Leaf mulch

Asked December 30, 2015, 6:26 PM EST

Oh no!! I have put a layer of leaves on all of my garden beds thinking that this was a great idea to add nutrients to the existing soil thinking ahead to spring planting. Now I am told NO!! What should I do? Remove the leaves. Put soil on top now? Please help!

Lane County Oregon mulching horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

A deep leaf mulch over the garden beds is a great way to prepare for the next season. One disadvantage is that it holds the soil wetter and colder for spring planting, but by pulling off what is left and piling it to one side, that minor disadvantage may be overcome. I find that if I put a layer of burlap sacks, cardboard or soil over the top, the soil critters, including the earthworms, will work happily on those leaves between now and spring and when you pull off that topping you may find only a few leaves. Most leaves work well, though evergreen leaves and oak leaves are very slow to break down compared to maple, beech, birch and the like. But any leaves, except for a few which are , like walnut, allelopathic are better than no leaves. City leaves which may be full of tree seeds may give you a bit of a workout pulling out fledgling trees, but that is not insurmountable. Happy New Year and Happy Gardening.