Removal of Leaves

Asked April 6, 2016, 2:38 PM EDT

In the fall I put leaves on all of the flower beds, should I remove all the leaves before putting on more new black dirt or would it be okay to put the dirt right over the leaves? The leaves were not mulched.

Crow Wing County Minnesota

1 Response

Hi, and thanks for contacting AaE.

Why are you putting new dirt on your garden beds? If the beds have sunken, or if a soil test indicated some sort of deficiency I can see adding new soil, but adding layers of soil on perennial beds isn't necessarily a good idea. (Think about forests and prairies - they don't get new soil every year)

If you are not planning on adding new plants, or dividing existing plants you shouldn't have to do much at all. I usually (carefully, because lots of perennials may have begun to grow in the leaf litter) scruff up the old leaves that I'd put down last year. If I need to add some sort of soil amendment Iike a fertilizer, I will sprinkle it down now, and then re-scruff up the old leaves to make an even mulch cover.

If you are going to add new soil you should gently rake up and remove the old mulch. It's ok to leave lots of leaves on the ground but you don't want to create a layer cake of old soil/leaves/new soil.

You can use the old, raked up leaves to start a new mulch layer on the new soil.

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.