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What to do with Leaves in the Fall

What to do with Leaves in the Fall

As we head into fall, leaves start to change color from green to yellows, red, orange, and purple. Eventually the colors will fade and the leaves will fall to the ground. If there are not a lot of leaves, they can be chopped up with a mower. The smaller leaf pieces will then break down and add nutrients to the soil. If there are large amounts of leaves, they can smother the grass. Most towns offer leaf pickup, but if you live in the country you will need to find other things to do with your leaves.

One option to use the leaves as a mulch in gardens, flower beds and around trees. The leaf mulch can help to control weeds and conserve water. It is best to shred the leaves before you use them as mulch. This will help them stay in place and prevent the leaves clumping together.

If you have any plants that are sensitive to the cold, you can use leaves to help insulate them in the winter. The leaves would need to be placed on top of the plants when temperatures are consistently below freezing.

One of the best uses for fall leaves for gardeners, is to use them as compost. Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter, leaves and other plant materials, into nutrients that can be used by plants. Compost is valuable for improving nutrients and water holding capacity of soil. The process of making compost involves combining different types of plant material and waiting for it to decompose. Materials with higher amounts of nitrogen, like grass clippings, will help microbes break down materials with lower amounts of nitrogen, like leaves. Chopping materials in smaller pieces will speed up the decomposition. With leaves, you can use a mower to shred up the leaves before you put them into the compost pile. The compost is ready to use when it is uniformly broken down.

Leaves in the fall provide us with beauty in our yard, and they can also means some extra work. But leaves can also be valuable for gardeners. This fall you can put these leaves to work in your garden.

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