Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Man Way: November Time To Go Mo - Er Mow


Let's admit it, men either go half way or too far, and with power tools we can often go too far, but sometimes - just sometimes - The Man Way is the right way. It is November and that means its time for a reflection on grooming practices, no I'm not talking about Movember and our facial hair, but yard grooming.

Exhibit A: After the fall
For those of us with all four seasons, it's that time of year - leaf raking. Though for pretty much every other reason Autumn is my favorite time of year, I would rather shovel snow than rake leaves. Since I now have a corner double lot, fully fenced in to trap all the leaves - versus the postage stamp yard I came from - my dislike has grown. So, ever since we moved to the new house I have opted to mulch the leaves - yes that's right, mow them. My rhetorical question is: am I being lazy or smart? The neighbors looks' make me think lazy, yet my environmental and efficiency thoughts say smart. You be the judge.

But as we see with The Man Way, sometimes being Lazy is Smart. You be the judge.

Lazy

The one time I did rake it took me a few hours over multiple weekends. I just mowed my lawn of leaves in an hour. So, yes, in essence I am being lazy and doing it the 'easy' way.

Smart

See lazy above. Isn't spending less time on something with the same results called efficiency - and efficiency is smart? OK, you want more? I got it.

You know what all those leaves raked into the street for the city to pick up do right? They take up parking spots, become a dam when it rains, create puddles and block up the sewer drain. It could even back up enough to flood yards and basements or wreak havoc on cars.
Exhibit B: One pass of the mower

I have even more. So after the leaves have sat in the street for a while, your community comes and picks them up. Where do they go? Depending on your community, they could just go into a landfill with other garbage. Truly forward thinking communities (like mine) can donate or sell the leaves much like other used resources like say metal to be used to make that black gold of gardeners - no not oil - dirt and compost. In Wauwatosa where I live at least they give much of the leaves to an organization that uses them to make compost for a charity (Father Dom who got his own great man story here), but stories like that are rare.

Here is another article, this time from the National Wildlife Federation which adds that making piles of leaves can be a winter sanctuary for wildlife.

Exhibit C: The same yard as A after mowing nee mulching
And last but not least, in fact the most important note. Remember, we are mulching, not mowing the leaves. Mulching the leaves adds beneficial material to your lawn to make it better the following year. You don't have to be an organic lawn or garden person, such as this article that states 'There really is no scientific reason to rake all of the leaves off of your lawn. If you simply run over them with a mower (with the wheels set at their highest setting) they'll break down over the winter, providing your soil with nutrients and shading the soil'. Even general experts like the Lawn Institute and Scott's (lawn and garden products) say to mulch, not rake for a better lawn. Per the Lawn Institue: 'The best method for weed control is mowing the leaves with a mulching mower and letting them fall to the soil, right where they are.'

'Nuff said.

Conclusion

And the winner is: SMART, or a s a friend said: Smarzy - smart AND lazy.

We have power tools for a reason. Would you rather chop down a tree with an ax or with a chain saw? It is far faster to mow the leaves, even if it takes a few passes, plus your lawn will thank you for it next year with less maintenance as it grows healthy and strong over Winter and Spring from all the extra nutrients you just gave it.

And that's The Man Way to do it.