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Old 11-19-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
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Leaf04 I love leaves!

Every year at this time it is a ritual, we chop and suck up all the leaves for mulching the beds. Most years it is a prolonged process as our oaks drop their leaves ever so slowly over a long period, even lasting until the buds break next spring and push out the old hangers-on.

This year we had a very dry late summer/early fall and more leaves than usual fell early, happy for us because we can get the job done more quickly and efficiently plus more can be collected for our beds. With a few fits and starts the first batch has been gathered.

While running the mower over the leaves twice (once to chop, once to suck up) may seem wasteful in fuel, I justify it by being able to reuse our leaves instead of buying mulch from an unknown source trucked from who knows where. Also we don't use leaf blowers so that noisy gas guzzler is avoided.

Oak leaves are a great mulch, they break down much slower than most other leaves. I don't use them in the compost but after a year or so as a mulch they can be turned under to improve the soil.

Here's my gathering from today, with more leaves yet to come!
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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oooohhhhh ahhhhhh. Nice pile of mulch-to-be.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:34 PM   #3
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While running the mower over the leaves twice (once to chop, once to suck up) may seem wasteful in fuel....
It's so much less than the fuel required to truck them out to the landfill by a garbage truck, or even to the municipal dump to be re-driven out as compost. It's still more than just letting them break down on the lawn, but, I justify it that I'm reapplying it to a more useful spot.

If you're interested in using even less gas, I'd consider a lawn-sweeper deal. They sell them for riding mowers, too, but in that case you're still running it twice over the same space :/

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I justify it by being able to reuse our leaves instead of buying mulch from an unknown source trucked from who knows where. Also we don't use leaf blowers so that noisy gas guzzler is avoided.
Honestly, I want one of those leaf-blowers :/ I see my neighbor cleaning out his gutters with it and, honestly, I covet it.

Leaves are great "mulch". It came up for me, last weekend, that there's not much difference between "mulching" and "slow composting strategically."
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:10 AM   #4
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That's a nice pile linrose and will go a long way,, Plus you know what's in it. You aren't going to be using the mower for a while so it's good to run the gas out anyway. I know grass clippings have alot of Nitrogen but really never compare to nice woodsy smell leaves give you.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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Default Leaf mulch 2011!

The pile started early this year, and it's gonna be even bigger than last year!!! This is the pile today after two gatherings.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:24 PM   #6
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How's your leaf pile going now? Are you using it in compost or for mulch?
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tie Dyed View Post
It's so much less than the fuel required to truck them out to the landfill by a garbage truck, or even to the municipal dump to be re-driven out as compost. It's still more than just letting them break down on the lawn, but, I justify it that I'm reapplying it to a more useful spot.

If you're interested in using even less gas, I'd consider a lawn-sweeper deal. They sell them for riding mowers, too, but in that case you're still running it twice over the same space :/



Honestly, I want one of those leaf-blowers :/ I see my neighbor cleaning out his gutters with it and, honestly, I covet it.

Leaves are great "mulch". It came up for me, last weekend, that there's not much difference between "mulching" and "slow composting strategically."
I know what I'm coveting, those leaves in that picture, right about now. I have weeds coming up everywhere, and I lack both cardboard and mulch. I had gotten a huge amount of cardboard this year, but I used it all up while creating new flower and vegetable gardens. Now, if I had more cardboard and the leaves in that picture of Linrose's...
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:02 AM   #8
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We did have a bumper crop of leaves last year, they all went into the woods all along the path like that. We used most of it this spring to mulch the new terrace bed and the rest got spread around the woods in a nice thick layer. We have a big problem with Japanese stilt grass in the shady areas and the leaves did the trick to smother most of that. I was glad to see that six months had broken down the leaves quite well so they were kind of half mulch/half leaf mold. The moisture content was quite high.

jack, this time of the year it's tough to find homegrown mulch, or even bagged mulch from the stores. You could try newspaper topped with compost if you have any or grass clippings mixed with some shredded bark. When I run out of our chopped leaves I have a local source for pine fines which are just fine enough to break down by next season which is what I want in my perennial gardens.

Last edited by linrose; 07-11-2012 at 07:03 AM. Reason: repetition
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
We did have a bumper crop of leaves last year, they all went into the woods all along the path like that. We used most of it this spring to mulch the new terrace bed and the rest got spread around the woods in a nice thick layer. We have a big problem with Japanese stilt grass in the shady areas and the leaves did the trick to smother most of that. I was glad to see that six months had broken down the leaves quite well so they were kind of half mulch/half leaf mold. The moisture content was quite high.

jack, this time of the year it's tough to find homegrown mulch, or even bagged mulch from the stores. You could try newspaper topped with compost if you have any or grass clippings mixed with some shredded bark. When I run out of our chopped leaves I have a local source for pine fines which are just fine enough to break down by next season which is what I want in my perennial gardens.
Thanks, Linrose, but I don't know what "pine fines" are. I only read the news online, so I lack any newspapers, and I want to save my "cooking" compost for the veggie garden, which is my top priority. The real problem I have is I planted natives too thinly. Back in June I tried to address this by planting a lot of sunflowers, but they haven't done well - I don't think that most of them get enough sun. Sunflowers seem to need full sun, which I have a distinct lack of. I guess that's why they're called "sunflowers?"
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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PIne fines are just finely ground pine bark. Usually with the bagged pine bark mulch from the big box stores they are big chunks which I don't like. This is more like rolled oats in size if you can picture that. There shouldn't be a lack of pine bark up there. Folks down here also use "pine straw" which are just pine needles. I never heard of them until we moved down here but it's a popular mulch and kind of attractive.

We were just up in Massachusetts this past week. It was so great to feel those ocean breezes and have temps in the 80s. We got out to the Vineyard for a day trip which was crazy on the week of the 4th holiday but I just wanted to see the Atlantic which I've missed for several years.

About planting natives too thinly, how long ago did you plant them? I'm a notorious overplanter because I figure I can pull out what's crowding others in time. I did let the brown-eyed susans and the aromatic aster run amok which I will remediate this fall. OK, so no newspapers, no cardboard, and no leaves. The only other thing I can think of is salt hay which may be available in your area. It doen't contain seeds that could invade your garden because it spreads by rhizomes. The only thing is I don't know how sustainable it is given it's an important grass in the tidal zones. I wouldn't use straw because of the weed seeds it could introduce.

Then there's just good old fashioned weed pulling and digging which nobody really likes to do in the high summer months.
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