October caramelizes the landscape with deeply saturated tones and sweet, mellow flair.  The static display of Summer foliage turns dynamic, each species unique in color, smoldering in the brisk, cool air.


October is, by far, my favorite month, and she has yet to disappoint.  The bracing, crisp weather is invigorating, and the Fall rains much needed as our lawns perk up – just in time for the big show.  According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois fall foliage usually peaks around mid to late October.


As you know, waning daylight and cooler temperatures are the catalysts in which leaves begin to change color.  In addition to vivid displays, trees drop their leaves in an effort to conserve energy and nutrition for the Winter ahead.


Leaf drop also means raking, but is there something more useful and noble we could be doing with all these leaves than simply raking, bagging and dumping?  Heaven knows this requires a good deal of effort and even greater amount of patience.  I’m not suggesting you simply let the leaves lie.  This could be detrimental to your lawn, but there are some pragmatic approaches worth trying.


Composting leaves is always an excellent option.  Granted, you’ll still have to rake them, but you’ll be able to recycle, and your soil will benefit from all the organic matter.  Don’t have a compost bin?  No need to despair.  Leaves can be stored in garbage bags that have small holes punctured throughout or some municipalities offer recycling centers where leaves are composted on site and used throughout the community.


Mulching is yet another valuable option.  Leaves can be shredded and added to beds where they act as insulators while naturally fertilizing the soil as they begin to break down.


Whatever you decide, the majority of leaves will need to be raked and removed, but you might consider composting or mulching as viable options.  In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, contact Sweeney’s today to schedule your Fall Clean Up.  Schedules are filling up fast!

Plant of the Week


Obedient Plant

Also known as False Dragonhead, pink, spiky flowers that resemble Snapdragons bloom August – October amongst dark green, sharply toothed leaves.  Prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 3-4′ tall and 2-3′ wide.  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is deer resistant.

“Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it.”

-Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney