such situations, professional landscapers can be invaluable resources as well.

Stripe Smut

The University of Maryland Extension notes that stripe smut primarily poses a threat to Kentucky bluegrass that is older than three years. Pale green streaks that run parallel to the veins in the leaves and leaf sheaths are symptomatic of stripe smut, which tends to be noticed in spring and fall, when weather is cool. As the disease progresses, stripes turn black or a silvery gray, causing the leaf blade to shred and curl. After the blades have shred, they turn brown and die. The grass thins because stripe smut makes it vulnerable to problems like drought.

Ascochyta Leaf Blight

Lawns suffering from ascochyta leaf blight will become straw-colored. According to the lawn care and pesticide experts at Ortho¨, when a lawn is affected by ascochyta leaf blight, its healthy grass blades will be mixed in with diseased grass blades. Most prevalent in the spring, this disease can affect grass at any time during the growing season. ThatÕs because the ascochyta fungi invade leaf blades through wounds, such as those that can result from mowing. Ortho¨ notes that dull lawn mowers can contribute to the disease, which might disappear on its own and can even return after it’s seemingly been cured.

Various issues can cause grass blades to thin. Working with a landscape professional is a great way to combat such issues before they compromise the look of a lawn.

Need assistance reviving your lawn and landscape? Contact the professionals at Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC today! We offer exceptional lawn care and landscaping services in the Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Fayetteville, PA areas in Franklin County.

How to Control Crabgrass Before It Appears

Homeowners who enjoy tending to their lawns know that grass is vulnerable to a host of problems, many of which appear at a time of year when lawn enthusiasts want to showcase the fruits of their lawn-and-garden labors.

Crabgrass is a common problem that appears in summer. According to Lowes, crabgrass plants produce thousands of seeds between midsummer and early fall. While the first frosts of late-fall or early winter kill the crabgrass plants, the seeds produced by the plants remain dormant throughout winter and then begin to grow as the ground temperature warms up with the spring and summer thaw. As a result, controlling germination, which is the development of a plant from a seed or spore after a period of dormancy, is the key to preventing crabgrass from becoming an unsightly blemish that can harm your lawn in summer.

A proactive approach to crabgrass can save homeowners the headaches of dealing with this unwanted guest taking over their grass. The following tips, courtesy of Lowes, can help homeowners reduce the likelihood of their lawns being overcome by crabgrass as summer hits full swing.

• Recognize that routine lawn maintenance may not be enough. Even lawns that receive sufficient TLC can fall victim to crabgrass. A proactive, crabgrass-specific approach to lawn maintenance is the most effective way to control the problem before it pops up.

• Apply a pre-emergent herbicide. Pre-emergent herbicides kill crabgrass seedlings as they germinate. While these herbicides are highly effective, they must be applied at precisely the right time. The right time to apply them depends on weather patterns. For example, Lowes notes that homeowners who live in regions that might have experienced warmer than usual winters will probably need to apply the herbicides earlier than usual. While the manufacturer instructions should always be followed when applying herbicides, it’s essential that homeowners take weather patterns into consideration as well.

• Wait until the ground temperature rises above 60 F. Applying herbicides when the ground temperature is below 60 F might render the products ineffective. Gauging soil temperature can be tricky, but Lowes advises monitoring shrubs and trees on the property. Once shrubs begin to bloom and trees bud, herbicide can be applied.

• Wait when treating newly seeded lawns. Pre-emergent herbicides might kill new grass seedlings, so homeowners with newly seeded lawns should wait until they have mowed their lawns three times before applying a herbicide.

• Emphasize uniform application. If a herbicide is not applied uniformly across the lawn, crabgrass can establish itself and ultimately spread to the rest of the lawn.

• Do not thatch or aerate after applying a herbicide. Thatching or aerating a lawn after applying a herbicide might break the product’s chemical barrier, thereby rendering it ineffective.

Crabgrass can quickly spread on an untreated lawn. The lawn care experts at Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC can help you take a proactive approach that prevents its growth and can keep lawns looking great through summer. We service both commercial and residential customers in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Fayetteville, PA. Contact us today!

Landscaping Needs Vary By Season

Judging a home by its appearance is often par for the home-buying course. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, 49 percent of buying decisions are made from the street.

An appealing home exterior suggests the homeowner takes pride in his or her home and wants to make every effort to maintain that home. Curb appeal involves various components a home’s exterior, but beautiful landscaping can make a home stand out. While maintaining a lawn is something many homeowners may think is exclusive to spring and summer, lawn maintenance is really a year-round endeavor. The following steps can help anyone maintain curb appeal no matter the season.

Spring

Spring is a season of renewal when plants and trees will begin to look fresh and green once more. Spring maintenance includes applying fertilizer to lawns, replenishing mulch in planting beds, creating more pronounced edges around the lawn and garden beds, and testing soil. Some homeowners like to apply a weed-prevention product in the spring as well. Spring is a good time to plant annuals that will add a pop of color to the landscape. For those concerned about permanent planting, container gardening allows homeowners to move around planters in a configuration that works best for them.

Summer

Summer landscaping is all about maintaining what was established in the spring. Regular mowing, weeding and trimming can keep a landscape manicured. Other than drought, weeds are perhaps the biggest lawn and garden nuisance to a landscape in the summertime. Black medic, carpetweed, knotweed, mallow and prostate spurge are some of the weeds that will crop up during the summer. Seeds begin to germinate as soil warms up. According to the University of Maryland Extension, control with a broadleaf postemergent herbicide applied when the weed is actively growing will help prevent weeds from suffocating lawns.

Autumn

Autumn is often a forgotten season when it comes to maintaining a landscape. However, fall is a key time to keep landscapes in order. According to the landscaping resource LoveYourLandscape.com, fall is the ideal time to tend to a lawn that just endured summer heat. Seeding and fertilizing can ensure a stronger lawn come next spring. Perennials should be pruned and cut back. Raking leaves will help keep the property looking presentable.

Winter

One of the ways to maintain an attractive landscape throughout winter is to install plants that can survive the colder temperatures. Winterberry is a cousin of holly, but loses its leaves in the fall. The bright red berries can be a stark contrast to the white of winter snowfall. Camellia is an evergreen that blooms from fall to early spring and looks like pink roses. Heather is a popular plant in the United Kingdom, but is growing in popularity on this side of the Atlantic as well. The Home Depot says this plant blooms all year and offers beautiful flowers in summer and fall. In winter, the thick foliage makes for an appealing contrast to the more delicate blooms of other winter plants.

Maintaining a landscape through the seasons makes a home attractive all year long.

No matter the season, Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC offers landscaping services in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Fayetteville, PA year round. Contact us today!

3 Ways to Use Your Lawn to Improve Curb Appeal

Returns on home improvement projects vary. In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine notes the projects that yield the best returns on investment in a given year. But a host of factors, including the type of market (buyers’ or sellers’) and the region where the home is being sold, ultimately combine to determine if homeowners’ investments in home improvement projects will provide the returns they were hoping for.

Though there’s no way of guaranteeing a home improvement project will yield a great return, real estate professionals often cite improving curb appeal as an excellent way to attract prospective buyers and potentially get the asking price or more when selling the home. Improving curb appeal makes even more sense in today’s real estate market, when many people do their own searching via real estate websites such as Trulia or Zillow. When using such sites, buyers will likely be less inclined to click on a listing if exterior photos of the property are not eye-catching.

Various projects, including tending to lawns and gardens, can improve curb appeal. An added benefit to focusing on landscaping to improve curb appeal is it promotes spending time outdoors in spring and summer. In addition, many lawn- and garden-related home improvement projects need not require professional expertise.

Maintain a Lush Green Lawn

Lawns that fall into disrepair may not give buyers a correct impression about how homeowners maintained their homes. Lawns with multiple dead spots and grass that appears more brown than green may lead many buyers to assume that the home’s interior was equally ill-cared for. Maintaining lush green lawns is not as difficult as it may seem. Applying fertilizer and aerating at the appropriate times of year (this varies by region) can promote strong roots and healthy soil, making it easier for grass to survive harsh conditions like drought. When watering in summer, do so in early morning or evening so as little water is lost to evaporation as possible.

Address Brown Patch

Even well-maintained lawns can fall victims to brown spots. According to the lawn care professionals at TruGreen, lawns in regions with hot temperatures and high humidity can be infected with brown patch, a common lawn disease that is caused by fungus, which can produce circular areas of brown, dead grass surrounded by narrow, dark rings. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences notes that removing dew that collects on grass leaves each morning, which can be accomplished by mowing or dragging a water hose across affected areas, can be an effective way to reduce brown patch. Homeowners without much lawn care experience can consult professional landscapers to address the issue. But those looking to sell their properties should note that buyers often walk the grounds of homes they are considering buying. So addressing any issues on the lawn should be a priority for sellers.

Confine Dogs to Certain Areas

Dog owners may want to let their pets roam free in their yards. But homeowners about to put their properties up for sale may want to confine their four-legged friends to certain areas. That’s because dog urine can be high in nitrogen. Nitrogen itself is not harmful to lawns, but in high concentrations it can contribute to yellow or brown spots. Also, highly acidic dog urine may even adversely affect pH levels in the soil.

Curb appeal can go a long way toward helping homeowners sell their homes, and a lush lawn can be used to catch the eye of prospective buyers. Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC offers professional landscaping services in Chambersburg, Fayetteville, and Shippensburg, PA that will help boost your home’s curb appeal. Contact us today!

7 Uses for Fallen Leaves

By the time autumn hits full swing, many trees will have shed their leaves for the season, and the last vestiges of red, yellow and orange magic will have faded to brown. Raking, blowing and collecting leaves becomes the primary chores of lawn and yard maintenance, and presents most homeowners with large piles of gathered leaves to tend to.

It is impossible to count just how many leaves fall to the ground each year, or just how many pounds of leaves get collected, but the numbers are substantial. Cleaning up leaves is considerable work. Locust Ridge Landscape, LLC can handle all of your fall clean up and leaf blowing needs this autumn. We offer professional landscaping services to residential and commercial customers in Chambersburg, Fayetteville, and Shippensburg plus surrounding areas in Franklin County, PA.

We can collect and haul off all of those bags of leaves, but not all of those leaves need to be carted away. In fact, there are several different uses of leaves that can be beneficial.

1. Spread leaves as a protective mulch to cover tender perennials or root crops/bulbs in the ground. The leaves will form a natural insulating cover that keeps the soil and the plants within a bit warmer over winter.

2. Create a pile of leaves that will break down and form a crumbly, compost-like material called leaf mold. Even though leaf mold may sound like a blight, it’s actually a good amendment to garden soil, improving its structure and ability to hold water. Leaf mold also attracts beneficial organisms that are vital in healthy soil.

3. Brown leaves can be added to green materials in compost piles to improve the health of the compost being formed. According to the healthy living resource Care2, the ideal ratio is 75 percent brown to 25 percent green materials in compost. Turn compost piles regularly to aerate them.

4. Store dried, mulched leaves in a dry spot so they can be used in the spring as a weed barrier for spring plantings. They will keep weeds at bay and help retain soil moisture to ensure small sprouts have the resources to grow.

5. Use shredded leaves as a lawn supplement. Pass a lawn mower over leaves left on the lawn to break them down into pieces too small to rake. This will help keep the lawn healthy throughout the winter without blocking out needed sunlight.

6. Bag dried leaves and pack them tightly together in cold areas of the home, such as basements or garages. They can act as added insulation. Bags of leaves also can be placed around planting containers to protect them from frost.

7. Gather a few of the best-looking leaves and preserve them. Use an iron on a low setting and press leaves between two pieces of waxed paper until the waxed paper seals together. Or use clear contact paper to achieve the same effect.

Fallen leaves can be used in many different ways throughout the year.