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Hallett News & Tips

What to do with all those fallen leaves?

September 10th, 2019

Ways to use fallen leaves in your yard.

Does your yard look like this every fall?  Have you ever wondered what you can do with the leaves that fall other than bagging them up?  Why not put them to good use around your home?  Here are a few ways to use fall leaves.

Nobody likes doing it but it has to be done. Fallen leaves rustle underfoot. They smell good. The wind sometimes whips them into a dancing frenzy.

However, fall leaves could also be considered free organic fertilizer that is found right in your yard!  Yes, though there is labor involved, you need to rake or blow them up or they will smother your lawn and create other issues.

How to use fall leaves

The first step is to rake up the leaves. If you have a larger yard, use a leaf blower.

Mow back over the leaves a few times.

Chopped leaves will break down quickly in spring and add valuable organic matter to the soil.  The trick is to mow frequently, before over six inches of leaves fall.  Another trick is to remove the bagging attachment with the first pass mow the leaf piles and allow them to fall onto the grass.  Then make a second pass with the bagging attachment in place.  The chopped leaves will now be sucked into the bag.

Spread them as protective mulch for your landscape.

You can spread your chopped leaves around trees, shrubs and gardens to help conserve moisture and control weed growth.  This makes a good insulating cover for over wintering tender perennials or root crops stored in the ground.

Use them as a weed barrier for spring plantings.

Leaves make excellent mulch for vegetable crops, berries, and ornamental shrubs.  They not only suppress weeds and help retain soil moisture but because they contain no weed seeds themselves, the won’t encourage the spread of new weeds.

Make compost for a valuable soil amendment.

Leaves pair well with summer’s nitrogen-rich grass clippings. Layer three or four inches of old leaves with and inch of fresh grass clippings and other green leafy yard waste.

Make leaf mold.

Leaf mold is a special kind of all-leaf compost much beloved by English gardeners.  It involves collecting and storing leaves, shredded or not in plastic bags or wire bins.  Keep the leaves moist, and let the fungi take over.  After two or three years, the leaves will have disintegrated into a dark, sweet-smelling, soil conditioner, high in minerals. It’s fantastic!

How to make leaf mold.


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