what types of leaves are good mulch for south & west facing rose beds?

Asked November 7, 2017, 8:41 PM EST

Hi, I have many types of bagged leaves, not aged, though. Have two long rose beds of crappy soil, although good drainage, since they're up against the house with gravel below (I hope). Are there certain leaves that would chemically be a nice match for roses? I'm not going to shred them. Therefore, I wonder if the small red leaves are good. I think they're maple, about 2" by 2", and kind of shield shaped. I also have oak leaves on hand, ash, and middle sized maple leaves. Thank you.

Benton County Oregon horticulture

1 Response

Thanks for your question about using leaves as mulch on your roses. Leaves in general make a good mulch, especially smaller ones that are less prone to matting down. Any of the kinds you have should be fine. There wouldn't be enough chemical difference to worry about. The only leaves that might cause any problem are very large ones, which will mat if used whole.
If you shredded them (a lawnmower works fine) they would be even less likely to mat and would break down faster; shredding also helps keep them from blowing away in the wind, if that is a problem.
The leaf mulch will help protect the soil from compaction and erosion by winter rains, and add nutrients to the soil as they break down. However, since roses are heavy feeders, you will probably want to provide them with supplemental fertilizer in the spring.