Just as fall leaves hit peak color, gusty winds may ruin the show


ST. LOUIS – On this mild November day, Missouri Botanical Garden visitors were in for quite a show. The trees have hit peak fall color this week.

“It’s gorgeous. Just to be able to go and walk around outside and enjoy the colors and the beautiful weather,” said Daria McKelvey, a supervisor with MoBOT’s Center for Home Gardening.

But the storm bringing us rain overnight will bring gusty winds the next two days, likely stripping lots of beautiful leaves from their limbs.

“Also with our freezes coming up on Sunday and Monday, that’s also going to put the kibosh on some of the fall color,” McKelvey said.

Those leaves on the ground can be a big benefit to your yard, says McKelvey, so you don’t want to just bag them up.

“You do want to rake up the leaves from your lawn because they can smother your grass. But you can actually mow over them. That will break them down into tiny pieces and that will fall through the blades. That doesn’t smother your grass and provides some nutrients for your lawn,” she said.

You can also add them to a compost heap or gather them up and use them as mulch around your perennials.

“Especially if you have those tender perennials that get a little more damage when the cold temperatures hit. You can place them around that and it will protect them,” McKelvey said.

And leaves can even help keep you from dealing with weeds next year.

“Placing them in an area where you get a lot of weeds coming up in the spring. It can kind of work as a little weed suppressant,” McKelvey said.

As you are doing all that work, the folks at the Garden remind you to also have a little fun.

“You also can just rake them and have a big leaf pile and jump right in,” she said.

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s ninth annual Garden Glow opens Saturday, November 13. Garden Glow has been nominated as one of the best garden holiday lights in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards but they need your vote to win.

Register for advanced Garden Glow tickets here.

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