The parade of colours has passed and all of autumn’s leaves have danced their way from limb to ground. This is the time many homeowners sigh at the monumental task set before them: Time to rake up mountains of leaves and figure out what on Earth to do with them. You could bag them all up and set them to the curb for your city’s lawn pickup service, but why do that when you can put those fallen leaves to work doing good stuff right in your own yard and house?
After you let your dog and kids dive into the pile you’ve just raked up, and after you shuffle through them yourself, relishing in that crunching, swishing sound, start planning for what you can do with the abundance of fall leaves.
Our list of five great possibilities is a good place to start.
1. Let Them Lie
Before you rake every last leaf, you may want to let a layer of them lie right on your yard. Leaves can provide an excellent cover for your soil to keep it healthy throughout the winter. Use your lawnmower, with the blade set to its highest height, and mow right over the leaves. This will break them up into tiny pieces that then settle onto the soil, helping it to retain moisture and improving its condition.
2. Turn Leaves Into Fuel
Compost bins are a great way to naturally recycle organic waste. The process turns material you’d normally toss out into fuel for your trees and garden through decomposition. For it to work correctly, you need to add the right combination of ingredients. One of those key ingredients is brown material. Those leaves that have fallen are perfect for the job. Make sure when you add them that they are slightly damp and mix them in with green material.
3. Create a Potent Mold
An alternative to making a standard compost is to make one that results in fungal matter. This process involves nothing fancy. Simply stuff your leaves in plastic bags or place them in a wire bin and keep them moist. The leaves and the water provide food for fungi, which then break the leaves down over the course of a couple of years, leaving you with a nutrient-rich material to spread in your garden or on your lawn.
4. Shred Them and Spread Them
All those drying leaves make great mulch. This is a good solution for those of you who have a lot of leaves to contend with. Use your lawnmower to shred them. Make sure you are using one with a rotary blade. Once you’ve completed this task, you can spread your mulch around your flowers and plants. Keep the layer around two to three inches thick, and don’t get too close to the stems. The mulch works to protect plants from weed invasion, provide insulation from colder temperatures and keep worms hidden from prey.
5. Turn Them Into Insulation
Leaves aren’t just good insulation for your garden plants, they can also help warm up cold areas around your property. If your tool shed or your garage aren’t heated, a bag of leaves can take the edge off of the cold. You can do the same in your attic or in particularly drafty rooms in the house. Make sure the leaves are completely dried out before you bag them and pack them as tightly as you can to improve the insulation qualities.
If you need help preparing your trees for winter, Martin’s Tree Service can get the job done. From tree pruning services to stump grinding and planting, we have the expertise to provide full care for your trees.