Autumn leaves in all their beautiful hues of colour do look amazing.
But at some point, you will have to take action and do something with all the fallen foliage.
Leaving fallen leaves on your lawn to rot isn’t really an option; it’s unsightly and kills your grass. If you are environmentally minded, then bagging and binning them will not be an option that sits well with your conscience either.
Unfortunately, there is no solution that doesn’t involve some effort on your part – unless you want to pay us to do it for you! – but here are our five suggestions on what to do (or not to do) with fallen leaves this Autumn.
- Mulch. Turn old leaves into mulch using your lawn mower – take the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn. You want to reduce your leaf clutter to approximately 10p-size pieces. You’ll know you’re done when about half an inch of grass can be seen through the mulched leaf layer. Then spread this precious mulch in to your garden beds and around tree bases to limit weeds and hold moisture in the soil.
- Compost. The decomposition of organic materials in your compost pile is greatly increased when you create the proper balance between the carbonaceous materials (called BROWN because they are dry) and the nitrogen-rich materials (called GREEN because they are more fresh and moist). Dry leaves make excellent “brown matter” to balance the greens in your compost pile. Shredding the leaves will help them to decompose more quickly as will turning the compost pile every 4-5 days. Cover the compost as the weather cools to keep it warm and dry.
- Till. Tillage is the preparation of soil by digging, stirring, and overturning. If you are already planning to till some garden beds for produce or annual flowers then it’s a good idea to work shredded leaves into the earth at the same time. As the leaf shreds decompose over the winter they will provide a whole heap of benefits to your soil – boosted nutrient content, improved soil structure, not to mention being an earthworm-friendly environment!
- Keep root vegetables fresh. Store root crops such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips nestled in autumn leaves. Spray lightly with water. This will keep them fresh for meals throughout the winter, or if you are lucky, until your spring veggies are ready to harvest.
- Don’t burn or bin. Burning leaves may seem the easiest way to get rid of the waste but its effect is dangerous. The main effect is that when the leaves are burnt they produce toxic waste causing air pollution which has harmful effects both on nature and humans. Don’t use dead leaves as fireplace kindling as this can cause house fires. Don’t add them to the country’s already overfull landfills, either.