DEAD leaves can make an unsightly mess – but there are ways to use them in your garden, according to one expert.
As much as we love fall, the colder months come with a less welcome guest—piles of dead leaves you’re not quite sure where to put.
Luckily, one gardening expert has revealed how to get the most out of them without filling up your green bin.
Speaking to The Express, Graham Barrett told beanbags.co.uk that gardeners can use them for a wide range of purposes, including protecting root vegetables and DIY mulch.
“Dead leaves can be a pain to deal with, but when used properly, they’re also a great resource for gardeners,” he explained.
“The first thing to remember is to never bag dead leaves.
”The main reason for this is that they begin to rot inside the bag and create an unpleasant smell.
”Baging also makes them difficult to use as mulch in your garden, so you should always spread them over your lawn or garden instead of bagging them.
“It’s also worth knowing the best time to collect leaves; at which time they are piled up and allowed to dry a little.
”Make sure they’re not too wet when you’re collecting them – otherwise they won’t break down very well in the compost pile.
“If you live in an area where leaf blowers are used on public streets, find out if you can get your own blower and use it in your garden instead of bagging leaves for pickup.
”You’ll save yourself the trouble of bagging and transporting all the bags outside, plus you’ll get rid of more leaves (and reduce your carbon footprint) at once.”
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Improve lawn health
Graham said mowing dead leaves can actually “improve the health of the lawn” and also make the plants “stronger.”
To do this, gardeners should mow dead leaves every week.
The blades will chop up the leaves and distribute them over the lawn as a mulch – and the mulch will help solve problems like moss growth.
Add them to the compost
According to the horticulturist, dead leaves can also be added to the compost, which will help the soil to bloom in the spring.
To make a compost pile, collect leaves in the corner of the garden and add to it over time.
Garden waste will begin to break down into rich soil that can be used to fertilize plants.
Let the compost sit all winter, turning it occasionally – this will allow air to circulate.
Add water if necessary and if the dough starts to look a little dry.
By spring, the compost will be ready to mix into the garden soil.
Make the leaf mold
Lead mold is not only easier to make than compost, but it can also benefit your garden’s vegetable and flower patches.
Like compost, you should turn the leaves into a large pile in the corner of your garden.
After about a year, the leaves should decompose into a dark, sweet-smelling, earthy compound high in calcium and magnesium.
Use them as mulch
Sharing his experience, the guru noted that dead leaves in mulch can also be used to stop new weeds from spreading and can even help retain moisture in dry weather.
Dead leaves need to be chopped beforehand – this can be done by using a lawnmower on dry, dead leaves.
Insulate garden sheds
Surprising as it may seem, dead leaves can be used as insulation around sheds or other building structures, according to Graham.
To do this, collect them inside the structure and then cover them with plastic sheets.
He explained that the plastic will keep the moisture in while also keeping the leaves from blowing away on windy days.
Preserve root vegetables in autumn
A pile of dead leaves can be used to insulate root vegetables stored in the ground, such as carrots, cabbage and leeks.
Cover the area with dead leaves and they should harvest all fall and winter.
Create home decor
Use fall and dead leaves to your advantage by turning them into a unique and beautiful decorative element at home.
For example, you can place long dead leaves from hanging baskets – this easy DIY decoration will make a stunning autumn display.
Create a wall print
For those who want to create something more complex, you can create a botanical print that can last forever by pressing dry, dead leaves between two sheets of paper.
For best results, opt for beautiful foliage such as oak and beech trees.