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 a mulch that will benefit your garden.
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Are you like me? You love everything about the autumn season…pumpkin spice lattes, sitting in front of the fire, enjoying your favorite candle scent. That is, everything EXCEPT raking the piles of fallen leaves OVER and OVER again, and having to dispose of them.
Well guess what! By mowing your fallen leaves to make an organic mulch, it 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.
The Benefits to Using Fallen Leaves or “Leaf Litter”
- Retain moisture in the soil
- Suppress weeds
- Protect your plants by buffering the soil temperature
- Improve soil fertility as it decomposes, which reduces the need for fertilizing
- Can help to reduce soil erosion
- Provide nutrients as the leaves decompose.
- A natural habitat for overwintering critters and pollinators.
Creating Organic Mulch
Mowing the Fallen Leaves
A couple 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 mulching capability, but if you have an older mowers, 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 how fallen leaves will benefit the garden, I hope you are ready to use them for 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.