Simon Ambrose gives his views on leaf clearance and leaf blowers

leaf blowers

It is that time of year again, when the leaves are dropping and we are tiding our gardens and grounds ready for the dormant winter season ahead. And this generally means the use of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, lawn rakes, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and various different hand tools.

Well readers the first agenda I am going to ask you to do, is to follow certain rules which are put in place to help prevent and slow the pace of disease and pathogen spread.

This is very important as a lot of garden plants host these biological issues, which in the long term are causing many many of the diseases/pathogens that are so badly effecting our native trees.

The measures to be followed are really quite easy.

Tidy all garden leaves and detritus and either burn, compost or deep burial.

Composting: if you only have a small amount of composting use your local authorities composting scheme as general the home compost heaps do not produce enough heat to kill off the diseases and pathogens, where as the very large heaps generally does.

Over the fall period, if you compost your own leaves remember to put your grass clippings in with your leaf compost as when mowing in the fall you will pick up leaf litter also with the possibility of fungi being picked up.

Deep burial: Pick a site which is flat and as far away from water sources and natural run off, dig a pit 6ft/2metre minimum and bury said garden waste and leave a marker just in case of any future work near this spot.

At this time of year all tree and shrub detritus should be treated as a bio hazard and dealt with as described above!

Tools: All tools should be kept clean and cleaned between each job, then you lessen the chance of spreading any diseases/pathogens to other sites around your garden/property. For cleaning tools I use a strong bleach mixes 3:1 2:1 1:1 and neat, be careful when using these mixes not to spill it into the environment or getting on clothing etc. Do the cleaning in a open very well ventilated space and wear protection including googles/glasses.

Leaf blowers: Should never be used, as these have no discrimination and will blow the spores, diseased leaf litter all around the garden and any part that is not infected will very soon be at high risk.

Clothing and foot ware: When working in high risk areas, when finished the work every time take off your protective clothing and put in a sealed bag and if not to be used on the same site to finish off. Take them home and put in a hot wash. With footware and vehicles inc tyres,clean off all mud and leaf litter with a dry brush and clean with a mild bleach solution if needed. Also remember to carry clean water to rinse off when just off site. Try to contain the wash off of the solution and water to dispose of in a suitable manner i.e. Down mains sewage or a place where it will be treated before returning back into the system.  Uv light filter systems can work and also slow sand filtration can also help.

Slow sand filtration can also help a great deal in the field, especially when natural water run off around and near infected flora/shrubs and trees.

If you can, burning the plant matter inc infected soil still seems the best option for a sterile solution.

I hope this information is useful and happy disease free gardening/conservation.




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