How to Mulch Autumn Leaves

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The leaves in your yard can be useful tools if you are a gardener. It may seem tedious to rake up all those leaves every year, but leaves compost into nice nutrient-filled soil. You can also mulch autumn leaves and use them to insulate your plants for the coming winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Shovel
  • Leaf shredder
  • Mulch storage container
  • Take a few minutes to figure out how much mulch you're going to need. Consider if you'll be using this mulch to insulate your plants for the winter or if you want some mulch to use in the springtime, too.

  • Set aside some fairly dry leaves to use for mulch while you are raking. Dry leaves decompose slower, which is very important if you want to save mulch for the spring. The amount of leaves you set aside depends on how much mulch you want.

  • Figure out how to shred your leaves. You have several options, depending on what yard equipment you own. Many lawnmowers can be driven over a pile of leaves to shred them up. If the lawn mower has a grass catcher, it will collect the chopped up leaves. Some lawnmowers even have a special leaf shredding setting to chop up your leaves. A leaf blower might also have a suction or shredding setting.

  • Shred your leaves. You'll want to wear some eye protection while you shred them in case some debris flies up at your face.

  • Collect the shredded leaves in a container. Any plastic container should work for your mulch storage. You can pick up the shredded leaves or use a shovel to get them into the container.

  • Mulch your plants. Leaf mulch is ready to use as soon as the leaves are shredded. Go ahead and insulate your plants whenever you like and to get them ready for winter.

  • Store some mulch in autumn for the spring. Be sure that the leaf mulch is put away in a dry place during the winter. Moisture speeds the decay process, which will turn your mulch into compost and make it useless for mulching purposes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you end up with too much mulch, just throw what you don't need into the compost pile.
  • Add a good acidifier to your leaves to turn them into suitable mulch, especially if the leaves in your area are known for being alkaline.
  • Be aware of other people in your area when you're shredding leaves. Stems and rocks can be thrown out if you use a lawnmower.

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