Deciduous trees make for great summer shade and a delightfully brilliant display of colors in the fall. Unfortunately, after they have lost their colors and fall from the trees, they can become a headache for homeowners. Their presence can sometimes be more than an annoyance – in large numbers, they can be a hazard.
Keeping your home safe from fall leaves can be a challenge and a lot of work. Sometimes, it is better to leave the removal and disposal of leaves to the experts. Doing so can save a homeowner time and money as well as get the scoop on problems caused by leaves in ways the average property owner may not have thought about.
Here are five ways in which those previously colorful leaves can lead to problems:
1. Lawn Care – Leaves layered in your lawn can act as great shelter for bugs and vermin that can feed off the soil and roots of your grass. If you’ve put time into making your lawn attractive during the summer, having just a few odd piles of leaves can devastate the care and work (not to mention the expense) you’ve invested in having an attractive yard. Leaves act as a cover and shelter for pests, making it easier for them to multiply and create damage – causing you to start all over next spring.
2. Erosion Damage – Clusters of leaves tend to collect in low-lying areas such as ditches and places where water runs off. These areas cause the natural flow of rainwater and melting snow to change, thus redirecting the flow into areas where damage can occur.
3. Clogged Gutters -Clogged gutters are a common fall problem. Downspouts become blocked and once rain comes, guttering overflows causing causing damage to fascia and potentially roof damage. There are several types of gutter “guards” available to deflect leaf invasion of a home’s gutters but these can bring other problems if the correct type is not used. The designs of some are such that, during a heavy rain, water velocity and momentum coming off the roof can actually cause rainwater to overshoot the gutters. Contact a professional to make sure you’re not going to have problems with your guttering.
4. Fire – Autumn leaves in a lawn can have a tendency to collect around a home’s foundation. This creates a perfect kindling for a potential house fire. Dried leaves around a home’s foundation tend to remain dry because they are sheltered by the eaves and gables. The drier they become, the easier they are to start a blaze. An errant spark from your own chimney or a neighbor’s cozy fireplace can travel to start a raging fire – one that can have a home ablaze in moments. Make sure that all leaves are removed from around your home’s foundation.
5. Homesteaders – Yet another reason to make sure leaves are not around your home is insects. A dry pile of leaves against your home invites centipedes, spiders, slugs, termites to seek shelter and raise the next generation. Your home has foundation venting as well and piles of leaves near a vent can be a freeway for them to travel inside into a crawlspace or basement, particularly if there is a breech in the vent screening.
Whether they’re vacuumed up, raked or bagged in a mower, leaf removal from your property is going to be a smart move. Your home and lawn will safer for it and it will enhance your curb appeal. Leaf removal will also show you as a proud neighborhood homeowner and a conscientious and thoughtful neighbor when those shifting winter winds come along.