Falling leaves eventually become abundantly messy.

Autumn foliar color certainly is pretty while it lasts. Although less prominent locally than it is where cooler weather begins earlier, it is an asset to many home gardens. It generally appears a bit later within mild climates here, but might also remain suspended a bit later. Ultimately though, with enough wintry wind and rain, it eventually becomes foliar debris.

Evergreen foliage also contributes to the mess. It is likely less abundant than deciduous foliage is during autumn, but only because it sheds through more extensive seasons. For example, Southern magnolia sheds mostly through spring, as new foliage replaces older foliage. It then continues to shed additional debris throughout the year, including autumn.

Regardless of its various origins, foliar debris becomes more of a concern during autumn for two simple reasons. Firstly, and obviously, more of it accumulates during autumn than during any other season. Secondly, since autumn is the beginning of the rainy season, it is the most inconvenient time of year for such debris to accumulate within home gardens.

Roadside gutters, eavestroughs and their downspouts should drain efficiently. However, foliar debris can interfere with their drainage when it becomes most important. Roadside gutters are more accessible, so are easier to observe and clean. Eavestroughs and their downspouts may be beyond reach, but may need more cleaning if defoliation continues.

Foliar debris is unhealthy for turf, groundcover and shrubbery that it accumulates over. It inhibits photosynthesis by obstructing sunlight. It can also promote proliferation of fungal pathogens. This is why prompt raking is very important. Foliar debris can stain pavement and decking, and may be hazardously slippery. Behind chimneys, it can promote decay, and possibly become a fire hazard.


4 thoughts on “Debris Fills Gutters During Autumn

    1. Gutters seem to be overrated to me. I used to live in a home of Ranch architecture. Gutters were nice over the entrance to the garage and a walkway that went to the front door but really did not do much elsewhere. (Realistically, the walkway should not have been directly under the edge of an eave anyway. The roof was designed to drain away from the entrance to the porch.) They collected water from the roof, but merely directed into downspouts that merely poured it out onto the ground below the gutters. The eaves were so far from the walls that I doubt that falling water would have splattered much onto the walls. Splatter could have been mitigated by foundations plants, such as lily of the Nile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lily of the Nile can do the same, but because of the reliance on gutters, no one bothers to consider the function of foundation planting. Landscape designers think that the only function of foundation plantings is to obscure the foundation.

        Liked by 1 person

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