In autumn, leaves are a glorious and common feature to the season. Here are some ways to dispose of fallen leaves while being eco-friendly, too.
While autumn brings trees filled with beautiful leaves, all those leaves will eventually come down. Then, you’re left with a yard full of leaves. While many people end up throwing bags of leaves in the trash, there are more eco-friendly ways of to dispose of leaves.
After all, leaves fall for a reason when it comes to nature; to re-introduce nutrients back into the soil. So, how do you aid nature, while keeping your yard clear? Take a look at these 4 options for doing just that.
Creating a compost pile with your autumn leaves will give you excellent fertilizer in the spring. To make your own compost, simply create a pile in the corner of your yard or make or buy a compost bin. You can keep your leaves whole, but shredded leaves will break down faster. You’ll need to add nitrogenous ingredients such as grass clippings to the mix and you can also mix in table scraps.
Turn your pile about once a week to make sure you get an even breakdown. During late autumn and winter, cover your compost pile with a tarp to keep extra moisture out and seal in the heat. When your compost turns dark brown and has an earthy smell to it, it’s ready for use.
Mulch leaves for your yard
While compost is a fertilizer that enhances your soil, mulch is a protective covering that goes between the soil and plants. It helps maintain moisture and cut down on weeds. Creating mulch for your lawn is very easy. Simply shred the leaves on your lawn with a lawnmower and leave them there to decompose.
While the leaf bits are visible for the first few days after you mow, they eventually filter down through the grass blades and provide essential nutrients and weed control. In fact, some lawn owners who use this process see a nearly 100 percent decrease in crabgrass and dandelions on their lawn in just three years.
Mulch leaves for your garden
It’s not just your lawn that can benefit from leaf mulch though. While you can use whole leaves to make nice mulch for your vegetable or flower garden, shredded leaves work even better.
Attach a bag to your lawn mower to collect the leaves as you mow. Then, layer this leaf mulch on the beds to protect the soil and prevent winter annuals from germinating. This mulch is also good for extending the season of vegetables such as beets, carrots, and kale.
Make leaf mold
Leaves left in contact with microbes in the soil will eventually turn into leaf mold. You can make a leaf mold similar to how you compost leaves but without adding grass clippings that create nitrogen.
Simply pile the leaves in bins and keep the moisture in the pile even. While it’s not necessary to turn your leaf pile, it does help prevent matting. The speed at which your leaves turn into leaf mold depends on the size of the leaves. Full leaves can take up to three years to become a useable product while shredded leaves can get there in 12 months.
Feed the soil, not the plastic bag
This autumn, don’t haul bags of leaves to the dump when you can use one of these eco-friendly ways to dispose of them and enjoy the benefits for many seasons to come.