The Q&A Archives: Controlling Dollar Weed and Oak Leaves

Question: Can I control the dollar weed in my vegetable and rose gardens with oak leaves? We have many oak trees and are overrun with leaves, which have eliminated all grass in the front yard, even though I have been raking like crazy. The azaleas love them.

Answer: Azaleas do love oak leaves with good reason - they acidify the soil as they decompose. For that reason, I don't recommend using them in the vegetable garden, and only use them in the flower garden if the flowers you're growing are acid-loving. It's better to compost them, as the composting process tends to neutralize the pH of the materials used - and use the compost to enrich your garden soil. Oak leaves are tough and take time to break down, so it's best to first chop them up fine with a leaf shredder or your lawn mower.

If your dollar weed is the same as my dollar weed (creeping charlie, ground ivy - Glechoma hederacea), your best bet is to keep the soil well mulched between plants. I've had luck by placing a couple sheets of newspaper on the soil and topping it with aged hay or straw - it keeps everything down, though in some spots I have to pile on a fresh layer of straw. Hope this helps!

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