Everybody knows that the absolute best use for fallen leaves is to rake them into a high, crunchy pile in the middle of the lawn and then jump in. Second best? Use fallen leaves as mulch. Here’s how:
Photographs by John Merkl for Gardenista.
Keep it simple: You can mulch two ways, with shredded leaves (if you have, say, a lawn mower) or whole leaves.
If you don’t have a mower or shredder, mulch with whole leaves. Spread a thin layer of leaves in garden beds so water still can penetrate to plants’ roots.
Step 1: Rake leaves into a pile.
Step 2: To mulch with whole leaves, use a pitchfork to spread a 1-inch layer evenly around the roots of plants.
Step 3: To make shredded mulch, rake leaves into a long row about a foot wide. Then run a lawn mower over the leaves, back and forth, a few times. Spread a 1-inch layer of shredded leaves around the roots of plants.
For more on fall foliage, see:
- Your First Garden: What You Need to Know About Raking Leaves
- Transforming Leaves from Trash to Treasure
- Fall Foliage 101: Why Some Autumns are More Colorful
N.B.: This post is an update; it was last published November 2019.