leaves around shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, Fl
Avatar for kaygfox
Question by kaygfox
February 10, 2011
We have been putting our fallen leaves around our shrubs for mulch in the winter should we remove them or leave them there for the summer> will they harm the shrubs?

Answer from NGA
February 10, 2011
A thick mulch of leaves around your shrubs will help insulate the soil and is something we recommend doing each fall. The only problem you might encounter is bark rot if you pile the leaves directly against the bases of your shrubs. A thick pile of leaves can also provide hiding places for mice and they might want to feed on the bark of your shrubs during the winter months. To discourage this, and to make sure excessive moisture is not being held against the bases of your shrubs, be sure to keep the leaves a few inches away from the bark. You can leave the leaf litter there to decompose. As it does, it will provide nutrients to the roots of your shrubs and will help suppress weeds and moderate soil temperatures.

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