silver maple leaves

Asked October 25, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

have alot of silver maple trees in area. will it help my garden if I mulch leaves and spread over garden area for winter?

Genesee County Michigan

1 Response

Absolutely! Leaves are an excellent source of nutrients for your garden. Leaves are truly a valuable natural resource! They contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air, including carbon, potassium, and phosphorus during the season.

Once you've shredded your leaves, they can be used as an organic mulch in flower beds, vegetable gardens, under trees and shrubs, or in container gardens. Simply apply a two to three inch layer of shredded leaves to your beds, keeping the mulch from directly touching the stems and trunks of your plants. The mulch will help the soil retain moisture, stay cool, and limit weed seed germination. As a bonus, the leaves will add nutrients to the soil as they break down, and the worms and soil microorganisms will work on them as well, resulting in lighter, fluffier soil over time.

Mulching is a simple and effective way to recycle leaves and improve your landscape. Mulches reduce evaporation from the soil surface, inhibit weed growth, moderates soil temperatures, keep soils from eroding and crusting, and prevent soil compaction. As organic mulches decompose, they release valuable nutrients for use by your landscape plants.

As an option to raking, a lawn mower with a bagging attachment provides a fast and easy way to shred and collect the leaves. Leaves that have been mowed or run through some other type of shredder will decompose faster and are much more likely to remain in place than unshredded leaves.

Apply a 3 to 6 inch layer of shredded leaves around the base of trees and shrubs. In annual and perennial flower beds, a 2 to 3 inch mulch of shredded leaves is ideal. For vegetable gardens, a thick layer of leaves placed between the rows function as a mulch and an all-weather walkway that will allow you to work in your garden during wet periods. Mulches are especially beneficial when used around newly established landscape plants, greatly increasing the likelihood of their survival.

These are some interesting internet sites to visit:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/leaf-management-plan/

http://www.finegardening.com/video-fall-leaves-make-great-natural-mulch

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_gardeners_mulch_fallen_leaves_into_lawn_to_save_money

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact us again if you have further questions.