Fall comes with lots of leaves piling up in your yard. While you might dread annual leaf raking, what if you didn’t have to worry about all the leaf litter on the ground? Many homeowners realize using leaves as mulch is an easy way to say goodbye to raking leaves and hello to rich, moist soil.
But what is leaf mulch, what are the benefits for your yard, and why should you leave your autumn leaves on the ground this season? Read more to find out!
What is Leaf Mulch?
Leaf mulch is exactly what it sounds like: leaves are used as organic mulch to cover your soil. This mulch adds organic matter to your soil and valuable nutrients to keep your soil rich, healthy, and flourishing. It’s a fantastic and natural way to take care of your lawn without spending big on mulch!
What are the Benefits of Leaves as Mulch?
So, why do people use leaves as mulch? Let’s explore some of the benefits of using leaves as mulch.
One caveat – be sure to have the leaves blown or raked off the grass so as not to smother the lawn. Leaves are best used in beds, around bushes, and other areas where you would apply mulch.
Leaf Mulch Creates a Weed Barrier
There’s nothing more irritating than spending all your time outside pulling weeds from your grass or garden. Leaf mulch is an excellent way to prevent this. When leaves fall on the ground, they provide a protective layer around your plants to stop the growth of weeds and other grasses.
Leaf mulch prevents sunlight from reaching weed seeds in your soil. Since these weeds can’t germinate without sunlight, you’re granted an easy – and free – way to eliminate pesky weeds and grasses.
Leaves as Mulch Maintains Soil Moisture
Leaf mulch reduces soil evaporation, allowing soil to maintain a healthy moisture level. Because leaf mold adds organic matter to your soil, you can improve your soil’s moisture retention by leaving your leaves on the ground. It’s the perfect way to keep your soil healthy and thriving so you can plant future garden beds!
Leaf Mulch Promotes Soil Fertility
You want your soil to remain fertile so you can use it to grow your favorite plants when spring and summer return. Leaves are one of the best ways to ensure your soil stays fresh and fertile! Leaf litter promotes soil fertility and can significantly improve how prepared your soil is to grow plants, giving you the perfect canvas for a flourishing garden!
Using Leaves for Mulch is Free
You can put your lawn mower away – you won’t need it when you keep a thick layer of leaves to create the best mulch available! One of our favorite things about leaf mulch is that it’s entirely free, allowing you to take whatever falls naturally from your trees and shrubs and use it to create rich, nutrient-packed soil that you’ll need come growing season. Rather than spending your hard-earned money on other mulch materials, you can experience all the benefits of using mulch with free and convenient leaves!
Leaves Can be Used in Compost Piles
If you have compost piles in your yard, leaves are a fantastic addition to make these piles more effective in keeping your yard safe and soil rich. You can mix leaves with grass clippings for the ultimate compost pile mixture, as leaves provide the perfect balance for nitrogen-rich waste like grass clippings. So, save these if you have extra clippings after going through your yard with the lawn mower!
How to Make and Use Leaves as Mulch
You can easily make leaf mulch in the following steps.
- Collect fallen autumn leaves using a rake, leaf blower, or similar device. Collect the leaves in a pile so it’s easier to sort them through.
- Remove diseased leaves or show signs of being unhealthy – while you want to make compost piles, diseased leaves can hurt your soil and cause problems with your other plants. Also, remove any leaves mixed in with litter that isn’t leaf litter, as this can add contaminants to your soil and plants.
- It’s best to shred your leaves after you collect them – the people who find the most success with this method usually shredded the leaves first! Shredded leaves break down easier and will provide nutrients to your soil better than leaves that haven’t been broken down. Garden vacuums are excellent for shredding leaves while you collect them, but you can also use a grass trimmer or garden shredder to get the job done.
After making your leaf mulch, you can start putting it into action and using it to add organic matter and valuable nutrients to your soil! Once your leaves are shredded, you can place them in a flower bed, keeping thick layers between 2 and 3 inches. If you place leaves around your trees and shrubs, you can change this number to 4 or 5 inches to protect the bases.
As you spread your leaves around the area, ensure the mulch avoids plant stems – you don’t want the plants to come in direct contact with decomposing mulch. Once you’ve spread everything out, you can sit back and enjoy the benefits that leaf mulch provides for your yard!
Help Your Yard Thrive with Oasis Landscapes
Your yard is one of the most important parts of your home and can make or break its appearance. Using leaves as mulch keeps your yard healthy and fresh, and services like Oasis Landscapes can take your landscaping to the next level with proper maintenance and stunning landscape designs!
With Oasis Landscapes, you can ensure your yard thrives year-round for a truly beautiful home. Contact Oasis Landscapes today to plan your next landscaping project!