As with most other plant debris, you start thinking of ways to get rid of your leaves as soon as they start falling. But unlike tree branches and dropped fruit, fallen leaves can help you accomplish a number of outdoor tasks when used correctly.
Consider using your fallen leaves for one of these seven tasks.
1. Enrich Your Compost
Rather than bagging up your leaves and letting them go to a landfill, use them in your compost pile. Moist leaves serve as great brown matter that you can mix with green matter, such as vegetable waste from your kitchen.
Over time, your leaves can contribute to nutrient-rich compost that's perfect for gardening.
2. Fertilise Your Lawn
Instead of raking up your leaves, consider leaving them to enrich the nutrients in your lawn. Simply use your lawn mower to shred the leaves that are already laying on your grass. This use also allows for aeration.
Before you opt for this use, make sure that your homeowners' association allows for a lawn that may look slightly unkempt for the time being.
3. Improve Flower Bed Soil Quality
You don't have to compost your leaves for them to help with future planting. Once you gather up fallen leaves, shred them by hand or carefully using a trimming tool. Shredding these leaves ensures that they don't smother your seedlings. Then, mix the leaves into your flower bed soil for natural fertiliser.
4. Insulate Vulnerable Areas
If you primarily have dry fallen leaves, you can use them to decrease the impact that cold weather has on your bills and your belongings. Bag these leaves up loosely, then line vulnerable sections of buildings with the bags.
Because you may get some odours while the leaves sit, this type of insulations works best in sheds and other semi-outdoor spaces.
5. Protect Plants From Cold Weather
Have tender year-round plants that may struggle when the temperature decreases? If you live in a cooler area, use fallen leaves as a protective layer over dormant plants.
Use this mulch around the base of shrubs and perennial plants. Pile the leaves up about 10 to 15 centimetres high.
6. Provide Essential Wildlife Habitats
If you feel comfortable doing so, use your fallen leaves to create brush piles. Start with some crisscrossed branches and layer leaves over the top of them. This process creates a warm area for local wildlife and essential habitats for butterflies and other insects.
Only place brush piles where they won't be disturbed. Separate brush piles from any buildings to discourage pests in the future. Before you start any brush piles, let your neighbours know what you're up to so they can avoid disturbing the piles as well.
7. Start Controlled Fires
If you have a fire pit or fireplace, you may feel like you constantly have to stock up on kindling. When temperatures start to decrease, look no further than your front yard. Use dry leaves as starter materials for your next fire.
As with any fire, only set leaf fires in designated areas. Do not leave these fires unsupervised, especially if they're located outdoors where they could spread.
To ensure that fallen leaves do not create a safety or fire hazard, clear them away from the foundation of your home. Additionally, keep fallen leaves from piling up on your roof or in your gutters where they can contribute to water damage, mould and corrosion.
Want advice based specifically on your landscaping? Work with All About Tree Services. Our staff can help you manage and care for your trees, clear away seasonal debris and improve plant growth on your property.
Start using your fallen leaves in one of the ways listed above today.