Fall is here. The leaves are changing colors and falling off. It’s beautiful… but it’s also a new chore!
Fortunately, there are upsides. It turns out there are a lot of amazing uses you can get out of those leaves. Leaves are packed with nutrients that your grass and soil love. If you take the time to recycle your leaves in the fall, you’ll have a beautiful yard come spring and summer.
Make a Mulch
The first step is to mulch your leaves. Why? Because if you just leaf them on the ground, they can smother the grass and plants underneath. And we don’t want that.
Instead, you can use the mulch setting on your lawnmower to shred those suckers up into ribbon-thin pieces. This makes it easy to cover the most surface area, and will let plenty of air and nutrients to the grass beneath.
If your leaves cover the grass evenly, you can just use the mulch setting without a bag on the lawnmower. If not, you’ll need to bag up the mulch, then spread it out. Even if the leaves cover the whole lawn though, you should still make a few bags of mulch for these next uses.
Important note: make sure you don’t mulch up seeds along with the leaves. Doing so could create a ton of new tiny plants come spring!
If you already have a compost pile, that is an amazing place to put your mulched up leaves. It’s a match made in heaven. The shredded leaves will bake in with all the other delicious plant nutrients, turning your soil into a photosynthesis paradise!
If you don’t have a compost pile…
…you can till the leaves directly into your soil.
This mixes it all together where it will sit during the winter… letting it all settle like delicious plant stew. When the summer comes, that soil will be absolutely teeming with vitamins and minerals. Anything you plant in it will suck up all those nutrients and make them absolutely bursting with flavor. Flowers look more vivid, too.
Easier Than Compost: Leaf Mold
Leaf mold is another way to supercharge your soil. It doesn’t provide nutrients like a traditional compost, but it does make the soil a lot better at holding water. And, leaf mold is incredibly easy to make.
All you need to do is take a pile of leaves and put it into a container… and then leave it. When the leaves are fully rotted, that’s when you mix it into the soil. It’s that easy.
Make a Blanket For Your Perennials
If you live somewhere winters can be harsh, your perennials could freeze in the winter. So, let’s make sure that doesn’t happen with another few bags of mulched leaves. Gently spread them over your perennial flowerbeds, making sure to not cover it too tightly.
Just like that, your perennials now have a blanket for the winter. When it’s time for spring, you can remove the leaves as the temperature warms. Your flowerbeds are now the perfect temperature and your perennials will bloom again more beautiful than ever.
Other Great Ideas For Leaves
If you really want to bring a touch of fall to your home… use some of the leaves as decoration. The organic material looks beautiful on porches. If you’re crafty, you can even combine them into an autumn wreath.
But maybe my favorite way to use leaves is to press them. To do this, put individual leaves between two sheets of wax paper. Then pile heavy books on top of them. After two weeks, remove the books. You’ll see perfectly dried leaves that have taken on a subtle transparency. These can be framed on walls, where they form works of art. Straight from nature. You won’t believe how much detail you’ll see in these leaves if you really look at them.
Have Fun With It
When the leaves are raked up, jump in the piles and take family pictures. Speaking of pictures… when the leaves are at their peak… go on a hike and take some pictures. You’ll make a memory that lasts a lifetime.
If you follow the tips in this article, you’ll love what you can do with leaves. It will add a new layer to your fall. When you work this closely with the season itself, and use the leaves to enrich all the life around you, it’s a magical feeling. Who knows, it could even become a new tradition for you. I hope so!