Gardening falling leaves

Published on November 14th, 2013 | by Backyards Made Better


Can Leaves Be Used As Mulch?

We just finished raking up a yard full of leaves the other day. It was a relatively pleasant experience being outdoors, just as it always is. Our back’s might not agree.

Despite a few aches and pains the following day, it dawned on us that with all those leaves, it would be a shame to just discard them.

We know that dead leaves and other plant matter make excellent compost if you manage it and mix them right.

But what else can be done with those leaves?

Well, believe it or not, they can make an excellent mulch, according to the Iowa State University Extension Service.

“Shredded or composted leaves are an excellent mulch for vegetable gardens, raspberry plantings, perennial flower beds and around trees and shrubs. While the leaves of some trees, such as oak, are acidic, they can be safely used in the yard and garden. An oak leaf mulch has little effect on soil pH.

However, leaves are a poor winter mulch for strawberries and herbaceous perennials. Plants covered by leaves over the winter months may be damaged due to excess moisture trapped under the leaves. Clean, weed-free wheat, oat or soybean straw is an excellent winter mulch for strawberries and perennials.”

So when using leaves as mulch, more than anything, it depends on when you use them, and what you apply them to. When the fit is right, you’ll end up with some exceptional mulch.

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