7 Uses for Autumn Leaves

That Help Your Lawn and Garden


One thing in abundance this season is the leaves that fall, blow, and build up around your lawn and garden. Instead of simply raking them up and throwing them out, here are seven other uses for autumn leaves.

How to Use Autumn Leaves

They’re colorful, crunchy, and spread out all over your yard. If left there, they can smother and kill the grass underneath. Since you’re going to clean them up anyway, why not put them to good use. After raking or blowing the leaves into collection piles, start distributing layers of leaves for the following:

  1. Protective mulch. Leaves make a good insulating cover for overwintering perennials or root crops already in the ground.
  2. Weed barrier for spring plants. Either chop them up or leave them whole, then use as mulch for vegetable crops, berries, and ornamental shrubs. They help suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.
  3. Compost. Chop up the leaves and mix with grass clippings to create compost rich in carbon—from the leaves—and nitrogen—from the grass.
  4. Leaf mold. You can also make an all-leaf compost by collecting and storing moist leaves—shredded or whole—in plastic bags or wire bins. After two or three years, the leaves will have disintegrated into a dark, sweet-smelling, soil conditioner, high in essential minerals.
  5. Lawn conditioner. If you’d rather not rake, simply mow over the leaves a few times. The chopped leaves break down quickly in spring and add valuable organic matter and mineral nutrients to the lawn.
  6. Store root vegetables. Store carrots, beets, and other root vegetables between layers of freshly fallen leaves in a cool, humid spot.
  7. Home decor. Incorporate the brightly colored leaves into seasonal wreaths, tablescapes, and other art projects.

Where to Leave Leaves

If you’d rather collect them and trash them, check with your local authorities on what the trash requirements are. Some areas have special days for yard waste, and it must be packaged in a certain way. There also may be a local drop-off station where they take leaves to turn it into compost.

Whatever you decide to do with your fallen autumn leaves, keep the health of your yard and garden in mind. If you still have questions about leaf collection and uses, contact Elite Tree Care.