Benefits of Leaf Mold Benefits of the leaf decomposing pile is to improve garden soil’s ability of moisture retention. Leaf mold is used as a soil amendment because it provides nutrients and a moist growing medium for plants. So, what does this mean? As a surface mulch leaf mold is effective too, insulating the soil from … Leaf mold is a soil amendment. Leaf mold has several great attributes. If you are using the plastic bag method, just turn it over or give it a firm shake. Leaf mold is an organic matter and a soil amendment that is simply a result of composted tree leaves. Leaf mold also improves soil structure and provides a fantastic habitat for soil life, including earthworms and beneficial bacteria. It helps to develop clay soil, sandy soil or rocky soil to turn into good quality soil. Now, who wouldn’t want that? Also, stay away from using walnut leaves if you plan to use the leaf mold in your garden. By well-composted, I mean leaves that have been cold composting for better than a year. How to use autumn leaves to improve garden soil: Alan Titchmarsh’s top tips. Once the leaves are decomposed, the amendment can be mixed into your garden soil or container. A simple wire or mesh container will do the job nicely. 3) The layer of leaves protect and feed organisms including earthworms. The number of fallen leaves can become overwhelming to try and figure out what to do with them. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Is Your Seed Alive? 1. Secondly, the added mixture will improved soil so that it is well-draining. It absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. Conifer needles will eventually break down, but may take two to three years to decay. Leaves can be stored in a circular wire (such as chicken wire) bin or piled in an inconspicuous area in your yard. It’s not just the lawn that should be cleared of leaves, either. The energy increases the development of bacteria and fungi in the soil and uses up the nitrogen. Organic matter also provides the perfect habitat for beneficial bacteria and earthworms in your garden. The research was to see if the leaves are a beneficial resource for agricultural soil and crops. It’s best to shred them using your mower so they’ll break down faster. Rake your leaves or collect leaves from a neighbor into a pile. In this #shorts video, I take you through some of the benefits of using leaf mold in the garden. Leaf Mold – Natures Soil Conditioner. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Not only is it less labor-intensive than a traditional compost pile, it only calls for one ingredient – fallen leaves. Leaf mould creators, listen up! Leaf mold provides a number of fantastic benefits for your garden: Increases the water holding capacity of the soil. This means that the soil retains water better, often over 50 percent better water retention than soil without leaf mold. In a nutshell, carbon is the highest concentration element. And when used as a soil amendment, it can increase water retention in the soil by 50% or more. Making leaf mold is less work and more straightforward to manage than composting. When you directly apply leaves into or on top of your garden soil, the microorganisms will utilize the soil’s nitrogen to break down the leaves. On the other hand, traditional compost utilizes a heat-generated process using bacteria to breakdown the organic matter. If you want to … Well draining soil prevents plant roots from sitting in excess water. There are two main factors need for making a leaf mold: – The presence of adequate moisture and oxygen in the air. 1  It increases the water retention of soils. Benefits of Leaf Mold. You can use leaves from all sorts of deciduous trees to make leaf mould, but those that are thick – for example, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut and sycamore – are best shredded first. 2) Leaf Mold improves soil fertility which means it provides nutrients to the soil and improves soil structure so it will become nice and loose over time. Leaf mold is very versatile and can be used all throughout the garden. Leaf mold adds organic matter and other nutrients when you add it to your garden. It could also mean you won’t have to worry about your plants as much when dry spells hit during the hottest parts of summer. It utilizes a cool-generated process using fungus to breakdown the leaves. Remember leaf mold retains water at rate of 500% of its own weight so it makes a great alternative to peat moss. Mix it into the top layer or use 3-4 inches as a mulch. You can apply a layer of shredded leaves (3-6 inches) around the base of trees, shrubs, and flower beds. It does not supply the plants with nutrients like compost does, rather, it improves soil structure. Or chop them up for quicker decomposition by mowing over the pile. Up to 80% of all nutrients that trees extract from the ground end up in its leaves. If you decide to use trash bags, wet down the leaves and poke holes in the bag to allow air circulation. Check on them every so often to make sure they are moist. But you can add nutrient rich comfrey leaves to the material when preparing a mix for potting on or plant containers. Though leaves are not high in nitrogen, phosphorus … It will attract a wide range of beneficial microorganisms and insects. Since the leaf mold is a cold process, it won’t kill the fungal spores, and it can re-infect your trees. When applied to your garden and decompose, they increase the soil’s organic matter and it’s capacity to hold water and improve soil tilth. It’s good stuff! So we know that leaves have a high level of carbon, which is a carbohydrate that provides energy. First of all, mold can be beneficial to the gardener. Making leaf mold is an easy way to get your children involved in learning how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. When the leaves decompose, the carbon is released and helps the soil retain water, structure, and fertility. Leaf Mold is the result of leaves that have fully decomposed and now have a crumbly texture. Water retention – mixed into your garden soil, leaf mold will increase water retention in your garden soil making it easily available for plants. Rutgers University conducted a study about plant nutrients found in municipal leaves. Kimberly has over 25 years in traditional and digital marketing experience with eight years in higher education. This post may contain affiliate links. Given the copious amounts of dry leaves available in the fall you may want to consider making leaf mold. When decomposed, leaves provide the perfect habitat and food source for your soil’s microbes and earthworms. This leads to less watering during the growing season. Your email address will not be published. © 2020. Leaf mold is a form of compost, which gradually changes into the humus before it breakdown due to slow fungus. The first is that it can hold up to 500 percent of its own weight in water. Along with giving nutrients gradually to plants, it … Don’t include leaves that show any fungal disease issues. It is gradually disintegrated. Once you’ve collected into a pile, mow over the leaves to shred them. If you are growing plants the same time you apply leaves in your garden bed, it can result in a nitrogen deficiency in the plants. Leaf mold is said to have very good water retaining capacities and can be used for potting mixes, or used for enriching soil. If that wasn’t enough, leaf mold also feeds earthworms and the beneficial … If leaves are placed in a pile uncut, it can take up to two years to turn into leaf mold. Your email address will not be published. What this means is that applying leaf mold to your garden will boost soil life, will provide minerals for your plants, and will improve the structure of your garden’s soil. Leaf mold is essentially a soil conditioner. Tree leaves have high carbon, low nitrogen ratio (60:1), depending on leaf species, compared to an ideal organic material (24:1). Sep 21, 2020 | Building Healthy Soil, Gardening, How-To and Tips | 0 comments. Using leaf mold as a soil amendment is a common and productive practice. Kimberly is passionate about all things sustainable gardening and reaping its physical and mental benefits. According to some university studies, the addition of leaf mold increased water retention in soils by over 50 percent. Hugelkultur: Permaculture’s Ultimate Raised Bed, 3 Ways to Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots. Leaf mold is a great soil conditioner. The best leaves for leaf mould Making a leaf mould bin The majority of the nutrients listed above need a little help. Most leaves are slightly acidic when they fall, with a pH below 6. And of course, your garden soil will thank you! Uses. One of the great benefits from using leaf mold compost is that it will hold 500% more of its own weight in water. Required fields are marked *. A soil pH test may … Leaf mold from deciduous trees will be richer in potassium and phosphorous than nitrogen. Spread a three-inch (7.5 cm.) The Benefits of Leaf Mold. Small thin leaves such as birch break down fairly quickly, while large leathery ones such as chestnut benefit from being shredded first. Instead, create a large pile, wet them down to make leaf mold! Two main factors necessary to create leaf mold are sufficient moisture and the presence of oxygen from the air. A few wooden posts and … You want your microbes and worms to be happy and healthy. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The leaves offer a significant amount of nutrients for the soil, but not all are immediately available after application. The Hearty Garden.  All Rights Reserved. Use a shovel or garden fork to turn your leaf pile every few weeks. In addition to use for seedlings, potting on and plant containers, leaf mold is ideal for mulching around shallow rooted moisture loving plants: e.g. Leaf mold is a a form of compost produced by the slow fungal breakdown of leaves before it finally turns into humus. It’s not a fertilizer and is very poor in nutrients. Remove them from patios, decks and paths to stop them becoming slippery as well as reap the benefits of making your own soil improver. Leaf mold is nothing more than well-composted tree leaves and it’s miraculous for building soil. You can also place them in trash bags. Leaf mold greatly improves the structure and water-holding capacity of soil. You can find a spot in your yard and wait a year or so for the leaves to break down. Leaf mold is a soil amendment that can be used in containers, potting soil mixes, seed starting, raised beds and in ground gardens. Leaves are an abundance in my backyard since trees surround my property. However, as they breakdown, they will eventually release their nutrients, and its best to think of using leaves as a long-term fertility solution. Don’t want to make leaf mold? In fact, leaf mold doesn't really offer very many nutrients but conditions the soil. Before adding leaves to your pile or bag, run over them a couple of times with your lawn mower. However, I take the time to rake enough leaves to place into a pile to create nutrient-rich leaf mold for my containers and garden beds. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies around the world and studies have shown this past time may improve mental and physical health.  Whether or not you possess gardening personality traits, we want to coach you so you too, can reap this hobbies benefits. Alternatively you can just pile up your leaves and use them later when brown materials are scarce. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. It contains a natural herbicide called juglones and can harm your plants. Your email address will not be published. Leaf mold will slow soil moisture evaporation during hot summers and will slow soil cooling in autumn. Leaf mold is considered to be a soil conditioner. This natural soil conditioner improves water-holding capacity, enhances soil structure (and therefore water and air movement within the soil), and provide habitat for the soil’s micro–and macro– In this form it will absorb rainwater and during the hotter summer months, it will help to keep the root system of your plants cooler. Leaf mold is more of a soil amendment. This will introduce air into the process, which speeds decomposition. However, you decide to use your leaves, your garden, and the environment will reap the benefits. Tree leaves are a nutrient hero. 4) By using leaves as a mulch, you are helping the environment. Benefits of Leaf Mold. A soil test will tell you if you need to add nitrogen to your planting beds; this can be done by simply adding well-rotted steer manure. Plus leaves contain twice the mineral content of manure. Besides helping retain moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation, leaf mold also absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. Mix it into potting soil for added aeration and water retention. Nonetheless, please don’t throw them out to the curbside and fill valuable landfill space. However, as the leaves … Planting beds conditioned with leaf mold may become slightly acid. Smaller pieces will decompose more quickly. Leaf mold can easily compete with rock dust for being a source of minerals for your … At once it makes the soil spongier and helps it retain moisture and air, which benefits plant roots. As the leaves continue to decay, carbon levels decrease, and nitrogen levels increase, it eventually brings more nitrogen availability to the plants. It holds more water by weight than peat moss. At once it makes the soil spongier and helps it retain moisture and air, which benefits plant roots. 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