As the air gets colder, storms roll in and the evenings get darker, it’s clear that fall is here. One of the most common fall chores is removing leaves. But what should you do with them? In some gardens or garden areas you can leave it, in others it is better to remove it. There is something very pleasing about raking up fall leaves. You can do something useful with all the leaves you collect. Where to put the autumn leaves? We’ll answer this question below and tell you cool ideas about what you can do with them.
Table of Contents
- Where to put the autumn leaves?
Where to put the fall leaves?
Use autumn leaves as mulch
Herbs and leaves make good mulch when applied directly to the bed. This is a good way to work with existing beds. It is best to use shredded leaves. You can shred the leaves by piling them on a freshly mowed lawn and running a mower over them, preferably one that collects them. Some mowers allow you to increase the height of cut, which is another way to prevent perennial weeds or seeds from getting into the leaf mulch. Then spread the shredded leaves over beds at a thickness of about 6 – 15 inches. Remember that some plants do not like moisture around their stems, trunks or crowns.
Utilize the leaves: compost them.
Fall leaves make an excellent brown or carbon part of the mix for the compost pile. Keep in mind that leaves take time to decompose, so don’t pile them in large heaps. Create layers with a mixture of leaves and the last of the grass clippings, mixed with the usual compost ingredients. If you shred the fall leaves, they will compost faster.
Cover the pile with an old carpet to keep the heat in and the rain out. Aerate the pile occasionally with a garden fork and in the spring you will have a perfect garden compost .
Fall leaves for your lawn
You can simply mow the leaves into your lawn. A fine layer of shredded leaves will decompose over the winter and be incorporated into the lawn by earthworms. The mixture of nitrogen-rich grass clippings and carbon-rich leaves makes a perfect, nutrient-rich lawn food to perk up your lawn in the spring.
Set your lawn mower on its highest setting and turn off the catcher to shred the leaves into a fine mulch that will improve your lawn next year. Mow every week to create a fine mulch.
Isolate ground plants
While you know you can use foliage to insulate ground plants, you can also use it to insulate the entire plant. If you have a tender plant that needs a blanket during the winter months, build a cage around the plant, add leaves and let it survive the winter . This technique works especially well in cold, but not wet climates so that damp leaves do not cause rot on the plants.
Protect and store root vegetables
Fall foliage is a good insulating layer for hardy vegetable and root crops that are stored in the ground, such as carrots, kale, leeks and beets. Cover them and you can harvest throughout the winter.
If you have a cool, damp spot, you can also store carrots, beets and other root vegetables between layers of crunchy, freshly fallen leaves. Spray each layer of leaves with water (don’t let them get wet).
Wildlife needs fall foliage
Foliage isn’t just useful for us humans. Fallen leaves also provide some winter protection for wildlife, especially pollinators. Bees, moths, butterflies, snails, spiders, and dozens of arthropods and pollinators hibernate in dead plant material to protect themselves from cold weather and predators. The mated queen bumblebees, for example, burrow only 3 or 5 inches deep into the soil to hibernate, relying on the natural leaf litter to insulate them. Many butterflies also hibernate in pupae or cocoons disguised as dry leaves.
Create a leaf pile or two and let them decompose naturally. Leave fall leaves whole, do not shred them. Your butterflies and pollinators will thank you.
Leave some fall foliage for the spring and summer months, too.
During the spring and summer months, it can be difficult to find enough brown material for your compost garbage can. If you store them in bags in a cool, dry place, you’ll have a plentiful source of brown material for next year.
Fall decorations for your home
Before the fallen leaves lose their vibrant fall colors, collect and store some of them. You can use them as seasonal decorations both indoors and outdoors. A quick and easy preservation method is to iron the leaves between two sheets of wax paper. The wax paper will enclose the leaves and protect them. Then you can cut out the leaves and use them as decoration.