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Posted on November 1st, 2008 by Andy

Sherridan in Leaves

Fall is here and that means one thing for gardeners and homeowners: leaves and lots of them.

What should you do with all those fall leaves?

Before you bag it and leave it on the curb, consider ways to recycle the leaves on your property. You can use the leaves as a mulch around your plant beds or add them to your compost pile to create rich fertile soil that you can use in several months.

Here’s what you can do:

1. If you use the leaves as mulch, which helps suppress weeds, be sure not to pile them on too thick. Too thick a layer on the grass or around your plants can smother it, lead to pests and rot your grass or other plants.

2.  Use a mulch-lawn mover to shred the leaves into tiny pieces (no thicker than 1-inch) and leave them on your lawn to decompose, returning nutrients to your lawn without smothering it.

3.  Leaves can also be composted by simply leaving them in a pile in your backyard. This is a simpler, but longer compost process.

4.  Mix the leaves with other organic matter in a compost pile, the leaves will break down faster. Good compost piles need a balance of nitrogren and carbon, which creates good conditions for microbes that decompose the plant materials.  Leaves, shredded newspapers, dead flowers and corn stalks all provide needed carbon — the “brown” — to balance out the nitrogren-rich “green,” including grass clippings or plant clippings.  The smaller the pieces are, the faster they’ll compost. The pile will need a proper amount water and air. If it’s too wet, it’ll become anaerobic and start to smell. Too dry, and the pile won’t do much.

5.  Be sure to rake up and remove leaves from fruit trees and roses as they can harbor diseases.

For more information about composting —

Filed under:Garden Calendar, Seattle Landscape Maintenance, Seattle Lawn Care | |

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