What to Do with Fall Leaves

With the chilly air and beautiful colors of the fall season, there also comes the raking and bagging often associated with fall leaves in your yard. Looking for an easier approach to cleaning up fall leaves? Instead of dragging leaves to the curb each weekend, it’s good to know that more than half of the nutrients absorbed by leaves during the growing season remain in the fallen leaves. The Netherland Bulb Company has shared some great information with us, offering ways to put those fallen leaves to good use.

It’s helpful to work throughout the season at using your fallen leaves as lawn and garden compost. Using leaves as mulch within the season can be beneficial, but chopping them up first is ideal. Don’t worry about raking them – simply use a lawn mower set at the highest setting to mow the leaves into the texture of confetti. If necessary, go back over the yard to spread out the leaves and keep them 3 – 4 inches deep. Also, it’s best to mow the leaves in the morning when they are wet with dew. Once chopped, leaves can be beneficial in a variety of ways.

Believe it or not, leaving the leaves in place on your lawn acts as a free fertilizer. Ground leaves on the surface offers nutrients and organic matter and by the upcoming spring, the leaf remains will not be visible - but your lawn will look thicker. This is a wonderful, free way to give your lawn and landscaping significant nourishment with just a little bit of forethought.

Another great option for using leaves as fertilization is by spreading the chopped leaves on top of the perennial beds to treat as winter mulch. This provides insulation as well as improved soil quality as they break down over the cold, winter months. Another use for leaves is for mulch, used for newly planted bulbs or fall perennials.

Fallen leaves can be used in the vegetable garden after they have been chopped up and added to the soil. Over the course of the winter they will decay and in the spring the soil surface will be free of leaf clumps and clutter, making it easier to sow seeds. When you mix carbon-rich leaves with fresh grass clippings, it improves your soil and will help your spring garden thrive with earthworms and other beneficial organisms.

These are just a few ways to use fallen leaves to your advantage. If you have questions about other ways to fertilize your lawn or garden, give us a call or visit one of our Joe’s Market Basket locations in Edwardsville, Godfrey, Troy, O’Fallon, or St. Peters, Missouri. You can also visit us online at www.joesmarketbasket.com.

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