To many, Fall is the most wonderful time of the year. Cooling temperatures and colorful, Fall foliage are tangible cues of the change in season, and fill us with anticipation of the coming holidays. Fall is also a time when many people make the shift from lawn mowing to leaf raking – with the occasional timeout for the kids or dog to jump in the leaf piles. Raking up those fall leaves is important. Keep too thick a cover of leaves and they may kill the lawn. What you might not have known is that they can even damage your fencing.
Most of the havoc that leaves wreak on fencing is the result of water buildup. Even after a hard rain, fence posts and slats typically dry out quickly. However, if leaves pile up around the foot of your fencing, they will retain water. This excess moisture can significantly damage wood fencing if given the chance. It is likely to cause warping in the wood slats of the fencing and may result in rotting fence posts.
The excess moisture created by piles of leaves along fencing also attracts insects. They are drawn to the leaves both for the excess water they contain and for nesting. Insects drawn to the leaf piles may also take the opportunity to burrow into the wood of the fencing – damage you might not even notice because the leaf piles obscure it. In time, you’ll find that some of wooden fence posts have become soft because insects have eaten much of the inside of the post. Then you’re down to replacing the post to maintain the fence’s structural integrity.
Leaf buildup along your fencing may even alter the drainage on your property resulting in damage to the fence, landscaping, and maybe your home. Dense leaf buildup redirects the flow of water away from its intended path through your yard and around your home. This typically results in puddles (or small ponds!) where you don’t want them, may kill plants and grass because of too much water, and may even damage the foundation or lower exterior of your home, resulting in costly repair bills.
Fortunately, the solution is simple, rake or blow your leaves every week or so as needed. Compost them if possible or dispose of them. Doing so will help protect your home, your yard, and your fencing.