Autumn weather strips leaves from the trees and scatters them around our yards. We rake them up or gather them together with leaf blowers, but what then?

You could bag your leaves up and send them out with the trash, but that's a waste of good fertilizer. Leaves contain a large percentage of the nutrients that the tree gathered during its growing season and there are several ways you can put those nutrients back into your yard and garden.

what-to-do-with-fall-leaves-in-your-backyard

1) Use Them As Mulch

Left whole or shredded, leaves make a wonderful mulch in the vegetable garden or landscape beds. Leaf mulch can provide winter insulation for tender plants. Also, like other mulches, it helps keep weeds down and regulate soil moisture. Plus, leaves are a great source of nutrients and they'll feed your plants as the mulch breaks down.

2) Compost Them

Leaves make a great addition to composted yard waste. The carbon-rich leaves pair well with nitrogen-rich green leafy yard waste. Leave break down slowly, so it's a good idea to run them through a leaf shredder before composting them.

3) Make Leaf Mold

You can also make an all-leaf compost called leaf mold. Put your fallen leaves into garbage bags or a wire cage and let them decompose. Whole leaves can take at least 2 years to turn into leaf-mold. You can speed up the process by shredding the leaves before composting.

4) Add To Soil

If you don't have the time or space for composting or making leaf mold you can add leaves directly to the soil. As they break down, they'll add nutrients to the soil and improve soil texture. This works best if you shred the leaves before working them into the soil, but you can use whole leaves as well.

5) Mow Them

To get leaf nutrients into your lawn, simply mow over the leaves a few times and leave them on the grass. You don't want a very thick layer, though. If you have lots of trees in your yard that drop leaves you'll want to rake or blow part of them off the lawn before mowing over the rest.

Leaf Gathering Tools

Before you can use the leaves around your yard, you'll have to gather them up first. A handheld rake or leaf blower will let you move leaves around your yard and gather them up in one place. Or you can use a shredder/vac to gather the leaves up and shred them so they're easier to work with. Some shredder/vacs also convert to blowers so you have two helpful tools in one. You can pick up all the tools you'll need for gathering and using your fallen leaves right here at Richardson Saw & Lawnmower.