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What nutrients do leafs add to the soil - mulching

 

What nutrients do leafs add to the soil?  If I do someone like composted wood bark, some grass clippings and dried hazel leafs (at the moment I've got lots of dried hazel leafs but in the future it would be any leafs that enter the garden) would that add more nutrients and organic matter to the soil as a pose to regular composted bark?      Basically what I mean is, if I added dried seaweed I would be able to find the micro and macro nutrients of it, and the same applies to many other things people choose to add to soils, but what about dried leafs? Do these add or encourage beneficial things to the soil? (I.e. worms, good bacteria, good fungi, beneficial bugs and insects to break it all down)    The leafs are dried and when scrunched up they fall apart very easily, the grass clippings are there to simply add some no3 just in case the leafs remove some from the top soil and all of this is being used as a mulch, thank you
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  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    I'm not sure I understand everything you've said up there Chris, but the main use of dead leaves is as a mulch to reduce water evaporation from the soil and add organic matter.  They need to be left in a fairly wet heap for a year to rot, ideally, forming leaf mould.  The nutrient level is pretty low and they really just help the soil structure, and they do help the earthworm population and encourage the helpful bacteria.

  • Chris MasonChris Mason Posts: 159

    Basically what's happening I'm doing is clearing and tidying up an unused area of the garden to make way for compost bins, a leaf mold pile etc, so at the moment I don't have the capabilities to make a leaf pile. Basically it would be a bite of a pity to throw away the remaing bite of the hazel I cut down, especially when I've already reused the vast majority of it, basically what I'm asking is, would it benifit the plants directly (releasing nutrients into the ground) or indirectly (worms- and all the benifits that come with them)? I'm terrible at using technology so please forgive me if you still don't understand ;3 

  • Chris MasonChris Mason Posts: 159

    It's basically I either burn all of the leafs and branches or atempt to recycle them...

    Even if it benifits the soil a tiny bit it would still be a better option than a bomb fire..

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Definitely - spread the leaves as a mulch rather than burn them.  They'll get wet when it rains and rot down eventually, feeding the beasties in the soil.

    The twigs and branches, however, can go on the bonfire.  Once the ash is cold, and before it gets rained on, collect it up into  a container, keep it dry over the winter and spread it around fruit bushes or flowering shrubs early next spring.  It contains a fair bit of potash which helps flowering.

  • Chris MasonChris Mason Posts: 159

    At the moment a lot of the twigs are being stolen by the wood pigeons ha ha, next year thought I'll do it properly, thank you for you help image 

     

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    You're welcome - it's what we're all here for image  Good luck

     

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,289

    It's all a learning curve Chris image

    The other option with the leaves is to put them in black bin bags. Wet them first and poke a few holes in the bags. Leave them in  a corner and they'll rot down over winter for using next spring.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 80,451
    Fairygirl wrote (see)

    It's all a learning curve Chris image

    The other option with the leaves is to put them in black bin bags. Wet them first and poke a few holes in the bags. Leave them in  a corner and they'll rot down over winter for using next spring.

    That's what we do, and any that haven't rotted down by spring go into the compost heap.

    But don't forget to leave some piles of dry dead leaves in quiet corners for the hedgehogs to build their hibernaculums with - gardens shouldn't be too tidy image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Glad to hear that, Dove.  You should see my yard.

  • Chris MasonChris Mason Posts: 159

    I absolutely agree! A some of the dead leaves in my garden are simply thrown under the bushes, I've got lots of long grass, log piles (5 log piles and one log wall) dead stems that I doubt I'll ever tidy away etc, any apples that fall in my garden are thrown aside and so on, "tidiness is an wildlife enemy" + for me any mulch that hasn't broken down is thrown in a bucket and mixed with fresh stuff. + behind my garden is a large park, there's lots and lots of leafs under the hedges- the black birds love it!

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