Experienced gardeners were divided into two camps. Some argue that falling leaves should not be removed. They argue that the fall protects the roots of trees and perennial flowers from winter frost. The second argument is that the leaves rot, forming a natural fertilizer in the spring.
Those who say that the leaves must be removed believe that the litter is a breeding ground for diseases and harmful insects. Which of them is right? Let’s look at this article.
What are the dangers of falling leaves?
The most beautiful time of the year comes-autumn and the trees throw off their yellow and red leaves. This seemingly beautiful process is not so harmless. The fact is that fallen leaves are an ideal breeding ground for a huge number of parasites and infections that subsequently affect trees and other plants.
Infections from falling leaves
Litter is an ideal breeding ground for spores of certain diseases that can kill plants.
This disease is dangerous for vegetables, fruit and berry crops and flowers. The source of each plant’s disease is different fungi.
Pipeline or Belle striking the plant from the bottom up. Infected leaves are covered with white spores that form separate areas . These spores subsequently form droplets of fluid-hence the name of the disease. Powdery mildew is carried by wind, rain, and garden tools.
The disease is very dangerous for plants, the affected leaves gradually wither and fall off. If you don’t fight it, the plants will die!
The first sign that the plant is infected is a white coating on its leaves, similar to flour or dust. Many people take it for dust, because it is easily erased by fingers. However, soon the area of damage increases. Spores can infect not only the leaves but also the stems and even the flowers.
Rust of falling leaves
Rust is a devastating disease for plants. Caused by rust fungus spores. It is not difficult to diagnose it. On the leaves of plants, peculiar “pads” or pustules immediately become noticeable. These are such rust-colored formations. When they crack, it falls out as if rusty dust. These are spores of a fungus, the causative agent of the disease.
You can only fight rust by destroying infected plants and digging deep into the soil. If this is not done, the disease will completely take over the plant, depriving it of the possibility of photosynthesis, impairing its water balance and disrupting metabolism.
At first glance, this disease is not so dangerous. Just holes on the leaves of different shapes. But the first impression is very deceptive. Spotting affects the plant, it dries and withers. It becomes more vulnerable to other diseases.
An important role is played by the shape of the holes and the presence or absence of a border. These signs indicate who is the causative agent of the disease.
It is very difficult to treat plants affected by rust. It is much easier to prevent the disease. Be sure to follow the watering regime, feed the plants and remove infected ones.
This disease is very insidious. Although it affects the surface of the fruit, it is very difficult to treat it. The fact is that one culture can’t get scab from another. But the pathogens for all plants are the same, so often almost the entire garden is sick.
Scab is not to be confused with anything. The surface of the fruit is covered with boils and ulcers that develop into cracks. Other infections can enter through them, which will destroy the plant.
Most often, scab affects tubers, fruits, leaves and shoots. Plants become ugly in appearance, they rot and die.
Spores of scab pathogens like to winter in fallen leaves. In the spring, the wind blows spores on the plants and they become infected.
Pests from falling leaves
Leaves, like a blanket, cover the soil, forming an ideal microclimate with a comfortable temperature for wintering these pests.
These include aphids, cicadas, bedbugs, coccids, and others. Their name speaks for itself: they suck the SAP from plants, taking their life force. As a result, the plant weakens flowering and yield decrease.
These parasites are very difficult to remove. You will have to conduct a course of labor-intensive procedures. For example, to get rid of aphids or at least reduce its number, you need to treat the trunks of plants with a soap solution every 4-6 days. At the same time, you need to cover the soil so that too much of the product does not fall on the roots.
But some parasites are not so easy to remove. For example, to destroy populations of gall mites, you will have to carefully collect fallen leaves and burn them.
These pests are even more dangerous than sucking ones. Leaf beetles can completely expose the crown of a tree!
These include: sawflies, moths, butterflies, leaf beetles.
In most cases, there is only one method of dealing with them – manually. For example, you can make special belts from rags, matting, straw bundles. They should be installed at a distance of about 1m from ground level in autumn. With the onset of cold weather, burn the traps along with the pests that are caught in them.
Another common, but labor-intensive method is to shake pests off the leaves. You need to lay a cloth, plastic wrap or other leaf material and shake the beetles from the leaves. You can spray plants with special decoctions of insecticidal plants. But the most effective way is to catch pests and destroy them.
Are insects that make holes in the leaves and live in them. Their name is derived from the ancient meaning of the word mine-mine. Insects infect the leaves, trunks, and flowers of plants.
There are two ways to deal with mines. The first one is suitable if there are not so many infected leaves, 1-2 mines per 30-50 leaves. In this case, you can simply pluck the leaves and bury them to a depth of about 10 cm. this is enough, because the larvae of miners are unlikely to be able to get out of the ground. But even if they can, they can’t climb back up the trunk to the leaves. You need to do this process until all the mined leaves run out.
The second method is suitable if the situation is running. When mines hit every leaf, and on some and two moves, you need to resort to the help of chemical and biological preparations.
Forming insects are insects whose larvae live in galls. Galls are called formations on parts of a plant that make it ugly and sick.
The exact mechanism for the appearance of Gauls is still unknown. According to one version, pests deprive the plant of the ability to heal wounds. They inject their saliva into the tissues of the plant, which is why such growths or galls are formed on the leaves and trunks.
What to do with falling leaves?
Of course, you can not touch the carpet of leaves in the hope that it will rot and become fertilizer for plants. But is it worth the risk, given all the infections and pests that lurk in the foliage?
Humus from leaves is an excellent tool for improving the structure of the soil. It is not suitable for fertilizing the earth, as it contains almost no useful substances for plants. But rotted leaves can be used to condition the soil. The fact is that the properties of leaf humus allow moisture to linger longer in the soil. This helps plants tolerate drought and saves effort on watering gardeners.
You can use a garden vacuum cleaner or lawn mower to collect leaves from lawns and paths. They immediately grind the litter, which greatly facilitates the process for a person. Next, you need to put the crushed material in a special bag, moisten and tamp. This bag should be placed on the site and wait for the microorganisms to make humus from the fallen leaves.
It is important to note that not every bag is suitable for cooking humus. You should buy a special bag in the garden store.
Leaves as mulch
You can use the litter as mulch. To do this, put the leaves on the beds and between the tree trunks in a layer up to 30 cm thick.
It is important to keep in mind that mulching leaves can damage perennials. To prevent harmful effects, their trunks should be wrapped with polyethylene or a protective sleeve made of a plastic bottle. You need to place the protection at a certain distance from the trunk.
After the snow, you should dig over the soil with rotted leaves already. The fall during the winter will give the soil all the useful substances and in the spring you will get a renewed, fertile soil.
Leaves for compost
Surely everyone in the garden has a compost heap. Kitchen waste is drained there, and weeds are thrown out after weeding. Few people know, but in addition to all these components, you can add fallen leaves to the compost pit. Such humus with the addition of litter will be much more useful for plants. In addition, it can attract birds and even hedgehogs, which are destroyers of harmful insects.
The main condition for leaf rot is abundant moisture and compaction. You need to regularly water the compost pile and trample it.
Leaves as insulation and heat insulator
Leaves are a great insulation. They can cover bushes of perennial plants, such as roses, for the winter. Then they are not afraid of any frosts!
Previously, even houses were insulated with leaves, hammering piles near the wall and filling the space between the wall and the piles with leaves. Now few people do this, but it is quite possible to insulate the Foundation.
This method of recycling leaves is the most irrational and unecological. The smoke from fallen leaves is very acrid and pungent. There is even a fine for burning leaves.
In this article, we discussed ways to use fallen leaves. Despite the fact that many people prefer to burn them, this option is the worst thing that can be done with the leaves.
Leaves are an excellent natural fertilizer and just getting rid of it is simply irrational!