Leave the Leaves

 Here are some quick  suggestions for using fall leaves that  are good for the environment,  plus save you time and money  Please share with us any environmentally friendly suggestions for fall leaves in the comment section. Thank you.  – Denise Sandoval, dsandoval@theconservationfoundation.org

  1. Compost your leaves. Chop them up first to speed up decomposition. Leaf mold (composted leaves) makes wonderful mulch, vegetable garden amendment, and  has several uses in organic lawn care.
  2. Let  fallen leaves (and fallen twigs)  remain around plants in a native savanna or woodland garden.   This is the way nature mulches.  You can also  shred  leaves by passing  a mower over a leaf pile several times and spread the chopped leaves as mulch. Shredding speeds decomposition and reduces leaves from blowing away.  If you still like the look of  mulch, spread a very thin layer of mulch on top .Mulching with leaves not only saves you money on wood mulch but also:
    • Provides nesting material for many types of birds, especially in early spring.
    • Provides  shelter for small animals  and insects, especially over the  winter. 
    • Provides food for many types of insects.
    • Adds organic matter to the soil, retains moisture and reduces weeds.
    Leaves around Jacob's Ladder
    Fallen leaves around Jacob’s Ladder
  3.  Chop up a light  layer of fallen leaves  with your lawn mower several times and leave  in place to enrich your lawn. This is recommended  by several organic lawn care  websites and now by some commercial  lawn care companies.
  4. Use leaves to smother areas of lawn  by piling them 2-3′ deep over layers of newspaper and  enclosing with chicken wire fencing to prevent leaves from blowing away.  I used this method to create my vegetable garden in an area that was once lawn.
  5. Use colorful fall leaves in floral arrangements and  other crafty projects.
  6. Have some fun! Toss  the leaves around, enjoy the sound of walking through the leaves,  and make piles to jump into. 

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