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Talkback: Making leaf mould

I have a eucalyptus tree that is growing in a neighbours garden that is soooo massive it overhangs the end of my garden. The main problem is all the leaves and bark that it drops everywhere all year round. Can anyone tell me if I can compost these leaves and bark or if they will make leaf mould. Not sure how they will break down as they seem to last forever. Thanks.


  • Oh, we laughed out loud at : “These creatures make a great soil conditioner when dead…” even though it is a sobering thought.
  • Makes great leafmould after a year or two in black plastic bags, Mrs. Panda. But I leave a lot under the tree for the fungi to break down and grew beautiful ferns in it. The larger bits of pink bark can be crumbled up and make great mulch for a path in my woodland walk.
  • Oh, and a few of the long leaves in the compost would soon go but not too many.
  • Nice tips Kate. I make leafmould with leaves raked off the lawn but sometimes top up with leaves from under my hedge. I’ll keep an eye out now for bugs and hogs
  • I agree wholeheartedly re concreting or otherwise front gardens, not only from a wildlife point of view but the wholesale waste of rain water. We are being repeatedly told not to waste water but I have never seen any mention of this waste.
  • I have been clearing the leave’s off the grass I wont call it lawn,With two golden retrievers there’s not much lawn left,only to be told by Mrs Old chippy too through them away and not make leaf mould and also clear under all the bushes ,when I told her to read this blog, She replied that she is not interested in biodiversity,I walk the dogs on Banstead Downs Golf course and there have been large number’s of mushroom’ there for some month now.
  • So glad biodiversity is strong in your household, old chippy. Certainly diversity of opinion on what to do with the leaves. Better not tell Mrs Old chippy that I rate being too tidy as the eighth deadly sin. Perhaps that is being too diverse.
  • Leafmould always has a special musty smell – our (now very few) leaves go on the compost heap and the compost is excellent. We used to have many sycamores which produced loads of leafmould which rotted down more quickly if packed in black sacks and left a year or two. There are always lots of beasts in the compost, beetles, slugs, worms and others overwinter there.
  • I wonder if anyone has noticed an increase in the number of mushrooms – we have them growing in our lawn in great numbers, lots of different sizes, some very small. I wish I were brave enough to identify them and have them for breakfast but not willing to take the chance!
  • Yes, midgelet, there are loads of fungi – great sheets of them at the Bristol University Botanic Garden. I have lived a long time but have never seen as many before. The weather conditions must have been just right for them. You are wise to be cautious about eating them, but you can go on identification courses. The button mushrooms in my garden are the result of using mushroom compost!
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