Forest Garden, Permaculture

Leave the Leaves

LEAVE the Leaves ( for a Greener more Drought Tolerant Garden ) – Awareness Campaign

Did you know that the Leaves that fall in Autumn break down over winter and become compost in Spring.

Did you know that your garden becomes more drought tolerant the more leaves that’s on the garden floor.

If you have excess leaves, simply pile them up in a corner of the garden, leave them to break down over a few months and watch how it turns into the best compost you’ve ever seen.

If you grew up in a neighborhood with lots of trees, chances are you had to put in plenty of hours each fall raking them all together, bagging them up, and then sending them off somewhere, most likely to the landfill. And you were probably told that the reason for this was not only so that the yard would look ‘tidier’ but also so that the leaves wouldn’t kill the grass. This myth has probably sold more rakes and bags than anything else.

The practice actually removes important nutrients from the yard, which homeowners then usually repurchase, in another format, in a bag or jug of fertilizer from the local garden center.

Well, we’re older and hopefully wiser now, so the idea of removing this important annual input to our local soil biology, and sending it elsewhere, likely to the landfill to be buried instead, doesn’t make nearly as much sense now as it might have back before we knew better. And while it is at least partially true that excessive amounts of fallen leaves can smother areas of a lawn when they’re left in thick piles all winter, leaving the leaves on the ground as mulch can actually be an effective method of building soil and supporting a healthy yard.

Fallen leaves, as an additional physical layer of organic materials above ground, provide food, shelter, and nesting or bedding materials to a variety of wildlife, as well as overwintering protection for a number of insects, all of which work together to contribute to a healthy yard. The soil itself is also a beneficiary of this autumnal gift of fallen leaves, as the leaves are essentially composted over time into nutrients that feed both the next year’s ‘crop’ of grass, but which also feed a vast number of microbes in the soil, which are actually the most important ‘crop’ you can grow, considering that all plant life in your yard depends on a healthy soil biology.

According to National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski, “Fallen leaves offer a double benefit. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own?”

However, if you’re cultivating a ‘tidier’ look to your lawn, and don’t want those pesky dried leaves getting in the way, they can be raked into garden beds, flower beds, or as a mulch around trees.

Covering garden beds with a thick mulch in the fall can be an effective and simple way to build soil fertility, as well as helping to keep the yard look tidier.

Leaves can be a great additive to a home compost pile, and by keeping a pile of it next to the compost, leaves can be used to cover layers of kitchen food waste throughout the winter. Fallen leaves can also be used to reclaim sections of the yard that are marginal, just by building a huge leaf pile there and letting it sit all winter. By the spring, the lower part of the leaf pile will be converted into rich soil, while the middle and top layers can be used as mulch for soil amendment.

If none of these uses for fallen leaves work for your situation, drop us a message and we will collect it.


Dear Humans

I made this world perfect in every way imaginable.

I created autumn so that the leaves from my trees fall to the ground and become fertiliser for the next season and to create a home for my beneficial creatures.

Humans please leave the leaves


Kind Regards
Mother Nature

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