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Shredded Leaves Nature's Free Soil


By composting you can get free, nutrient rich dirt!

Shredded leaves – One of Nature’s Free Soil Builders

If you have an abundant source of leaves, consider yourself fortunate! You possess an excellent source of compost and plant insulation.

Shredding up the leaves causes them to break down faster. This is particularly useful when adding them to an existing compost pile where their high carbon content balances the high nitrogen of grass clippings.

You can use the shredded leaves as a winter cover for cold hardy vegetables like carrots, potatoes, leaks, garlic, etc. Pile up 6 or more inches deep, and you can continue to harvest all winter.

Spread them around your perennials and shrubs for extra insulation, and then work them into the soil as an amendment in the spring. You may want to stock pile them until the ground starts freezing before using them as insulation. If you pile up the insulation too soon, you will prevent the ground from freezing appropriately, which can actually kill your plants.

You can also create your own leaf mold. Rake the leaves into a pile some place where they can sit for 2-3 years. Shredding speeds up the process. Over time, fungus breaks down the leaves into a rich, loamy mixture. This leaf compost smells like a forest floor. Leaf mold is high in calcium and magnesium. When added as an amendment to your garden or lawn, it retains 3-5 times its weight in water, rivaling peat moss. Unlike peat, however, it is a completely renewable resource!

One thing to be aware of when using leaves, use only leaves from healthy trees. If you had any fungal or disease problems this year, rake up the leaves from those trees and dispose of them. Recycling these leaves can promote continuation of the disease or fungal problem next spring. Additionally, use leaves from black walnut trees only around plants which can grow around them. Black walnuts produce a chemical, juglans, which prevents many plants from growing near it.

If you end up with too many leaves and not enough places to put them, bring 'em on over to our Main Store Brickyard or our Eagan R.E.S. Facility and we'll be happy to recycle them...for free if you bring them in our Gertens Lawn Waste Bags!