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To Bag or Not to Bag Autumn Leaves

To Bag or Not to Bag Autumn Leaves


In autumn, nothing rivals the beauty of tree leaves changing colors.  Though temporary, it is certainly a magnificent sight.  The multi-colored leaves will fall and accumulate in and around your landscape.

What should you do with those fallen leaves?  Utilize this valuable natural resource! Do not send them to the dump. Leaves can serve as a source of nutrients and organic matter for your landscape.

Leaves are packed with an astonishing amount of nutrients and can be managed and used in the landscape in a number of ways:

  1. Mowing – simply shredding a light covering of leaves on the lawn can add nutrients to the soil. It is best to use a mulching mower for this to be effective.  This method is an easy way to manage leaf accumulation in the landscape if only a few trees are present.
  2. Mulching – use recycled leaves to mulch your flowerbeds, vegetable garden, trees, and shrubs. Mulching inhibits weed growth, moderates soil temperatures, and prevents soil compaction.  As leaves decompose, they release valuable nutrients that nourish plants.  It is best to shred leaves before utilizing them as mulch.  Shredded leaves decompose more rapidly than unshredded leaves.
  3. Soil improvement – Collected leaves can be worked directly into your vegetable garden or flower bed soils. A thick layer of leaves worked into a clay soil aids in aeration and drainage. The leaves then decompose over the course of the winter prior to spring planting.

Before you bag those fallen leaves and place them on the curb for pickup, consider the benefits of mulching.  There are valuable nutrients in fallen leaves that will benefit your soil. I am happy to assist you.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 901-752-1207.        

Enjoy fall in the garden!

Photo Credit: Michigan State University Extension; NC Cooperative Extension-Union County

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