Mulching bulbs and azaleas with Pin oak leaves

Asked December 28, 2015, 10:10 AM EST

Is it a good idea to use Pin Oak leaves to mulch spring bulbs? Or Azaleas? Shall I add other mulch on top of the leaves in the spring?

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

If the leaves you are using are from this past summer, realize that during the actual breakdown process of the leaves they will use nitrogen from the soil and will go through a mild heat process. Shred the leaves and use them. The pH of the leaves will cause a mild drop of soil pH over time if this is done repeatedly. In the long run, they are good at improving soil organic matter, will provide nutrients to the soil and will protect bulbs and tree/shrub roots as an insulator during cold temperatures.

Thanks for your response. Just to clarify, the leaves just fell on the bulbs and azaleas last month. They are not shredded. Should I remove them from the beds in the spring and replace them with shredded mulch? If I leave them on the beds,should I fertilize the bulbs to correct the soil change?

These leaves are fine, don't leave more than 2 inches in any area if possible. think about a forest, it works well there. I would not add any fertilizer, in the end, the nutrients will be replaced as the leaves break down. Nature at its best.