To Leaf or Not to Leaf

Sean Eriksen
November 1, 2022

Fallen leaves are nature’s way of replenishing its soils year after year, and creating a bed of fertility for the growth in spring. When the leaves fall on our lawns or hardscape environments, it creates a challenge of what to do with them. 

One option is to buy paper bags, rake up all the leaves, and send them off to a landfill or composting site. Alternatively, there’s the option to use the leaves “hyperlocally”. A thick mat of leaves covering a lawn will likely result in bald patches come spring, but another option is to find areas surrounding trees or shrubs where you can scatter the leaves. An ideal mulch of leaves is a donut shape that starts a foot or more from the base of the tree and reaches out to the radius of the tree canopy. It’s important that the leaves don’t lay directly against the trunk, as this can lead to rot and other issues. Another great place to put leaves is an ornamental or edible garden, around the base of shrubs and other plants. Think of where the plant matter would have fallen from those plants had you not harvested them during the growing season, and place the leaves there. Again, it’s important the leaves don’t touch the stems/trunks of the plants, but rather create a donut shape and cover any bare soil in between plants. If you don’t have any space to move your leaves, consider communicating with your neighbors that you have leaves available for use. 

If we can each share what we have in abundance, our natural resources will be used much more effectively and sustainably. We hope you enjoy this fall season, and perhaps jump in a leaf pile while you’re at it!