Winterizing Garden – Fallen Leaves

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,359
    Mitch Baker with American Plant in Bethesda talks about what to do of all these falling leaves in the garden.

    Mitch Baker: Hi! I am Mitch Baker with American Plant in Bethesda. We are talking about winterizing your ornamental garden and right now we are talking about what to do of all these falling leaves. Now obviously in an area like this where we have overseeded, we have our grass seed germinating. We have to keep these leaves off of this newly developing grass or we will have no grass. So you can lightly rake over an area like this without disturbing the newly germinated grass seed. You do have to be careful. Just lightly rake, you are going to gather these leaves up. We are going to put these leaves in the compost pile. I hope you have a compost pile because that's the best place to put the leaves. Now you can put them in as this or you can chop them up, grind them up, run your lawn mower over them, reduce them in size. That is going to make the decomposition faster, easier, a more rapid change over to humic matter and thats what you want to do, is get that humic matter available, so you can put it back in the garden. Now all of these leaves that are falling in the beds back here, can we leave those leaves right where they lie, in the bed? Well, here is what I like to do, wait until all these leaves have fallen; I am going to keep them off the grass the entire fall season. In the beds like this, yes, they can pile up a bit around the base of these plants. They actually add some protection and slowly over the winter as these leaves are breaking down they are releasing tannins and phenols and humic acids, things that are beneficial to micro-organisms in the soil and above all, all of our plants benefit from that. But come spring, we got to get those leaves out of the bed. They are not going to decompose entirely and at that point they may start to create a barrier to moisture penetration. So come spring we are going to get those leaves out of the bed. And at that point they are to go in the composed pile where they can do some good. So, that's a bit about what to do with all these fallen leaves and next we will talk about mulching.