Put Fall Leaves to Work

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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour

gardening tips by region  - fall leaves

Crisp, crunchy leaves are a goldmine for your garden. Instead of bagging and dumping them at the curb, shred or compost them  to improve soil and protect plants over winter. Your flowers, shrubs and trees will thank you.

Make Free Mulch from Leaves:

  1. Chop them into small pieces with a leaf shredder or shredding mower with a bag attachment.
  2. Spread a 2-3” layer of chopped leaves around flowers, trees and shrubs, being careful to keep the mulch from touching the plants themselves.

Make Faster Compost:

  1. Mix leaves into your compost.
  2. If dry, add water.

Make Rich Leaf Mold:

  1. Fill black plastic garbage bags with shredded leaves and moisten to break down faster.
  2. Leave them over the winter. The leaves will rot down to a soil-like consistency that can be added into flowerbeds in the spring.
  3. Or, make a leaf bin with chicken wire formed into a circle 3′ high and wide. Fill with shredded leaves and moisten. Allow to decompose over winter.


Avoid using leaves from black walnut trees. They contain a toxin that can harm certain plants.

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