Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

January 6, 2014


Many of you have read about the ancient oak in the center of my perennial garden, and how every August through January, millions of leaves (and acorns every ten years) drop like confetti. GIANT trees do this. I’ve had compost piles in the past, but I’m not good at maintaining them, however, our landfill has a wonderful recycle section for greens. So, I would rake, bag, and haul off a large trailer load. Then two years ago, I started dumping the leaves along the backside of the perennial garden to repurpose as a weed blanket.


This winter, partly out of pure laziness, I have left the latter two months of leaves in the perennial garden. Normally, I can’t stand the messy appearance. I like a neat and tidy landscape. But the leaf blanket “in” the garden has functioned well as mulch, kept most weeds at bay, and sealed in moisture—especially important since we are rain poor this year. The leaves are dry, brittle, and light. Once it does rain, they will become heavy (for a leaf) and stick to the soil making the layer underneath nearly impossible to rake. Good for the soil, bad for landscape beautification.


So here’s where I am taking ballots. Vote for #1 or #2:

  1. Do I keep the “leaf blanket” inside the garden, and then come spring rake up what I can and work the rest into the soil? (Nearest neighbors are 40 acres away, so this won’t offend them.)
  2. Do I clean up the unsightly appearance now?

If you don’t want to leave your vote here, under comments, send an email to me, inthegarden@softcom.net.


  1. I would leave it but would try to chop the leaves up a bit so they can decompose naturally. In the future, I would shred the leaves into pieces with a leaf shredder or even a lawn mower and spread the pieces in that area.


    • Thanks for your vote and suggestions. The leaves don’t do well in our shredder. Once, I tried a handheld blower that sucks up leaves then shreds them. It did a poor job. Since the acorns are at a minimum this year, I’ll give the lawn mower a try. Thank you!


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