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Leaf mold

I have a number of different trees on my land, including plum, pear, apple, magnolia, pussy willow, silver birch, oak, walnut.  I diligently mow up as many leaves as l can to make leaf mold.  My question is: are there any particular leaves which have more nutrients, when composted, than others?  I wonder if l should be more selective in what l collect.  I do wonder whether oak leaves and walnut in particular, are worth the effort?

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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,263
    I have a couple of big oak trees. They take a couple of years to rot, but then produce something very similar to a nice soft peat.
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  • All the leaves seem to make good leaf mold, l am just wondering which ones produce the 'highest' quality as far as nutrients is concerned?
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,531
    Leaf mold does not really contain a high level of nutrients. Its purpose is to provide good soil structure.
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  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 771
    I've always assumed ALL leaf mould is good but, as you've made me think deeper, surely any difference in value will relate to what a particular species of tree needed for its growth?  So, as with all our flowers and veg, we feed the soil with what individual plants need and that arrives in a successful plant.  If we subsequently compost all or part of it, that goodness is returned?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 37,036
    As @punkdoc says - leaf mould is a conditioner for soil, not a feed.
    It improves the structure, and pretty much all leaves from deciduous trees will do that.
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  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 4,864
    @nick615, plants takes up the nutrients from the ground and those you feed it to create energy to grow and photosynthesise, by the time deciduous leaves have fallen off the tree they are essentially used up husks, hence of low nutritional value as others have said. Leaf mould, as well as improving/conditioning soil structure, it can be used in the mix for germinating seed, as they don’t need or want much nutrition at that tender stage. At least that’s how I understand it from my sketchy recall of plant biology. It’s really good stuff for my heavy alkaline clay anyhow.
  • punkdoc said:
    Leaf mold does not really contain a high level of nutrients. Its purpose is to provide good soil structure.
    To help me understand, what happens to leafmould in the long term?

    Does it turn into compost?

    I am thinking that the best stuff I have ever seen was a 25-30 year old build up of needles under the yew tree at our old house, which did magnificent things to a veg garden.

    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
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