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Q.can fall leaves be used as mulch?

Zone Kingsport, TN | Mary Cook added on November 13, 2018 | Answered

Are fallen fall leaves be used as mulch? Do they need to be chopped up? what are the drawbacks of using leaves this way?

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Answered on November 13, 2018

Some tree leaves tend to get matted down when wet which inhibits air and water penetration, things that are necessary for aerobic decomposition. This is especially true of large tree leaves. So it is best to run these over with a mower before using as a garden mulch. Another option is to intermix straw/small sticks/pine needles with leaves to prevent matting. Shrub leaves are generally small enough that shredding isn't necessary. When mulching don't put any up against plant stems. All leaves make a good addition to the compost pile. If added to the compost pile, they don't need to be chopped first, although chopping/shredding speeds decomposition. It may be necessary to fluff the pile to correct any leaf matting.

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