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Using Fallen Leaves for Mulching

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Placing a layer of mulch over garden beds provides insulation for plants and trees. It can also help reduce water loss through evaporation. It can be easy to make mulch from fallen leaves. Here's how to get started.

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Raking Leaves for Your Garden's Future

If raking leaves isn't your favorite pastime, think positive. Gathering and recycling fallen leaves for mulch can be an investment in your garden's future. Mulch can protect plants against extremes of winter weather, and mulching fallen leaves can provide a bounty of free mulch. Here's what should do:

  • Gathering: If you have a small yard, you can rake your leaves. Using leaf blowers and vacuums can help you save time if you have a large yard or a lot of leaves. Be careful about using these machines if you're concerned about fuel emissions and noise pollution.
  • Shredding: Mulching mowers provide the benefits of multi-tasking. You can mow and make mulch at the same time! If you don't have a mulching mower, you can use a wood chipper or similar machine. Shredding leaves creates mulch of a manageable consistency and texture, and it should be easier to distribute around your landscaping.
  • Spreading: Cover your gardens with one to two inches of mulch, and place a similar layer around trees. During the year, the mulch should gradually mix with soil to create a great growing medium.

Making and spreading mulch each fall can become a seasonal tradition. If you don't have enough leaves for making mulch don't worry. Packaged mulch is readily available at home and garden centers and nurseries.

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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