Wednesday, November 15th, 2006...6:23 am

Gardening in the Fall: Two questions from Joe

I received two more questions from Joe, one about mowing leaves and the other about chrysanthemums.

Here are the two questions and my answers.

Question #1 –

Do you know if it is good or bad for your lawn to mow over leaves? I’ve always heard that it is bad for the lawn, but when you think about it, don’t leaves add nutrition to the lawn?

Whoever told you it is bad for your lawn to mow over leaves is giving you some wrong information. Leaves can be nutrition for the lawn. It is good to chop up the leaves that fall on your lawns when the leaves start falling. So when there is a light spread of leaves on your grass, mow over them as mulch for your lawn. You can buy chopping devices to make mulch from the leaves. Lawn mowers are advertised as “mulchers.” Blowers are advertised that they vacuum and then make mulch out of your leaves. However, if the trees have dumped too many of their leaves, you would have to rake them up and compost the leaves rather than mowing them into mulch right away. Too heavy a cover of leaves, even when mulched, can smother the lawn and be hiding places for unwanted rodents.

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Question #2 –

We buy mums in the fall from two different nurseries. One because they are friends of ours, the other because they are close to our home. It always seems that the one’s we purchase from our friends die much sooner than the other location we purchase them. Is this because of when they are planted, or does one variety last longer than the other?

I was dissatisfied with the partial answer I gave to your question about your chrysanthemums that died early. This morning I spoke to the President of the Chrysanthemum Society of NJ – check out their site. She told me that the chrysanthemum profession is breeding plants for a profusion of flowers and not for winter hardiness. Your friend might be selling the chrysanthemums plants that are not winter hardy.

I am planning on writing a chrysanthemum column in the near future. Stay tuned.

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