5 Ways To Use Fall Leaves in Your Garden - Backyard Boss
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5 Ways To Use Fall Leaves in Your Garden

There’s nothing like the crisp autumn air to get you in the mood for fall gardening. As the leaves start to turn yellow and red, it’s time to put your creativity to work and come up with fun ways to use all those gorgeous foliage! Don’t let that beautiful foliature go to waste.

There are many ways to use them in your garden. Whether you want to add some fall flair or help with composting, fallen leaves can be a valuable resource. So, get outside and start collecting!

Wildlife Habitat

Orange fall leaves
Image credits: Susan Jones via Unsplash

One of the best things about using fall leaves in your garden is that they provide a habitat for all sorts of wildlife. Pollinators like bees and butterflies, and small insects, like snails, moths, and spiders, will use the fallen foliage for shelter from the cold weather.

Insects will also overwinter in the leaves, which can provide food for birds come springtime. Fallen leaves make great homes for all sorts of creepy crawlies!


Leaf Mulch In A Garden
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Fallen leaves are a great source of mulch for your garden. They help to keep the soil moist and help to prevent weeds from growing. They also add nutrients to the soil as they decompose.

If you have a lot of trees in your yard, collect the leaves and use them as mulch. If you don’t have any trees, ask your neighbors if they have any laying around.

You can either shred the leaves before using them as mulch or place them in your garden un-shredded. Both will decompose but you may have an issue with the un-shredded leaves matting and possibly suffocating your plants.

Spread the leaves around your plants for the winter. This will give them a nutrient boost and keep the soil temperature warm.

Leaf Mold

Leaf Mold
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Leaf mold is a great way to add organic matter to your soil, improve drainage, and help prevent compaction. Leaves also provide a great source of food for worms and other beneficial organisms.

Here are some tips on how to use fall leaves in your garden:

  • Collect the leaves from your yard or neighborhood. Avoid using leaves that have been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
  • Shred the leaves using a lawn mower or leaf blower or leave them whole. However, shredding the leaves will help them decompose faster.
  • Rake the shredded leaves into a pile, and keep them moist. This will help the mold to spread faster.
  • Wait. This process is very slow-moving. It can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on the weather conditions.

Once the leaves have decomposed, you will be left with a black, sweet-smelling soil conditioner rich in magnesium and calcium. You can now add them to your vegetable or flower garden!

Leaf mold, or leaf compost, differs from regular compost as it doesn’t contain as many nutrients but still offers many benefits. It also doesn’t get hot or need to be turned.

Sheet Mulching

Sheet Mulching
Image credits: Lili-OK via Shutterstock

If you have a future site planned for a spring garden, fallen leaves can help prepare your soil and encourage growth.

Fall leaves are packed with nutrients that will benefit your plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. As they decompose, they release these nutrients into the soil, making them available for your plants to use.

Leaves also help to improve the structure of the soil. As they break down, they add organic matter to the soil which helps to improve drainage and aeration. This is especially beneficial in clay soils which can be heavy and dense.

The best time to apply fall leaves as mulch is in late fall or early winter. This will give them time to break down and release their nutrients into the soil before the growing season begins.

If you have a lot of leaves, you can shred them using a lawn mower or mulcher. This will help them to break down more quickly. Then place some cardboard or burlap over the grass and spread 6 inches of leaves over your future garden bed.

The cardboard or burlap and leaves will decompose, just as the grass underneath. This will provide your plants with essential nutrients and improve the structure of the soil.

Just Have Some Fun with Them!

Toddler kid girl playing with autumn leaves latin ethnicity
Image credits: lunamarina via Shutterstock

Fall leaves are a great way to add some fun and excitement to your home! You can create natural decorations by stringing up leaves on some fishing line or twine. You can hang them from the eaves of your porch, drape them over doorways or windows, or even use them as place cards for a fall-themed dinner party.

There are so many outdoor things you can do with fall leaves too. You can jump in them, rake them into big piles and then jump in them again, or even just lay down in them and relax.

You can even take the whole family on a leaf scavenger hunt to see how many different colors and types of leaves you can find.

In Summary

Have you ever tried using leaves in your garden? If not, it’s time to get creative! Leaves can be a valuable resource for adding color and texture to your fall garden. Not to mention, they can help with composting. So, go outside and start collecting! And when you’re done, make sure to share this article with your friends. Do you have any tips or tricks for using fall leaves? Leave a comment below!