Last month we were waxing lyrical about Autumn leaves. But for most of us leaves are great while they are still on the trees, but once they fall, they lose their attraction. They can clog up ponds, kill your lawn, encourage slugs and generally make your garden look a mess. So this month’s top tips are all about leaves and what you can do to make leaves your friends:
- Rake up leaves regularly – little and often is much less work than waiting until they are heavy with rain water and turning to mulch. If leaves are left in a thick layer on the lawn for even just a few days they will kill off the grass. Fallen leaves that are left lying over and around plants can encourage slugs and snails so use a lawn rake, hoe or even leaf blower or vacuum to remove them.
- Create you own compost – Autumn leaves piled into a container and left to decompose for a year or two will make fantastic organic matter to use as a mulch or soil conditioner, known as leafmould.
- Although it’s something of a tradition to burn the leaves, why not make a simple container using four stakes and some chicken wire? Or if you haven’t got room for this just put the leaves into black bin liners tied up with a few holes punched in them. Either way within 18 months you will have and excellent leafmould that you can use as mulch to suppress weeds or dig in to the soil just like compost.
- Keep fallen leaves from roses separate to prevent blackspot spores from overwintering in the soil. These leaves should always be burned or put in the bin – not the compost.
- Leave a small heap of leaves for our friendly garden visitor and slug-hunter the hedgehog to hibernate in
- Get arty – if you’ve got young children, an artistic streak or just time on your hands to enjoy being creative, leaves are a great resource – and they’re free! This blog has got some unusual suggestions and even some great works of art
And don’t forget to capture the colour with your camera – Autumn leaves can be the subjects of some stunning photography as our old friend Toby Haskins showed us after George created a low maintenance urban garden for year round colour