- On November 23, 2020
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As much as we all enjoy the changing hues of foliage in the fall, fall leaves on the ground can look untidy and encourage pests.
Yet, these garden leaves are a blessing in disguise.
Once they’re past their prime, leaves are still a good source of nutrients for your garden. Studies show that fall leaves release significant quantities of nitrogen and potassium as they decay.
So before you rake and bag your leaves, here’s what to do with fall leaves, so you don’t waste all that goodness.
1. Add Them to Your Compost Heap
If you want to create wonderfully rich compost for your garden, you need both wet, green materials and dry, brown materials.
Grass cuttings are an excellent source of green material, while fall leaves are an abundant dry material.
So, don’t discard the leaves you rake from your garden, add them to your compost heap. They’ll do the trick faster if you shred them first, but it’s not vital for composting success.
If you have too many leaves during the fall, you can vacuum them up and keep them in a clean, dry trash can to use when you have more wet materials available.
2. Mulching Your Garden Beds
After raking your garden leaves, you can add them to your garden beds. They make an attractive mulch and will improve the soil as they decompose.
A thick layer of leaf mulch can form a solid, waterproof mat, that blocks airflow to the soil though. So, it’s best to shred the leaves first if you want to use them as mulch.
3. What to Do With Fall Leaves to Improve Your Soil
If you’re planning a veggie patch or want to boost the soil condition of a dull patch in your garden, fallen leaves are the answer.
You can mix shredded leaves straight into your garden. By the next spring, your soil will be writhing with earthworms and full of beneficial nutrients.
For an added boost, you can add a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to help the leaves decompose faster and prevent soil microbes from using all the nitrogen.
4. Are Leaves Good for Your Garden’s Grassy Areas?
Despite the belief that fall leaves can harm your lawn, a study by Michigan University has revealed that a thin layer of shredded leaves helps your grass stay healthy during the winter.
Instead of raking the leaves, simply run a mulching mower over your lawn. It will chop the leaves into tiny pieces and push them down into the soil.
A thick layer of leaves can smother your lawn, but mulching them into the lawn’s a good way to save time, prevent weeds from taking root, and feed your lawn in the process.
More Garden Maintenance Tips
Whether you’re wondering what to do with fall leaves or planning your spring lawn care routine, we can help.
Browse our blog for more information on ways to maximize your yard maintenance chores and the ways our garden power tools can make gardening easier at any time of year.