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Proctor's Garden: Manage leaves wisely

Rob Proctors wants you to rethink the way you manage fall leaves.

DENVER — It wasn't that long ago that homeowners raked up their fall leaves--and burned them. That was a stupid idea. Raking them and sending them to the dump is equally stupid. Rethink the way you manage fall leaves.

Leaves are the building blocks for good soil. They crumble and enrich the soil. That which comes from the earth should go back into it.

Certainly remove fallen leaves from walks and driveways where they can become slipping hazards. But on lawns, beds and borders, use a different management style.

A mulching mower will chop the leaves into small pieces. This will benefit your lawn as they decompose and nourish the soil. Even a standard mower will accomplish much the same thing. If you use a catcher, add the clippings to your compost pile or green recycle bin. If you don't compost, leaves can be sent to composting facilities. Check the availability in your municipality. 

Let the leaves that fall in flower beds or borders stay there. Most will crumble, feed the soil and hold in moisture over winter. This improves the quality and fertility of the soil and benefits earthworms. 

Leaves aren't a nuisance. They're a blessing. 

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