Fall leaves are rich in minerals and organic matter, and if you throw them away every year you will gradually make your soil less fertile. Here are four ways to recycle this valuable resource on your yard and in your garden:
- Rake up the leaves but instead of throwing them away, stockpile them next to your compost pile so you can mix them with grass clippings next summer. This grass/leaf mix makes excellent compost.
- If you don't already have a compost pile, you can toss the leaves into a simple circle of wire fencing. Or if you prefer, bag the leaves, punch a few hole in the tops of the bags, water well, and leave them to decompose. Either way, next year you'll have a rich, crumbly leaf mold that is an excellent organic soil amendment.
- Shred the leaves by mowing, or put them into a garbage can and chop them up with a string trimmer. Use this mulch in your garden to enrich the soil and protect overwintering crops such as garlic.
- Mow the lawn to chop up the leaves and most of them will fall back into the grass and decompose. Let the wind carry the rest into shrub borders where they will protect plant roots from severe cold.