Winterkill and trench composting
Winterkill can happen even before winter and before any snowfall. My next door neighbor who spent $500 to
machine-aerate and seed his front lawn with a cool-season
mixture has a lot of winterkill showing right now.
He left lots of leaves on his lawn for a long time, and
a couple weeks ago he noticed grass was dying underneath
the big, matted leaves. I volunteered to rake his front
lawn free-of-charge last week since he's an older man who
is retired and his wife died several years ago of cancer.
He's also a really nice guy.
Wow, his lawn has about 30 spots of dead grass, each
spot roughly 4 inches by 3 inches (some a bit smaller,
I raked the leaves off my own lawn a day or two later.
This was the second time this season I raked leaves off
my lawn. A couple other times, I mulch-mowed the
leaves into the lawn. No winterkill here.
After raking, I dumped all the leaves in my veggie garden, and went to the nearby library to bag-mow part of its
cool-season, green lawn in order to dump the nitrogen-rich
green clippings onto my leaves in the veggie garden, so
the carbon-rich leaves will decompose faster, enriching
the soil for next season. My zoysia is all brown now, so
I had no choice but to get the green clippings from the
It's been cold lately, like 40's and 30's. But on leaf-raking and bag-mowing days, the temp was 55 and 56* F. Good stroke of luck.
I then used a pitchfork to mix the leaves and grass
clippings into the garden's soil. I guess this qualifies
as "tilling"--though not roto-tilling. What do you
think of tilling that stuff into the garden soil? Should
I have just left it on top of the soil without