Leaf­mould: take it or leave it

Gardeners' World - - We Love January -

When I was young, we used to roam the beech woods and gather up sacks of leaves for leaf­mould. These days, though, I’m un­easy about the en­thu­si­asm ex­pressed by Monty Don ( The Full Monty, Novem­ber is­sue). Surely leaf­mould be­longs to its own tree? It de­pends on it for the fun­gal ecosys­tem that sus­tains it, so I feel we ought to leave it where it is (un­less it’s piled up in the gut­ters). An­drew Blount, London

I am the hor­ti­cul­ture of­fi­cer at the award-win­ning Clifton Park in Rother­ham, and we col­lect our leaves and have huge leaf­mould piles around the park, which we in­cor­po­rate into our beds be­fore plant­ing and as a mulch. We have more than we need and mem­bers of the pub­lic are en­cour­aged to help them­selves. An­drea Jones, by email

I have al­ways un­der­stood that it is frowned upon or even il­le­gal to col­lect leaves from any­where but your own prop­erty. We gather leaves from the drive and path­ways but leave most of it to be ab­sorbed into the ground. Deb­o­rah Roth, by email

We say While it is il­le­gal to col­lect leaves from Forestry Com­mis­sion land, there are no such rules gov­ern­ing pub­lic streets. Be­fore col­lect­ing leaves from a park, you should seek per­mis­sion from the owner.

Monty can’t get enough leaf­mould

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