With Autumn soon approaching, you can anticipate a lot of leaves falling. These leaves can be a tedious process to remove, time-consuming, and at times overwhelming, to say the least. Before dreading the process of disposing your autumn leaves it’s important to know that the fallen leaves have multiple uses in your yard and garden.
Here is a list of ideas of what you can do with your autumn leaves.
Leaves are a useful component of mulch. They can suppress weeds, and eventually decompose and improve the soil quality. Leaves are better shredded when used for mulch. If the leaves are not shredded, the full leaves can form a solid mat, blocking air and water from getting through to the soil. This usually happens when the leaves are wet. Shredded leaves can insulate plant roots from cold weather without blocking water or air. Nonetheless, shredded leaves can blow around on windy days, so it’s better to hose them down when you spread them for the first time, this will prevent the leaves from blowing away.
Autumn leaves can also be used for compost piles. Compost piles are great organic material for garden soil. It helps improve the tree’s growth and health. Great compost piles need a balance of wet, green material such as grass clippings as well as dry, brown material such at autumn leaves. It is best to rake the leaves from your property so they can decompose faster. If you have too many leaves to add to your compost pile, you can store them in a dry place until springtime when wet, green materials will be available. Compost piles are a great way to recycle leaves and other organic waste in your outside property. Instead of paying a company to remove your leaves, you can use the leaves to return nutrients to your trees.
Your Autumn leaves can also be used to insulate other plants from the cold. To protect smaller plants, including container trees, you can circle the plant with wire fencing. You will then need to stuff leaves inside the fencing ensuring that the leaves are around the plant. These leaves can be later removed in Spring and used for composting. Furthermore, if you have a storage basement or root cellar, you can use the dry leaves to layer your vegetables which is better than using newspaper or sawdust.
Leaves can also be used a lawn food. This is great as it saves you time, money and energy. Leaves help improve soil quality and keeps your grass healthy throughout the winter months. The best trick is running a mulching mower over the leaves, so they’re chopped into tiny pieces and get pressed down into the soil. It’s imperative that you don’t leave a thick layer of leaves on the lawn, as this can suffocate the grass and even kill it. If you have a lot of leaves, we recommend using the mower to disperse the leaves enough so that your grass can get sufficient air.
Leaf mould may not sound terrific, but it is highly beneficial to soil. Leaf mould is the crumbly, compost-like product that remains when leaves are left to decompose without human interference. It’s what makes forests smell so earthy. The leaves are broken down by the slow action of fungi, rather than by bacteria that decompose other compost bin ingredients. Leaf mould may not add a lot of nutrients to the soil, but it improves the soil’s ability to retain water and provides it with the proper soil structure. It also draws in organisms that are highly beneficial to keeping the soil healthy. Making leaf mould is easy, all you have to do is dampen your leaves and then store them in a wood or metal bin or a trash bag with some holes. Occasionally add more water to the leaves if they become dry. The decomposition process will take about 6 to 12 months. The leaf mould can be used by simply digging it into the soil.
Soil Amendments help with the facilitation of water retention, permeability, drainage and water infiltration. Creating compost piles and leaf mould can be time consuming, so an easier solution is adding leaves straight to your garden beds. It’s recommended that you shred the leaves first, you can then spread the leaves on top of the soil and stick them in with a fork or spade. You can also dig the leaves into the top few millimetres of the soil. It’s imperative to make sure that the leaves won’t blow away easily. In due time the leaves will disintegrate and provide a highly beneficial environment for earthworms and other valuable organisms that are found in garden soil.
The ideas above will help you save money and time if used accordingly. Remember to always repurpose, reuse and recycle. For more ideas and tips on trees and landscaping, visit www.justtrees.co.za