Using leaves as mulch or fertilizer in your yard is less work for you, better for the environment, and saves you money.
Mulch leaves into your lawn and garden
Thick layers of whole leaves can kill grass, but mulched leaves break down quickly. They add nutrients to the soil and help keep weeds from coming back in the spring. Use your lawnmower to shred leaves into small pieces and they will disappear right into the ground.
- Set your mower height to 7.5 cm (3 inches) with the front wheels higher than the back wheels
- Mow over leaves when they’re slightly damp, after a light dew
- Keep mowing about once a week until they finish falling
- Use them as mulch in your garden, under trees and shrubs
Protect plants over winter
When the ground is frozen, pile leaves around your plants to insulate the roots over winter. Snow may come and go, and leaves can help protect your plants during periods of freezing and thawing. Remove the leaves in the spring and add them to your composter or mulch them into your lawn.
Keep hardy vegetables growing through winter
In the fall, use a heavy layer of shredded leaves to cover hardy vegetables like turnips, carrots, leeks, kale or beets. You can extend the growing season and maybe even harvest these vegetables all winter.
Use leaves in your backyard composter
Keep leaves near your composter to mix with your food scraps. An even mix of nitrogen-rich food scraps (green) and carbon-rich materials like leaves (brown) prevents odours and pests, and helps your composter work quickly.
Compost leaves for fertilizer
Choose a spot protected from wind or make a chicken wire cage for your leaves. In just a year, your pile will break down a lot. Dig to the bottom of the pile for all-natural fertilizer.
Create a new garden bed
Rake a thick layer of leaves to a spot where you want to start a new garden the next spring. Let them sit over the winter and then plant your new garden over them in the spring.