Pottawatomie County OSU Extension

Contact Us

Pottawatomie County
OSU Extension Center
14001 Acme Rd.
Shawnee, OK  74804

Phone: 405.273.7683
Fax: 405.273.8014

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Pottawatomie County OSU Extension

Fall Leaves

Ways to utilize the falling leaves.

Fall Leaves

Local leaves are not this bright this year.

What can we do to with all our fallen fall leaves?

 Fall is soon upon us and it is time to begin thinking about what you will do with all those leaves. Just bagging them and letting them go to the landfill is a waste of our tax dollars and of a valuable garden resource. Instead of bagging them and hauling off to the dump this year consider these suggestions.  Of       course, don’t forget to have a little fun with the kids and let them jump in the leaf piles first!  Remember to snap some photos!

 Use as a MulchAn easy way to get rid of leaves is to simply rake them onto the perennial beds as a nice winter mulch. Some say that leaves may suffocate your plants, but use your good judgment. Small leaves generally will not offer any threat, but huge leaves, such as sycamore, might. Granted, this may be a better option in the backyard vs the front entry.  Nature’s mulch is perfectly timed and free!  Just be sure to remove at the proper time in the spring, to avoid thin stretched plants under the mulch. 

 Compost ThemPlace them in the compost pile along with other garden plant material. You don’t need a special compost bin to accomplish this process. A big hole dug behind the garage or some other inconspicuous place works nicely. Fill the hole with lots of leaves and other garden plant material.  For compost information see OSU Fact Sheets:  http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2865/L-252-2013.pdf  for leaf composting and http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-1495/HLA-6448web.pdf for backyard composting. 

 Mow 'Em - Simply mow over them as often as necessary before they build up to deep. The chopped leaves return valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil. If you use a mower with a bag attachment you can capture the chopped leaves and then distribute them as needed. They work well as an excellent mulch, compost fodder, or can be worked into your vegetable garden.

 Leaf PowerIf you have tons of leaves, you may consider buying or renting a vacuum-shredder. This is more effective than just blowing them around with a blower. Vacuum-shredders suck up the leaves, chop them, and then collect them into a bag. Use as described above. Remember, however, that shredders, blowers, and choppers work well only when the leaves are nice and dry. If they're too wet, they'll just clog.

 Back to NatureIf you own a wooded area or large property where you can dispose of leaves, go for it. However, remember that too many leaves can suffocate existing plants, so spread them out a bit.

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