Leaf composting

Asked March 25, 2017, 2:56 PM EDT

Should I clear the fallen leaves from my trellised plants or can I turn them over into the soil for mulch?

Contra Costa County California composting

1 Response

Thanks for your question about composting. Quite simply: use what you have! The soil is filled with trillions of trillions of microbes that break down leaves (and all other organic matter) just by eating or dissolving them. However, since they don't have big (or any 'mouths'), they need for the tissue to be as small as possible. So, grinding or using a lawn mower, for example, to reduce the leaves to smaller sizes will allow the composting to be faster. But, if you don't have something to do that, just bury the leaves, and keep moist. (Some microbes, such as nematodes, protozoa and some bacteria, need moisture to live and move through the soil). The only organic materials that should not be composted/buried are weeds, seeds you do not want recurring, matter treated with pesticides and any plant that has poisonous or noxious characteristics. That probably doesn't apply to your trellised plant leaves, but you might need that caution for other plants in your garden. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!