Using Fall Leaves as Mulch

Friday, December 2, 2016



For many people, the release of fall leaves onto the yard is an unwelcome sight, fraught with raking, and bagging and disposing of mounds and mounds of debris. But, for me it is just the opposite. I welcome a yard full of fall leaves because I have always thought of them as a valuable crop (in a manner of speaking) to be harvested, shredded or composted and used as mulch in my garden.


I learned, long ago, that when you shred or compost leaves you end up with nitrogen and nutrient rich garden mulch that is totally free and readily available. When you layer the confetti like leaves in garden beds it settles down with each watering or rainfall and new application of leave to knit together creating a felted like carpet that doesn’t blow away in the wind, but stays loose and porous enough to let water penetrate.


My deciduous trees like the Sycamore and Gingko are in the front yard, which isn’t very big, so I don’t get tons of leaves, but what I do get is stored in an unused compost bin until I have good amount to shred. Throughout the fall they are collected and shredded and will mulch several garden beds.


When life gets busy and doesn’t leave time for raking or shredding all those leaves they get mowed over with the lawn mower and used as mulch, as is, or piled into the compost bin to break down into nutrient rich soil. If I’m feeling really energetic and need more leaves than my trees can provide I ask neighbors if I can have their’s. You can always find someone willing to let you clean their yard of leaves, so they don’t have to.

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