It's the The Final Mowdown!

Today I took the mower out for a final spin in the balmy 60 degree weather before closing shop over the winter. I'm sure the mower was appreciative of the action as it had rested in my garage for a month gathering dust. It was a good day. It was just the mower and me, man and machine, making the final cut against the waning weeds and the odoriferous onions. Most of the heat thriving weeds and grasses had faded to that lovely dormant brown color and had given way to the bright green of my fresh cool season Kentucky 31. It's young and thriving, growing strong in the cool fall temperatures!

On we rode, up the slopes and back down again, feeling the rush of the wind on the number two speed setting. Over the bumps we careened like some mechanical bull in a seedy western bar, but the grass was grateful for our passage since in our journey we brought light to the lower levels of the lawn. We chopped down the tall creeping crabgrass and cool weather weeds and allowed the sunlight to stream down upon the young blades of fescue. We rode and we rode until there was only a little more to mow.

The riding mower deserved its rest and so out came his distant cousin the mulching push mower, whose specialty was collecting organic matter for composting. We patrolled the borders of the garden beds looking for rogue weeds and grass threatening to escape the confines of the yard. Once these areas had been successfully contained we moved to the back of the landscape to attack the most serious and threatening invader to new fescue grass in the fall: the leaves. Those paratrooping invaders threatened the well being of any grass unfortunate enough to remain shrouded in the darkness beneath their bulk. Left by themselves to decay the leaves would be a welcome influx of organic matter, but for now they had to be shredded or removed to allow light to reach the small blades of grass. The leaves were sucked into the gaping maw of the push mower and shredded, destined to become an addition to my compost bin. Some of the leaves collected ended up as mulch around trees and others became soil amendments to spots of bare ground plaguing the lawn. Many of these leaves remained where they fell and were summarily shredded. They will serve the ground well as shredded organic matter, improving the soil and giving a helping hand to the fescue that they had previously threatened.

For the mowers it was their final mowdown. The last hurrah before their long winter rest. One last chance to use up their gas and to trim the yard before the cold of winter shut everything down. For me it was one more time to enjoy being outside on a pleasant day.

One more thought:
Leaves are one of the best sources of compost material available. Don't let this resource go to waste. You can pile them up in an unused portion of your property, put them in a compost bin, leave them in place and mow them down into smaller bits. I hate to see people bag up the leaves for roadside collections. Or worse, when they burn them. It's a free resource that will make your landscape better if you use them right!

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