Did you know that there’s another way to clean up all those autumn leaves piled throughout the yard? I’ll share how you can not only clean up those fallen leaves but use them as mulch that will benefit your garden.
I love so many things about the autumn season…pumpkin spice lattes, sitting in front of the fire, enjoying my favorite fall candle scent.
What I don’t like is having to rake the piles of fallen leaves OVER and OVER again and dispose of them.
But now I don’t have to! Mowing fallen leaves to make an organic mulch benefits your garden, which will be so happy the next growing season. You can mulch your flower beds, vegetable and flower gardens, containers, and around trees and shrubs.
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The Benefits of Using Fallen Leaves or “Leaf Litter”
- Retains moisture in the soil
- Suppresses weeds
- Protects your plants by buffering the soil temperature
- Improves soil fertility as it decomposes, which reduces the need for fertilizing
- Helps to reduce soil erosion
- Provides nutrients as the leaves decompose.
- A natural habitat for overwintering critters and pollinators.
Creating Organic Mulch
Mowing the Fallen Leaves
A couple of rules of thumb:
- The leaves will break down more quickly and shred easier if they are dry.
- Shredding the leaves as small as possible will help them break down much quicker.
Mow the fallen leaves with a mulching lawnmower, which is designed to recirculate the grass clippings so they are cut into small pieces.
Most lawnmowers have the mulching capability, but if you have an older mower, it can be converted to a mulcher by installing a mulching blade.
Using Leaves After the Season
Leaves that are moist and have developed into leaf mold after the season can also be used, as they are most likely partially decomposed and can be worked into the soil.
Working the Mulch Into the Garden Beds
Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of shredded leaves around shrubs and trees, keeping the mulch from directly touching the stems and trunks of the plants. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to your garden beds,
After reading about how fallen leaves will benefit the garden, I hope you are ready to use them as mulch. I’ve put together more tips on getting your garden ready for winter, including when to divide your perennials.
Please leave me a comment with any questions you have about your fall garden. I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time,
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More Fall Gardening Tips You May Enjoy...
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Hi! Love this idea, I happen to have been reading about it as well. Didn’t know I could shred leaves with a mower!
I want to pass along this info to my parents who have started a garden bed, but they’ve already added black mulch on top…. What should they do with the mulch, come fall, if they’re gonna try this method?
I was so relieved when I found out we could actually do something productive with fallen leaves!
Fall is a great time to add the mulched leaves to your garden beds to protect perennials and spring bulbs from the winter weather. They can just add it to the top. The layers will protect the plants and the mulched leaves will eventually make it further down throughout the season with the rain and everything else going on. Hope that helps.
Love your post of the leaves they are so colorful. I live in the coast area of Texas and they are not that colorful but still don’t mind them. Enjoying your post they are so pretty.
Love this post Kim. I’m going to,share it on my Vermont Foliage home tour coming up??
Thank you, Ann! You have a lot of leaves in your yard I’m sure!
Great tips on leaf mulch Kim! Thanks for sharing! xo
Thank you, Stacy! I love how great it works to keep the dahlias snug as a bug during the winter months.
Rebecca Payne says
Great tips and beautiful photo’s.
You are so sweet Rebecca, thank you!
Chas - Chas' Crazy Creations says
Wow Kim, this is so timely! I just tore down my strawbales and since we have so many leaves, I might just add some of these to all of my gardens. Thank you so much!!!
Oh good Chas! I know it will really help your garden.
Rachel Harper says
Thanks for allowing me to share this post. My share will be live on Sat. 11/21. Here is the link.
You are so organized and sweet to feature me Rachel. Thank you.
Rachel Harper says
Such a great tip Kim.
Thank you Rachel.