Leaf Care in the Mountains

As previously addressed in the book the Smoky Mtn. Cabin Owner’s Manual www.TheCabinOwnersManual.com, Fall leaves and debris can cause major problems. These issues can cause roof rot or slip/trip hazards and can damage property or cause bodily harm. In this article we will briefly introduce some of the damage that we encounter and will give you some ideas about how to deal with the situation.

Let us picture a property that is common in our mountains. Looking at it through our minds eye we notice that surrounding the structure are several trees; some of them are tall and have their canopy above the roofline. Shortly after Mother Nature begins waving her wand painting our Mountains, the wind knocks the leaves from their perch and they blanket whatever is beneath them. It does make for a beautiful sight but also brings hidden dangers. 

Leaves and debris on the roof.

When the leaves collect on the roof they can form a dam that backs up water which then seeps into any available crevice and may eventually rot the roof sheathing. If allowed to build up long enough, the leaves will decay and create an amazingly rich potting soil for seeds to sprout and grow. It is not uncommon to see small trees growing in gutters and in troughs on a roof. If these plants are not removed they can actually root into the roof structure and severely damage the roof integrity. We have seen plants like Ivy grow over 20 feet into a roof. This creates a serious problem as the roof leaks badly and rots quickly destroying the integrity of the structure.

Now, we move to the leaves that fell to ground level. 

When the leaves pile up they make a great hiding place for pests. Bugs, Rodents and Reptiles all find leaf fodder as a great place to insulate from the cold as well as serving as a feeding ground. It is not unheard of to move a pile of leaves on a frigid day in January and find a snake that is insulated well enough to slither away. So, if you want to keep “Creepy Crawlies” away from your house, moving leaves away from structures on your property is a good idea. Also, having leaves close to the buildings on your property is a fire hazard, you can find more information on this topic in my article Leaf Care Since the Fire of 2016. 

Leaves that remain on the ground also pose a risk to bodily injury. 

Leaves create a barrier to roads and walkways, they can conceal objects and become a trip hazard or they can be slippery, especially when wet. It is common knowledge in the Mountains that a wet road covered with leaves is as dangerous as a road covered in black ice; drive or walk on it with caution. On a less dramatic note, Leaves that pile up on lawn areas work like mulch and retard the growth of grass. We have seen some properties where the grass simply did not grow until we began the service of removing the leaves regularly, after which the lawn grew normally.

How to deal with these issues: 

If you live inside of the city limits it is possible that the city will provide a leaf pick up service, all that is needed is to pile the leaves along the road side of your property. If your property is in the county it is doubtful a service like that exists. You may be able to employ someone to collect the leaves and bag them off of your site. At Cardinal Custom Lawn Property Maintenance Solutions, www.CardinalCustomLawn.com, we offer this and other services. However, it is likely that it will be cheaper to have someone blow the leaves into the woods, use them as mulch or store them in piles on your property. These are all services that we provide regularly. The majority of owners or managers  choose to deal with the problem in the most simple and cost effective way based on their individual property. We have found that the least expensive option is as follows, to schedule the leaf blowing service weekly during the Autumn leaf season; typically Mid October to the first of December or as the weather dictates. Servicing the leaves weekly keeps them from piling up and making it harder to move them. Once leaves pile up, they becomes saturated with water and it is quite laborious to move costing more money. 

On another note, If you want to make use of the organic material, you have the option to make a compost pile where they can be turned into rich soil. This can be a great way to build topsoil for your lawn or to create a garden area. Keep in mind that a compost pile takes planning and work because the organic material does need to be turned over to decompose properly. If you need help with this or with any of these services please contact Cardinal Custom Lawn Property Maintenance Solutions, www.CardinalCustomLawn.com for a quote. 

If you need help with maintaining your property please refer to the Smoky Mtn. Cabin Owners’s Manual  www.TheCabinOwnersManual.com  which deals with this and other issues associated with mountain properties. I also serve as a Realtor with Marty Loveday and Associates www.MartyLoveday.com/John-Suttles/ so please contact me with your Real Estate or Property Maintenance needs. I am always looking for qualified listings to take to the Market!

John D. Suttles.

C:865-724-8402    O:865-573-9444    email: John@MartyLoveday.com

Marty Loveday and Associates, 130 Maryville Hwy. Seymour TN 37865

P.S. If you are reading this article you may be in need of help with other problems on your property, for more information download my free 10 page book on the website www.TheCabinOwnersManual.com  or purchase The Smoky Mtn. Cabin Owner’s Manual- a $20 value for under $10.