As the leaves start to change color and fall from the trees, you may be wondering what to do with all of them. Instead of letting them sit on your lawn and turn brown, put them to good use with these five clever ideas for fall leaves and landscaping.
1. Create Leaf Mold
Leaf mold is a type of compost made up of decomposing leaves. It is an excellent amendment for garden beds and improves drainage in heavy clay soils. To make leaf mold, rake up your fallen leaves and place them in a mesh bag or wire bin. Be sure to leave some space in between the leaves for air circulation. Water the leaves lightly and allow them to decompose for six months to a year before using.
2. Make Leaf Mulch
Leaf mulch is a great way to insulate garden beds and prevent weed growth. Mulching with leaves also helps conserve moisture in the soil and can improve the overall health of your plants. To make leaf mulch, shred the leaves with a lawn mower or leaf blower and spread them around your garden bed at a depth of two to three inches. Leave space around each plant's base, so the mulch doesn't touch the stems or foliage.
3. Use Them as Compost
Fallen leaves are an excellent source of carbon for compost piles. The key is shredding or chopping them into small pieces, so they decompose more quickly. You can do this with a lawn mower, leaf blower, or even by running over them with a car (if you don't mind getting your tires dirty). Once they're in small pieces, mix them with your other compost ingredients in a ratio of about 30:1 (30 parts leaves to one other ingredient).
4. Feed Them to Your Worms
Worms love eating fallen leaves! Add shredded leaves to the container like any other food scraps if you have a worm bin. The worms will consume the leaves and turn them into vermicompost, an excellent fertilizer for plants. If you don't have a worm bin, you can still compost with worms by digging a hole in your yard and filling it with shredded leaves, water, and worms from your local bait shop. Cover the hole with a lid or burlap sack weighted down with rocks so that animals don't disturb it.
5. Protect Your Plants Over Winter
If you live in an area where it gets cold enough to snow, fallen leaves can provide much-needed protection for your delicate plants over winter. First, rake up loose leaves around your yard and use them to cover sensitive plants like roses, herbaceous perennials, and strawberries. Then, remove the leaf coverings in early spring so your plants can get sunlight again!
There are many clever ways to put fallen leaves to good use instead of letting them sit on your lawn and turn brown. Those fall leaves don't have to be such a nuisance—with a bit of creativity, they can enhance your landscape! This is also one option for those looking to be more sustainable this fall season. Don't hesitate to call us at Medford Landscape Design for additional landscaping needs.