The Q&A Archives: Tilling Leaves Directly Into Soil

Question: Recently, I watched a show on composting leaves and the gentleman said that you can sow your leaves right into your garden. I have heard contradictory information about this. I have a large amount of leaves and not alot of space to compost, and this would work very well. I am concerned about toxins in the leaves as they break down in the soil. Is this a good or bad idea? Michelle Duran Edgewater, CO

Answer: You can till your leaves directly into the garden in fall and let them decompose slowly over the winter. Usually they would be broken down enough that by spring you can plant directly into the soil. You shouldn't apply the leaves in spring because in the course of breaking down the leaves, microorganisms in the soil use nitrogen needed by plants, so your plants may be temporarily stunted. I'd compost any leaves not added in spring and in fall I would add and till in about a 4" layer of leaves and if you still have extras, compost them in a separate area. Add the finished leaf compost in spring..

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Char and is called "'Diamond Head' Sunrise"