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Fall Leaves Make a Great Natural Mulch

Rake them in the fall, save them until spring, and spread them on your garden beds

Gary Junken

Fallen leaves carry 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air, including carbon, potassium, and phosphorus. So why waste them?

A two- to three-inch layer of leaves spread over a garden plot gives several benefits. Leaves hold down weed growth, add organic matter, and protect garden soil from compaction caused by rainfall.

If you save or compost your leaves until spring, says author and gardener Sydney Eddison, then they also add a natural beauty to your garden beds. In this video Sydney shows how she ensures even distribution and cautions against smothering your plants.

Sydney Eddison is the author of several books including The Self-Taught Gardener. Her forthcoming book, to be published in the fall of 2002 by NTC/Contemporary Books, is called The Gardener’s Palette: Creating with Color. She gardens in Newtown, Connecticut.

For more on composting techniques and equipment, see All About Compost on VegetableGardener.com.

View Comments


  1. GLUEis1kitty 11/12/2014

    Looks great, but what happens when the wind blows?

    1. user-7008978 11/04/2017

      It stays if shredded

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