Garden lovers Garden How to Use Dead Leaves

How to Use Dead Leaves

How to Use Dead Leaves

How to Use Dead Leaves


 – Step 1: Collecting fallen leaves

 – Step 2: Store fallen leaves

 – Step 3: Use the leaves to make compost

 – Step 4: Make Potting Soil from Dead Leaves

 – Step 5: Use fallen leaves to make mulch

Far from being a chore, falling leaves in autumn are a real blessing for the gardener. Carefully collected, they can be added to your compost, decomposed into humus or used as a free and beneficial mulch for crops.

Here is a step-by-step guide on using fallen leaves to make them a valuable ally in your garden.

1. Collect dead leaves

Some types of leaves are unsuitable for further use.

Prefer to burn:

 – leaves from fruit trees and rose bushes that show any sign of disease;

 – leaves from walnut trees, which contain a powerful and harmful tannin.

You can collect dead leaves on their own or with grass clippings from your lawn mower.

Collect leaves alone

 – Spread a tarp or sheet on the ground.

 – Gather the dead leaves with a leaf rake.

 – Push them directly onto the tarp.

 – Gather the full tarp by its four corners and carry it to where you need the leaves.

Collect leaves and mowed grass

 – Run the mower equipped with a grassbox and set it to the highest cutting level over your green lawn.

 – Collect a mixture of grass and shredded leaves in the bin, which is excellent for composting.

Good to know: you can collect wet leaves; it will not harm their future use, on the contrary.

2. Store dead leaves

How to Use Dead Leaves

It can be interesting to store the surplus of dead leaves collected in the fall to use later as spring mulch, occasional contributions to the compost, etc.

To contain them without them scattering, proceed as follows:

 – Take a fine mesh screen, 1 m high and 3 m long.

 – Roll it up to make a cylinder.

 – Tie the ends of the cylinder together.

 – Hold the cylinder on the ground with 4 stakes.

 – Fill the resulting silo with dead leaves.

3. Use the dead leaves to make compost

Prepare the compost

 – Spread the leaves to be composted on a tarp.

 – Run the lawnmower over them, and pick them up directly with the lawnmower; if you have collected them, you can also run them through the shredder. When reduced to small pieces, the leaves will compost faster, like oak, beech, chestnut leaves…

 – Place the shredded leaves in a layer about 20 cm high in the composter.

 – Spread between each layer of leaves:

 ◦ green waste or some leaf soil from previous years;

 ◦ nitrogenous organic matter (ground horn, poultry droppings);

 ◦ and compost activating slurry (nettle slurry, comfrey slurry…).

 – Put back a 20 cm layer of leaves, and so on.

 – Stir the compost regularly to aerate it, and ensure it always stays moist.

 – In the spring, turn the pile and add more nitrogenous organic matter.

Your compost will be ready after one year.

Make humus

If you want to make humus, once your compost is ready:

 – Let it decompose for a minimum of 2 years.

 – At the end of this period, recover the beautiful black humus you will use to amend and fertilize your soil in the vegetable garden.

4. Make compost with dead leaves

How to Use Dead Leaves

 – Fill a black garbage bag (100 litres) with wet leaves.

 – Avoid leaves that are too tough. – Close the bag loosely.

 – Make holes all over the bag for ventilation.

 – Leave the bag in a corner for 18 months.

– When you open it, you will have rich potting soil ready to use.

5. Use dead leaves to make a mulch

Like any mulch, a mulch of dead leaves is beneficial:

 – at the beginning of winter to protect plants from the winter cold;

 – in the spring to slow down the growth of weeds;

 – in summer, keep the soil cool and limit watering.

Leaf mulch has the added benefit of nourishing the soil as it decomposes, providing valuable fertilizing elements and improving its structure.

Make a mulch of shredded leaves

This method is recommended especially for large leaves that, left whole, would give the wind more hold.

 – Method 1:

 ◦ Spread the dead leaves on a sheet.

 ◦ Run the mower through it.

 ◦ Your mulch is ready!

 – Method 2:

 ◦ Put the dead leaves in a large trash can.

 ◦ Shred them by running an edger through them.

 ◦ Your mulch is not only ready but stored for future use!

Make a mulch out of whole dead leaves.

It’s not essential to shred dead leaves; you can also use whole leaves to make mulch:

 – either large leaves to large mulch plants (hedges, tall grasses …);

 – or small leaves to mulch small plants (perennials…).

Materials needed to use dead leaves



Shredded horn 


Large garbage can 

Wire mesh 

High stakes 

Nettle manure 

Leaf rake 

Garbage bag 


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