Ask a Question forum: Leave the leaves?

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talss
May 21, 2017 4:33 PM CST
I have recently moved house and have now got a very large garden that has been neglected over the years other than the grass being cut. Behind and around all of my shrubs is a thick layer of leaves on the soil.
How long will it take for these leaves to decompose to fertile the soil?
Do i need to do anything to them?
Is there a specific thickness that is optimal to help fertile the soil or should I just remove them all???
Many thanks
Talia
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
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Bonehead
May 21, 2017 4:42 PM CST
I would leave them all there to decompose and keep the weeds down. Look at it as free mulch, already spread out.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 21, 2017 4:43 PM CST
Since they are old I would remove them and start fresh. Having that much of a layer of old leaves in a neglected garden could cause problems with insects, weeds, etc. You need to ammend the soil anyway, so why not see what kind of soil you have. The old leaves can be added to a comost pile so they won't be a total waste.

It also depends on what kind of leaves you have. If they are leaves say...from a maple tree, they will break down fairly quickly, But if they are certain types of oak leaves the process will take much longer.

Knowing what kind of leaves and knowing your location will get some better answers. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
May 21, 2017 5:55 PM CST
I agree with all the above, but with one caveat...If feral cats are a problem, that leaf layer discourages them from using the area as a litter box.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
May 21, 2017 6:37 PM CST
Apologies, double-posted and I guess I don't know how to delete a post other than just deleting all the text (?)
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - May 21, 2017 6:44 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1450417 (5)
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
Image
Bonehead
May 21, 2017 6:41 PM CST
Carol, I would have never thought feral cats would be a problem until we traveled to the Olympia Peninsula, stopped at a pretty wayside for lunch, then were just surrounded by weird very quiet and kind of stalking feral cats. For those into the vampire-ish stuff, this was right around Forks, Washington. Woo-woo-woo. I think I tossed out some dog food for them. They looked pretty healthy, but creepy at the same time. I didn't want to mess with 'em.
Thumb of 2017-05-22/Bonehead/4c9f6f

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 21, 2017 7:07 PM CST
That group looks pretty well fed.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
May 21, 2017 7:08 PM CST
Well, they are all long-haired and this was in December so they would have a full winter coat on.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 21, 2017 7:32 PM CST
I'm going to guess it in flower beds.
Leave it. Previous owners knew what they were doing. Racked the leaves into flower beds to keep weeds out. Rack leaves away some. You'll probably find a nice layer of mulch. Steal it for pots or anything that needs mulch. Vege garden, etc.
Rack leaves back into flower beds, so process can start again and will keep weeds out. Thumbs up
Thats my guess. Otherwise ! You may need to be more specific and send pics.
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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