7 uses for fallen leaves

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

3. By the time au­tumn hits full swing, many trees will have shed their leaves for the sea­son, and the last ves­tiges of red, yel­low and orange magic will have faded to brown. Rak­ing, blow­ing and col­lect­ing leaves be­comes the pri­mary chores of lawn and yard main­te­nance, and presents most home­own­ers with large piles of gath­ered leaves to tend to.

It is im­pos­si­ble to count just how many leaves fall to the ground each year, or just how many pounds of leaves get col­lected curb­side, but the num­bers are sub­stan­tial. Clean­ing up leaves is con­sid­er­able work, but not all of those leaves need to be carted away. In fact, there are sev­eral dif­fer­ent uses of leaves that can be ben­e­fi­cial.

1. Spread leaves as a pro­tec­tive mulch to cover ten­der peren­ni­als or root crops/bulbs in the ground. The leaves will form a nat­u­ral in­su­lat­ing cover that keeps the soil and the plants within a bit warmer over win­ter.

2. Cre­ate a pile of leaves that will break down and form a crumbly, com­post-like ma­te­rial called leaf mold. Even though leaf mold may sound like a blight, it’s ac­tu­ally a good amend­ment to gar­den soil, im­prov­ing its struc­ture and abil­ity to hold wa­ter. Leaf mold also at­tracts ben­e­fi­cial or­gan­isms that are vi­tal in healthy soil.

Brown leaves can be added to green ma­te­ri­als in com­post piles to im­prove the health of the com­post be­ing formed. Ac­cord­ing to the healthy liv­ing re­source Care2, the ideal ra­tio is 75 per­cent brown to 25 per­cent green ma­te­ri­als in com­post. Turn com­post piles reg­u­larly to aer­ate them.

Store dried, mulched leaves in a dry spot so they can be used in the spring as a weed bar­rier for spring plant­ings. They will keep weeds at bay and help re­tain soil mois­ture to en­sure small sprouts have the re­sources to grow.

Use shred­ded leaves as a lawn sup­ple­ment. Pass a lawn mower over leaves left on the lawn to break them down into pieces too small to rake. This will help keep the lawn healthy through­out the win­ter with­out block­ing out needed sun­light.

Bag dried leaves and pack them tightly to­gether in cold ar­eas of the home, such as base­ments or garages. They can act as added in­su­la­tion. Bags of leaves also can be placed around plant­ing con­tain­ers to pro­tect them from frost.

Gather a few of the best-look­ing leaves and pre­serve them. Use an iron on a low set­ting and press leaves be­tween two pieces of waxed pa­per un­til the waxed pa­per seals to­gether. Or use clear con­tact pa­per to achieve the same ef­fect.

Fallen leaves can be used in many dif­fer­ent ways through­out the year.

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