Great Ways to Use Your Falling Leaves

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    When the leaves begin to fall, the majority of people head outside to rake and bag them, getting the leaves up off the grass and out of the way. Unfortunately, since leaves fall for several weeks during the cooler months of the year, this represents quite a bit of time and work.

    There is no reason to make so much work for yourself when there are several ways to make the clean-up of your fall leaves easier. Rather than bagging the leaves and leaving them to be carried away, put them to work in your garden. Some tips to help you do this can be found here.

    Compost the Leaves

    Autumn leaves, especially the ones that have been shredded up by the lawn mower, are the ideal addition to your compost pile. Fallen leaves are a great source of brown, high-carbon material for your compost pile. To use the leaves effectively, alternate the layers of your shredded leaves with regular green materials that you put in, such as weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, plants you pull out of the ground and grass clippings. Make sure to aerate or turn the pile occasionally and when planting season arrives, you will have compost that is ready to be used.

    Make Leaf Mold

    This makes a great soil amendment and is just made up of fall leaves, with a few layers of finished compost or garden soil. You should allow the pile to sit for about a year and when it is done, you will have something great to put in your flower or vegetable garden.

    Create Mulch

    After the leaves are shredded, they can be used as organic mulch in your vegetable gardens and flower beds, as well as under shrubs and trees or in your container garden. To create effective mulch, you should apply a two to three inch layer of your shredded leaves into your beds. Make sure you don’t allow the mulch to actually come in contact with the trunks and stems of the trees and plants. When in place, the mulch will help retain moisture in the soil, keep everything cool and limit the germination of weed seeds. An added bonus is that the leaves will put more nutrients in the soil as they begin to break down.

    Hoard the Leaves

    You may think that after you have raked all the leaves up, you won’t want to see them ever again. But don’t just throw them out. When spring arrives you can use the brown materials to mix in with your green materials. After all, when everything is growing again, it can be difficult to find dead matter to add to the compost pile. Keep this in mind to ensure you have quality compost in the warmer months of the year.

    As you can see, there are several options for you to consider when it comes to your leaves this fall. If you want something better to do with them, rather than just throwing them out, consider the options here. In the long run, they can actually be quite beneficial for your Kansas City landscaping and property.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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