4 Ways to Use Burlap in Your Yard This Fall Season

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My dad does a number of crazy, lawn-related things. He has multiple sprinklers set up to water various parts of the lawn at precise and calculated times. He weed-wacks the lawn’s edges multiple times to ensure they hold crisp perfection. And, to be honest, he holds a unique affinity for plastic pink flamingos to complement his precise work. Though his habits may seem eccentric, I do take his advice when it comes to growing a thick and luscious lawn. His secret? Plant seeds, water thoroughly, and strategically cover your work in burlap. In the fall, burlap can be used in many ways in relation to landscaping, and this article will offer some interesting techniques and various uses for it.

Why Burlap?

Before we begin discussing some ways burlap can aid a gardener in perfecting an autumn lawn, let's first explore what attributes make the material so useful. First, it has double the strength that normal domestic fabric does. Typically made of jute (a naturally grown vegetable fiber used for materials that require hardiness), woven burlap is hardy enough to withstand pressures of weight and the toughest of weather conditions. Second, since the material is woven, the end product results in being porous. Though this would be a negative aspect if it were required to, say, hold water, for a backyard gardener's needs the holes are a useful option. Third, the reason this material is a wonderful option for all lawn care enthusiasts is because it's cost-effective. Although you can buy it at fabric stores, this material is a great one to upcycle. Found on most farms in America, most owners have more than enough of the stuff and would gladly sell some at a discounted rate to simply get it off their hands. Burlap is natural, strong, and inexpensive—sounds like a wining material!

4 Uses for Burlap in the Fall

1. Protecting Against Frost on Bushes and Plants

A row of lettuce or cabbage in a garden with frost on them.

Here in Buffalo, New York, the weather can be, well, unpredictable. In autumn, it can be brisk in the morning and warm in the afternoon, with a frost coming through when the night falls. For those of us with plants, this is a nightmare. When wrapped with burlap, however, the precious and delicate greenery can be saved.

To do this, plant three of four wooden stakes in the ground in a circular space around the plant. Then, simply wrap the material around the posts, encasing the plant in a warmth of material. Rope, clip, or staple the fabric in place.

2. A Means for Transportation

If you have many trees and need an easy way to rake fallen leaves, here is a tip for you. Spread a layer of burlap on the ground and weight it with anything heavy you have on hand (I use bricks for this). Now, instead of raking into piles like your parents always did, rake the leaves onto your burlap piece and pull the burlap with the leaves on top to a compost or rubbish pile. As burlap is a naturally hardy fabric, it can hold weight and pressure better than plastics and is a great naturally inspired tool for your autumn yard work.

3. Easy Storage

A burlap bag of apples on a wood table with trees behind them.

Burlap, when in bag form, epitomizes easy storage as it promotes fresh air circulation and is therefore a unique approach to food preservation. Potatoes and certain kinds of onion, for instance, are planted in the summer to be picked for a lovely fall harvest. If your fall garden was successful, why not try storing your produce in burlap bags? When placed in cool dark places for perpetuation, one can continue to enjoy hard-earned produce rewards for a long time to come.

4. Post-harvest Ground Cover

After a great summer and a profitable garden, a harvest can be a wonderful and delicious prize. It's imperative, however, that the soil be protected once the plants have been removed, as time can strip and erode moisture and precious nutrients. The easiest fix to this issue is to simply lay a plain piece of burlap over the ground and weigh it down with spikes in each corner. Then, all that needs to be worried about is what to plant next year!