Leaves Make Great Mulch for Your Garden

Leaves make for great and sustainable mulch for your yard

Credit: ateichman

Collect loose leaves from your yard and turn them into mulch

There is no nicer gift to your garden than a mulch of leaves

In the back of your beds, simply leave them where they fall to add nourishment to the soil as they break down, along with natural protection from the cold. (Just remember not to bury evergreen perennials, such as sedums and candytuft. Also, don’t cover too heavily over areas with small spring bulbs, like winter aconites and anemones, or they might not make it through the mulch in spring.)

  • As for leaves raked up from lawns and walkways, there are many ways to use this valuable resource:

  • Layer onto your garden beds (5 to 10 cm/2 to 4 in.) for insulation against the cold winds. Use the leaves just as they are, or run over them with a lawn mower, chop them up with a chipper or place in a plastic garbage can and shred with a line trimmer to create a nourishing and good-looking winter mulch. Turn your mulch over each spring to discourage egg-laying by snails and slugs.

  • Mulch around trees, leaving 30 cm (1 ft.) around the trunks – mulching too closely can smother the roots and create a habitat for rodents and rabbits that chew bark and girdle trees. 

  • Mulch rhubarb thickly, leaving crown areas open.

  • Bag leaves in plastic, add a shovelful of soil, water well and tie. Poke a few holes for oxygen, store out of sunlight. In one year, you will have rich compost. 

  • Keep a bag of leaves beside your compost bin for layering with kitchen waste. 

  • Stuff leaves in the bottom of tall or large containers to take up space, then fill remainder with soil and plant bulbs or perennials.