Question about Leaf Litter


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Hello everyone.

I have a small garden bounded on 3 sides by trees and shrubs / bushes. Lots of green, lots of leaves that fall in the Autumn. That in itself is fine.. i usually just blow the leaves off the lawn under the "hedge" or mow them away depending on how late in the year or how wet it is. Now we haven't been in the house very long and this is the first garden I've had to really look after, so bear that in mind too.

The question is about the litter under the "hedge". Its June now and I can see as I type a tonne of it under there. I thought it was all supposed to like decompose over winter or something, or is that me just being a N00b. I cant really get to most of it anyway but feels like there is something I should be doing that I don't know about.
 
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Greatings chris,
Well here we go just a few Pointers to help you know just what a gold mine in "Leaves" not litter,
When i read the word litter i could see piles of dumbed bin bags/ old mattress etc,

What your calling litter is in fact natures compost adaptive commonly called Leaf mold,,
Now the actual plant food value is low in leaf mold but it is good in three very good ways

(A) it helps break down clay and dry soil (B) mulch around plants to help keep the moist in the ground and on hot days this can be a god send, & (C) the worms love it and worms are again natures way of getting air in the soil and worms also make compost.

Just look at the area around the tree were you found the ton of leaves and you'll not see many if any weeds growing !!!!

"Why" because not many plants "and weeds are plants just unwanted ones" will grow without light and this gold mine you've found is doing what mother nature wanted it to do, So one of a few ways to make gardening and weed control easier is to starve the weeds of light,

You,ve just doscovered one way to do this, the other one to keep weeds in control is the way i do it and thats keep 4inch of compost on top of the soil, I have a 2 acre garden and a lot of borders but do very little weeding in most of it due to these two ways of weed control;

Just to help you a little further but it is another "subject"
you'll see in garden centre's etc verious compost and one is called Seed compost
Now this Seed compost is very much like the gold mine leaf compost you've found in as much its food value as it stands is very low but seed compost is very light in weight and it wont retain a lot of moisture "hence the newly born seeds can push their way through the Seed compost and get to the light, seeds have their own food supply for a short time and once through this light covering need to be re-potted or fed,
So chris I hope this little lot has helped,
PS you've just entered the world of good healthy food/fruit growing .
 
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How long the leaves take to break down depends on what tree they come from. Evergreen leaves take longest of all. the majority of deciduous leaves take 2 to 3 years to turn into leaf mould. We leave some under the hedge as you have done, but a lot of them we add to the compost heap where they break down with all the other material. We also bag some of them up, so they can decompose into mould. There are plenty of articles on-line about making leaf mould.
 
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Thanks for the replies. I guess the answer is just leave it its all fine. I can't really compost we don't have the room, its literally hedge and lawn, the garden. I've had to scrabble to find room to plant some carrots with the little one. More if there was anything I should be doing to with it in place but leaving it seems the easiest and best thing to do.

ta
 
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I shred all my leaves into a fine texture equal to sand and they break down super fast. All my leaves stay in my yard and never goes anywhere. I use the mower to grind them finely, and they are like gold to me too.
 
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Ive an old cement mixer and i mix all kinds to make my own compost and leaves are an added extra, like you i think of them as garden gold
and the worms pull a lot of them down under the soil, all good stuff for the garden,
As ive said i do little weed control because of the 4inch compost put over all the exposed ground, The weeds "except those dropped via the passing birds" dont come through the soil "but should i have a need due to planting in this covered soil is always a good ph as this compost feeds the ground and the humus from all the worms just do's what nature has done for years and years ie feeds the trees etc,
If you take a walk through a forest and look at the base of the trees you'll not see a lot of weeds etc and these huge trees are being fed via their own leaves rotting down into a compost all helped via the worms pulling them down,
Ask yourself this "how many people ever feed their hedges etc ? " And why is it its a good idea not to plant to near a hedge ?
All because nature will feed hedges etc via the season and the leaf fall "but plants that are planted to near without the gardener feeding them dont have much chance of a food supply unless the grounds in good shape and trees do their own feeding to a degree by leaf fall/compost/worms and insects long befor humans came along?
We bring plants/bulbs etc from all parts of the world and plant them expecting them to grow like they did in lets say china and lets say we live in Scotland, the conditions are very different and really you have to know what your doing and what the plants /bulbs etc needs are
What im saying is dont waste your time/money until you understand gardening and the needs of your subjects,
Once you've cracked that part you'll have much more to be happy about.
 
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alp

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I totally agree with @oneeye! Gold dust you have there, but do shred them real fine with your lawnmower. I literally went to streets to collect them, and it's almighty embarrassing. You could even sell them as leaf mould which is precious to snowdrop growing.
 

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