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Oak leaves

Hello everyone.
I'm not sure if I've put this in the right category.
Just looking for a pointer in the right direction. I'll provide some info first.
I have a big oak tree on the boundary of the garden, which will eventually drop a load of leaves. At the moment I have no grass in the garden, as the previous owner had put down slabs, and artificial grass(I've since removed the artificial grass...not a fan of that stuff).
Last year, I dug over the whole ground, added well rotted manure(I have heavy clay soil), and planted shrubs, as I intend to create a wildlife/ cottage garden effect(I hope).

My question is, could I leave the leaves where they fall, or would that cause issues with the shrubs?. I believe a thick layer of leaves can damage grass, but seeing how I do not have any grass, then surely it shouldn't be a problem. 
I have sown some wildflower meadow seeds a while back, could the leaves prevent those from pushing through?

Many thanks.


  • AstroAstro Posts: 364
    edited November 2020
    I've been making /spreading leaf mulch this year ,it's widely thought as a great soil ammendment both for adding nutrients and improving soil texture. It's best to shred the leaves as they will break down faster and allow rain through.

    The leaves can also be put aside to break down over year or so for leaf mold.

    With regards to putting around shrubs my thinking is they will be good so long as they are not up around the stems which could cause rotting. With the wildflower seeds I wouldn't personally cover them it would suppress their growth.

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,311
    If it is a very thick layer they may dry out and create a thatch. If you can collect most of them up & put them in an open pen (chicken wire is ideal). Keep damp & make lovely leafmould, you can mulch your beds with this but be patient, leafmould can take up to 2 years to make & oak leaves are quite slow to rot down. Ideally "run them over" with a lawnmower before you set them to rot it will speed things up.
    AB Still learning

  • SueAtooSueAtoo DorsetPosts: 244
    As someone who has oak trees, pull up any oak seedlings when they're tiny, roots go down a long way. 3" seedling probably has 6" root !
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,569
    I'd leave the leaves under the shrubs, where they will provide a mulch, but remove them where you've sown the wildflower seeds - many seeds need light to germinate.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,923
    I'd agree with @Liriodendron. Oak leaves make lovely leaf mould, in my experience, but take a really long time, so if you can chop up the ones you gather it will help.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Many thanks for all the comments.
    It's helped greatly in pointing me in the right direction.

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