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Seven Good Things to do with Your Leaves

Learn how to use your piles of leaves to care for your yard and garden this fall, and to love your leaves!

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  1. Mulch Mowing

Use your lawn mower to mulch your leaves and use the leaf mulch as fertilizer for your garden. Mulching mowers facilitate this by chopping the leaves into smaller pieces.

You can do the same thing with grass in the Spring. Returning clippings to the lawn will recycle nutrients to the soil and grass and also reduce waste.

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2. Winter Cover

Fall leaves can be used to insulate garden beds in the winter before decomposition, they will help keep moisture in, insulate plant roots, prevent soil erosion, and suppress weeds. As they gradually break down, they provide nutritional, soil-enriching goodness as a natural fertilizer.

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3. Lasagna Garden

Lasagna garden refers to the “layers” one creates using a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil. The layers of organic materials “cook down” over time, resulting in nutrient-rich soil that will help your plants thrive.

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4. Cover for bulbs and delicate plants

A thick layer of leaves provides additional insulation against bitter cold weather and can protect newly planted perennials. Plants will burst through the leaf cover in spring without trouble.

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5. Bag (or pile) to turn into leaf mulch

Bag or pile your leaves in your yard and they will decompose into mulch you can use in your garden beds. You can also build a leaf corral to hold the leaves and allow them to mature into compost, providing a rich fertilizer for future application. Learn how to DIY your own Leaf Corral!

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6. Use leaves to control weeds

A thick layer of leaves discourages weeds. For weeds or groundcovers strong enough to push up through the leaves, first place overlapping pieces of cardboard on the undesired plants, then use the leaves over top to hide the cardboard. Both will decompose over time.

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7. Fun! Decorations, Crafts & Play

Enjoy using leaves for fun decorations, crafts or play! Tell us how you use your leaves for fun by emailing

If you missed the Love Your Leaves workshop, you can watch the full recording on our YouTube channel.

This list is adapted from Morven Horticulturist and Master Gardener Louise Senior’s presentation at Morven Museum and Garden.

Visit the Yard section of our website to learn more sustainable landscaping tips!