Think of fall leaves as fertilizer falling from the sky, not an annoyance to be raked and removed. Recycle these nutrient-rich packets back into your landscape.
Tree leaves contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients the plants absorb from the air and soil throughout the growing season. Recycle these nutrients back into the soil to benefit future plantings.
An even bigger benefit is the organic matter fall leaves provide. Whether used as mulch, incorporated into the soil or composted, as the leaves break down they improve the soil.
And don’t be afraid to recycle oak leaves. Although acidic these and other leaves have very little impact on soil pH.
Small leaves and leaflets like those of willow, honeylocust and acacia are ready to use as is. Shred larger and tougher leaves of oaks and maples to speed decomposition and prevent matting.
A bit more information: Composted leaves contain about .5 to 1% nitrogen and phosphorous and about .1% potassium. They are high in carbon and compost quickly when combined with nitrogen rich materials like vegetable waste and grass clippings.
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