Don't Throw Away Fallen Leaves - You'll Need Them

Fallen leaves are plenty in fall, that much you know. You likely spend hours every year raking and collecting those from your garden and backyard, only to dispose of them later. Well, you can do that, but you will be throwing away a useful resource, which can be utilised in your gardening efforts instead.

There could be many fallen leaves in your garden, depending on how many trees you have or how many end up there from wind. Regardless of the amount, you need to make sure you utilise these leaves instead of throwing them away. Expert gardeners Stockwell suggest a number of potential uses for fallen leaves, some of which you may have never considered. The next time you are making sure your pathways are clear, consider what you can do with the leaves, instead of wondering where to throw them away.

Here are few suggestions:

  • Use leaves for lawn care - if leaves end up on your lawn, you needn’t worry about collecting them. Instead, run the lawnmower over them on the highest cutting you can set it. Shredding the leaves properly will leave you with numerous small pieces of them, which will eventually find their way into the lawn. That way the soil will retain more moisture for the coming winter and also be healthier, as leaves are rich in nutrients.

  • Compost leaves - turning leaves into compost is not only recommended, it’s in fact a must for a good, healthy compost. What you need to remember is that you have to moist them properly, but not keep them overly wet. Introduce the leaves into a bin along with green material and turn the pile twice every month. The goal is to enable air circulation, which in turn leads to the leaves breaking down to black compost. It is a great tool to use in your garden care efforts.

  • Use leaves for mulching - you should not throw away fallen leaves, when you can use them for mulching. First you have to collect the fallen leaves and then shred them properly. Place the resulting mulch around your plants. There are many benefits to such practice, which are undeniable. Gardening experts have long approved of mulching as a great way to help the soil retain moisture and also prevent weed growth.

  • Use leaves for spring and summer compost - once the winter’s gone, you will have a hard time finding brown material for your compost pile. Be smart, and make use of the fallen leaves you collect in fall. Bag them and store in a cool dry place during the winter months. When spring comes, you will have the brown material supply ready and waiting to be included in your compost pile.

Take into account all of these uses, as they are quite beneficial in terms of gardening. In case you have been throwing away fallen leaves so far, now you know better and can put them to good use instead.

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Comment by Lori Bender on November 3, 2015 at 9:12pm

We gladly collect bags of leaves from town the day before pick up. We have used them as dry bedding for animals, mulching garden walk ways over newspaper in spring, around plants for winter and even as a bagged dog bed. It wasn't for him, he claimed jumped my storage pile of leaf filled bags. The only bad part is the plastic bags get brittle in the weather and tear. My children can't understand why area people burn their leaves. If the kids understand how important leaves are for the soil ...   I think that's why God makes the leaf fires smell so bad, to tell people it's not a good thing that they do.

Comment by Asher Leigh on February 16, 2016 at 10:08am

Hi everyone, I have a question about this --

I just moved into the spot I'm in a couple months ago and we are planning to garden, and possibly start composting.  The yard has been full of leaves all winter, and I am raking/collecting them now.  Would it be ok to throw them into a new compost pile and start turning, even if they have been out and loose all winter?  They are not dried, but seem pretty wet.

Thanks! 

Asher

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