Top 10 Benefits of Leaves

comments (0) November 27th, 2011

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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A pile of leaves is a valuable asset to an organic gardening program.Click To Enlarge

A pile of leaves is a valuable asset to an organic gardening program.

Photo: John Pendleton

The fall newsletter is cause for celebration for the members of one Denver organic gardening club. These gardeners wait for the annual announcement that alerts them to the locations of piles of leaves that are ready to load up and haul away. Every leaf that’s shoveled into a bag, box or car trunk is worth its weight in organic gardening gold.

Here are the top 10 reasons why these organic gardeners treasure their haul of leaves:

  1. Leaves are a free source of organic matter and minerals like calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  2. Leaves can be used just as they are or shredded to make mulch.
  3. Leaves decay quickly to provide nutrients faster than other slow-decaying mulches.
  4. They can be dug into the vegetable garden to improve soil structure for both clay and sandy soils.
  5. Leaves can be used as plant protection during winter and then turned into the soil in spring.
  6. Shredded leaves used as mulch in the vegetable garden moderate soil temperatures and hold in moisture during the summer.
  7. Leaves can be stored in bags over the winter and then used to prepare vegetable beds in spring.
  8. Leaves are a useful addition to the compost pile.
  9. Shredded leaves stacked in a pile will turn into leafmold (a valuable soil amendment) on their own.
  10. Leaves recycle nutrients to the lawn when shredded and left in place.

Do you have other ways to recycle fallen tree leaves? If so, please share them here!


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posted in: Organic Gardening, Recycling, Leaves