“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” Dodinsky.
Autumn. With its crisp, refreshing mornings and its plethora of stunning shades of red, yellow and orange. A truly stunning time of the year. Whilst all those fallen leaves create a beautiful canvas along the walkways, it can seem like an arduous endeavour to keep your garden clear from all those fallen leaves. If you are accustomed to living in a home surrounded by lots of trees, you’ll be aware of the potentially lasting stains these leaves can leave if left unattended. We’ll take a quick look at why these leaves create stains and what we can do to tackle them in our garden space.
How and why leaves stain
The three pigments that colour leaves are chlorophyll for the green, carotenes for the yellow and anthocyanins for the reds and pinks. Now, as the days start to get shorter and colder, naturally, the leaves begin to absorb less sunlight. This then sets off a process where the chlorophyll breaks down without the process of renewal leading to the orange, reds and yellows to come through.
Once autumn hits, trees then start the process of shredding these leaves. These leaves contain sugars and carbohydrates and the process of decomposing begins. Trees shedding leaves can cause staining if left to rain, as residue left behind causes stains. It is the tannins in the leaves that cause this staining. If you’ve ever left a teabag in a tea-pot, you’ll notice the stains. This is the workings of the tannins. These same tannins are what cause your stone paving, walkways and composite decking to stain.
How to protect decking from staining
Like the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. So, if you live in an area that is heavily populated with trees and therefore going to be exposed to more leaf felling in the autumn, then it is worth considering the type of colours you choose for your composite decking. Darker coloured decking boards tend to do better when it comes to dealing with stains. Colours like grey and black show fewer stains compared to oak coloured decking. In addition to choosing the right colour, if you opt for decking with an extra layer of capping, then you would get more protection for your boards. You can find decking boards that match the criteria at Royale Composite Decking – Deckorum.
Now, whether you do the above and go for darker colours from Deckorum’s Royale range like the Slate Grey decking or the Silver Tree boards, or whether you already have decking laid down, you can always employ some good methods to stop the deck from either staining or minimising its effect.
Get the leaf blowers, brushes and rakes out early. By early, we mean when around a third or so of the leaves have been shed. Taking action before the leaves get wet and cause staining will simplify your life. After the initial felling of leaves, you should then be able to maintain the garden space with a lot less work.
What to do if the decking gets stained
If in the event your composite decking boards do become stained, again act early where possible. The longer stains sit, the harder they are to remove and the more likely they are to penetrate deeply into the boards. Begin by sweeping the deck to remove loose dust and debris and follow by hosing down the surface thoroughly. Mix warm water (not too hot) and a mild dish soap in a bucket and use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub the dirt away.
Always scrub in the direction of the deck plank. Once the surface is clean, make sure you get into the corners and gaps between boards to keep mould at bay. Clean the deck with soapy water solution, then hose it down to remove soap and prevent dirty water marks. On warmer days, work in small sections and rinse before the soap solution has time to dry.