Ask a Question forum: Mulching leaves

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 1601, Replies: 34 » Jump to the end
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 1:16 PM CST
I have oak trees as do my neighbors and boy do we have leaves! I always have the leaves mowed into the yard. Right now I have more leaves than I can keep up with. I don't have a compost pile. So with that in mind, can I bag leaves in plastic trash bags and set the bags aside until next spring or summer? Would they be useable then or will they just turn to unusable mush?

Thanks for any opinions / advice.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 15, 2017 1:28 PM CST
It seems they would turn to mush and stink. If you have room to store bags of leaves, why not just make a simple circular compost with chicken wire (inexpensive) to toss your extra leaves in? It would not be the perfect compost ratio of greens:browns but would likely break down well enough to use this spring.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Thanks, Bonehead. You confirmed what I feared might happen. I do have room to keep the leaves and that sounds like a good solution.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 15, 2017 1:38 PM CST
I did . . . 2 years ago. In fact I was just telling my mom about them this morning as we were discussing rain, and what I was NOT doing outside today.

Use heavy duty trash bags. Don't put the bags near a maple tree (I don't have experience with other trees). Put little holes in the bags on the bottom side that will be on the ground, or side-ground. I opened a bag of my leaves that had been done that way and they were wonderful! Worm castings and all. The worms had entered the bags and chewed up the leaves and left their dropping too. Try it!
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 15, 2017 1:40 PM CST
I also heavily watered each bag when I put the chopped up leaves in. If you have to create a tall pile of bags (like I did); then the top ones will end up needing to be rotated to the bottom.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 15, 2017 1:55 PM CST
You can bag them in large bags.
This is the first year in quite a few I do not have bags of leaves left over.
Oak leaves are the least likely to mold or turn to mush.
Depending on how wet they are and if they are sealed will determine how they are. wet is bad, in spring but I have put away wet bags of maple leaves and they make great mulch for the garden in spring.

I use 70 gallon garbage bags but my neighbor has used and given to me the ones that are only good for one year or just plain large, with the pull tight collar, home garbage bags.
The weather and death of one of his large yard trees is the reason I have none this year.
The tough bags last for many years.
The snow has melted here and the Mulberry dropped its leaves while it was snowing but I am not sure I want to stand on a wet steep hill to bag them.
If you do not want mashed up leaves just bag them, but I have used leavse bagged with a lawn mower.
I have been using bagged leaves for 4 decades so I learned the hard way what works best.

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 2:00 PM CST
Teresa - good ideas. My hope was to not chop or shred the leaves. Rather I want to bag them whole. Sadly I missed out on getting a small used shredder ($25) by about 5 minutes. Last time I checked, admittedly a few or more years ago, neither Lowes or HD rent chippers or shredders.

Perhaps I could just sit down on a sunny day and use a scissors (or my hand) to cut up some of the leaves. (just kidding although I like the idea of just sitting down on a sunny day.)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 2:03 PM CST
Thanks, RpR. We cross posted. 70 gallon garbage bags??? Will have to look for some.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 15, 2017 2:17 PM CST
tx_flower_child said:Thanks, RpR. We cross posted. 70 gallon garbage bags??? Will have to look for some.

I used to get them at Menard's but they are getting harder to find.
Fifty gallon are OK.

Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Nov 15, 2017 4:59 PM CST
tx_flower_child;
I use the leaves I collect for compost, I have a good sized area for that. But I will also deliberately set some aside in their bag, folded down and open to the elements for just that reason. While not as beneficial as compost, LEAF MOLD helps by adding texture to my soil. Gross? Yes! Stinky? Yes! Hard to spread and break apart to distribute evenly?....YES! But it's free and other than compost it's the best thing you can add to your soil.
IMO Anyway.
J.R.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 15, 2017 5:12 PM CST
tx - DH and I collect shredded leaves every fall. If I keep the bags closed up, they're still pretty dry in the spring. I've tried punching holes in the bags and, by the end of our winters, they can get wet. Don't have enough sun/heat for them to compost even though the leaves are mixed with grass clippings. Yep, contractor bags from Menards.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Nov 15, 2017 5:49 PM CST
I have been using a Toro super electric blower vac model 51592 for several years. I bought it at an Ace Hardware store for $59.95, but that model no longer seems to be available from Ace. However, it is available from Amazon for $64.30.

It reduces the volume of leaves by about ten-fold and just keeps chugging along. I have a lot of trees, so I need to reduce the volume.

Thumb of 2017-11-15/csandt/3f7c5d
Carol H. Sandt

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
Name: Carole
Lake Macquarie, Australia
Butterflies Bookworm Region: Australia Birds Bee Lover Dragonflies
Garden Photography Salvias Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers Native Plants and Wildflowers Annuals
Image
carolem
Nov 15, 2017 6:15 PM CST
hi! Yes I'm another who has tough bags for fallen leaves to create leaf mould. When adding to it I try to roll the bag on a different side to help with the breaking down. Moisture if needed, and also some cow manure; all good for when going onto the gardens as a mulch.
If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.

Vincent Van Gough
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 6:43 PM CST
Thanks, y'all.

Cindy — Sounds like you are able to shred the leaves before bagging them. Correct me if I'm wrong. My problem, tho, is that I don't have a shredder.

Carol — I'm a little confused about your solution. It reads like your just blowing the leaves 'somewhere'. Are you saying that you blow them into a bag and then let them sit over the winter?

I got a little lucky this afternoon. My yard guy did bag some of the leaf and grass clippings. Of course I think he did it because he didn't understand that for right now, I want the leaves to be mowed into the yard per usual. We're still having an onslaught of acorns (ouch) and while it might seem like there's a fair amount of leaves on the ground, they've barely begun. Most of the leaves haven't even changed colors yet. Everything is late! Hard to believe that it's mid-November. So anyway, I'm trying to plan for when I have to kick leaves aside just walking to my car.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 15, 2017 6:57 PM CST
If Carol doesn't make her way back here (I sometimes don't get back to threads), the what I think she has without looking at the detail, is not only a blower, but it also *sucks* the leaves, shredding them, into the bag. I had one, a Toro also, but the dang mice chewed up the bag. Angry
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 15, 2017 7:01 PM CST
Depending on what you are using them on, I use most for cover over potatoes but also cover the garden to stop weeds around tomatoes and chiles.
I have leaf cover up to 18 inches deep but by Sept. it is down to 2 inches to fractions of of an inch.
I prefer the thicker stuff, which comes from where I put unbroken, as possible, Oak leaves, as that keeps the ground cool and moist.

Yes with better leaf blowers, they obviously blow but also come with a bag to suck up leaves and debris.
From experience BIGGER is BETTER.
[Last edited by RpR - Nov 15, 2017 7:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1586945 (16)
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
Image
ctcarol
Nov 15, 2017 7:29 PM CST

In my experience, those leaf blower/vacs only work on smaller leaves, and the bag on mine was way to small...but it is a Black& Decker. It struggled with avocado leaves. Now that tree is gone, and if I want mulch, I have buy it.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 15, 2017 7:37 PM CST
I have a miniature blower (runs on battery) that works reasonably well, but I still rely mostly on the chop-and-bag lawnmower method. We have a riding mower with two bins which allows me to drive right to where the leaves are for pickup and then right to where I want to dump the shredded leaves. Easy peasy.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
Paul2032
Nov 15, 2017 7:40 PM CST
I have had dried oak leaves in plastic bags in a shed for several years. They were black and crunchy when I tilled them in to my garden......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 7:43 PM CST
I'm using the leaves for what is ultimately a combination of reasons. First, I would in no way say that I have what most would think of as a yard. Much of it is bare and I know that Mother Nature doesn't like to be naked. Covering the bare areas can be very costly using pre-bagged mulch, especially because as it breaks down ( a good thing) it has to be replaced. Over the years, I've managed to add a small perennial bed, an itty bitty iris bed, etc. But I still require a lot of mulch. I want it to cover areas that are bare as well as to add it to any of the beds that I've created. And I really don't want to bag up all the leaves in my yard to send to the landfill.

Whoa! I thought a window was breaking just now. An acorn hit it so hard that it made me jump. Sometimes I think the squirrels are throwing the acorns on purpose.

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by rocklady and is called "Fringe Tree"