Think of a world before man came along! Think of the trees and plants…no artificial fertilisers then, so how did trees and plants grow and grow, and not run out of soil food?
The leaves that fall every autumn are a rich source of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Leaves are broken down by worms, insects and microbes, creating a nutrient rich soil. Leaves also provide a habitat for beneficial insects and small mammals. They greatly increase the soil’s capacity to hold water, (leaf mulch holds 3 to 5 times more water than soil…. rivalling peat moss which of course we would never use now).
We may be convinced that we need this or that soil improver, it’s easy to forget that most of what we really need is already provided by nature, once we understand how it works!
So the leaves fall, beautiful to see, then lie on the ground, what then?
You could just leave them, but on lawns and paths they may be slippery, and could be better used elsewhere. So, ideas?
On your lawn, mow the leaves on a high setting:
- then you could decide to leave them and allow the leaves to act as lawn food, a finer cut may be even better for this. The worms and microbes will regard these tasty leaves as a feast and break them down! FREE lawn fertiliser!
- or add to your compost, because you have cut them up, they will break down faster.
- or add straight onto flower beds as a food, not directly over plants in leaf, but spread over the soil, they will also protect tender plants over the coldest times.
- or pop into bags and leave in a corner to break down into a fine mulch.
If you have lots of leaves and are really very busy ….. IT’S OK!
Remember Nature copes ….it knows what to do…. even without our help, (perhaps far better).
-You can just brush your leaves onto a flower border…avoid piling them on top of green leaves…. make a space for those plants.
OR Simply rake or brush leaves up and pile them up under trees, hedges and shrubs, as deep as 30cms (one foot) is absolutely fine, it really is! These leaves will have broken down to less than 10cms (a few inches) by spring and protected the shrubs from cold over winter AND will provide those trees and shrubs with perfect nutrition over next year’s growing season….…. FOR FREE!!!
Never bank leaves up against tree trunks…place them doughnut style, so the stem does not become damp.
LOVE YOUR LEAVES ….!
Autumn leaves are beautiful, totally natural, feed our soil, our plants, hedges, trees, plus our worms, and they shelter our wildlife.
They are free food for our gardens, and all we have to do is leave them to get on with it.