© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Should The Leaves Go?

A thin layer of leaves on your lawn can help the soil and grass.
Aarthi Ramamurthy (Flickr)
Creative Commons
A thin layer of leaves on your lawn can help the soil and grass.

Fall is great for shuffling through layers of dried, fallen leaves. I love the smell, sound and feeling of the leaves underfoot. But leaves are also a great resource for your garden, lawn and yard. So, let's look at five ways to use those leaves in the garden.

On your lawn, it's best to leave the leaves. A thin layer of fallen leaves on the lawn can be chopped up with a mower and left to decompose. Earthworms and other soil creatures will chomp on the leaves helping create a healthier soil beneath the grass. Researchers have also found that chopped leaves left on the lawn reduces the incidence of dandelions on the lawn in spring.

Of course, if you have a thick layer of leaves left on the lawn, this may harm the grass. You may need to rake or bag some of them. Take those raked or shredded leaves and layer them in the garden on top of the vegetable and flowerbeds. They will slowly break down, feeding the soil.

If you still have extra leaves, make a leaf mold pile. This may not sound very attractive, but it's harmless and doesn't create a mess in the yard. Encircle the leaf pile with metal fencing and after a year or so, it will turn into useful compost for your garden and plants.

Finally, if you need to protect newly planted garlic, tender rose bushes or other perennials, use the chopped leaves as insulation piled around the plants in November. Just makes sure you use shredded leaves. Whole leaves will mat and can cause plants to rot.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content