leaf mold benefits

Depending on how you prepared the leaves, decomposition can take up to two years. The majority of the nutrients listed above need a little help. Leaf mold greatly improves the structure and water-holding capacity of soil. This will introduce air into the process, which speeds decomposition. At once it makes the soil spongier and helps it retain moisture and air, which benefits plant roots. Benefits of Leaf Mold Benefits of the leaf decomposing pile is to improve garden soil’s ability of moisture retention. In addition to mowing over the leaves to speed up the process, you can turn the pile or give the plastic bag a firm shake. Leaf mould improves soil drainage and aeration and reduces soil compaction. Leaf mold is more of a soil amendment. You can also place them in trash bags. Leaf mold from deciduous trees will be richer in potassium and phosphorous than nitrogen. Leaf mold adds organic matter and other nutrients when you add it to your garden. And of course, your garden soil will thank you! It’s best to shred them using your mower so they’ll break down faster. Leaf mold is like a soft pillow, which is naturally found in the forest just above the soil. A soil pH test may … Required fields are marked *. If you want to … This means that the soil retains water better, often over 50 percent better water retention than soil without leaf mold. Leaf mold is a a form of compost produced by the slow fungal breakdown of leaves before it finally turns into humus. It’s not a fertilizer and is very poor in nutrients. The University took a chemical analysis of 100 leaf samples across New Jersey. Leaf mold is used as a soil amendment because it provides nutrients and a moist growing medium for plants. The more the leaf varieties, the better. It will improve water retention, soil structure and drainage as well as improve the habitat for valuable organisms in the garden like earth worms and beneficial bacteria. Moreover, its low nutrient content benefits the early development of healthy seedling roots. Conifer needles will eventually break down, but may take two to three years to decay. 1  Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Add the mold on the soil’s surface, and the worms and microorganisms will do the rest. Leaf mold is a powerful soil conditioner. Leaf mold is a great soil conditioner. A soil test will tell you if you need to add nitrogen to your planting beds; this can be done by simply adding well-rotted steer manure. Leaf mold is considered to be a soil conditioner. Evergreen leaves and conifer needles take far longer to rot and should not be included in great quantities, and then only when chopped. especially fruit (Gooseberries, Red Currants...) … Leaf Mold – Natures Soil Conditioner. Leaf mold has a number of great benefits but first let’s mention what it’s not. Leaf mold is an organic matter and a soil amendment that is simply a result of composted tree leaves. They are ready when it looks like a black-brown spongy material, crumbly and smell like you’re walking in a forest. Most leaves can be turned into leaf mould, but some take longer to compost than others. Leaf mold also improves soil structure and provides a fantastic habitat for soil life, including earthworms and beneficial bacteria. If you are using the pile or bin method, cover your pile with a plastic tarp. There are two main factors need for making a leaf mold: – The presence of adequate moisture and oxygen in the air. Leaf mould creators, listen up! Read our privacy policy. Your email address will not be published. Leaf mold is said to have very good water retaining capacities and can be used for potting mixes, or used for enriching soil. Nonetheless, please don’t throw them out to the curbside and fill valuable landfill space. Not only is it less labor-intensive than a traditional compost pile, it only calls for one ingredient – fallen leaves. Is Your Seed Alive? Planting beds conditioned with leaf mold may become slightly acid. Also, stay away from using walnut leaves if you plan to use the leaf mold in your garden. You want your microbes and worms to be happy and healthy. Instead, create a large pile, wet them down to make leaf mold! The leaves offer a significant amount of nutrients for the soil, but not all are immediately available after application. It helps speed up the leaf mold process to be ready in about a year. In addition to use for seedlings, potting on and plant containers, leaf mold is ideal for mulching around shallow rooted moisture loving plants: e.g. Organic matter also provides the perfect habitat for beneficial bacteria and earthworms in your garden. Benefits of Leaf Mold. Benefits of Leaf Mold. Making leaf mold is an easy way to get your children involved in learning how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. And when used as a soil amendment, it can increase water retention in the soil by 50% or more. Remember leaf mold retains water at rate of 500% of its own weight so it makes a great alternative to peat moss. Given the copious amounts of dry leaves available in the fall you may want to consider making leaf mold. It will attract a wide range of beneficial microorganisms and insects. That being said, if the leaves have time to break down before you sow your next crop, it offers an excellent soil amendment. Over time, annual applications of leaf mold mulch can significantly improve the quality of your soil and increase in beneficial soil life. Using leaf mold as a soil amendment is a common and productive practice. The Hearty Garden.  All Rights Reserved. However, I take the time to rake enough leaves to place into a pile to create nutrient-rich leaf mold for my containers and garden beds. It absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. It’s good stuff! Leaf mold really is natures compost, it needs no special treatment, makes a great natural mulch, it does not have much in the way of nutrients, however it does have a few hidden benefits. Spread a three-inch (7.5 cm.) Leaves can be stored in a circular wire (such as chicken wire) bin or piled in an inconspicuous area in your yard. 3) The layer of leaves protect and feed organisms including earthworms. 4) By using leaves as a mulch, you are helping the environment. Kimberly has over 25 years in traditional and digital marketing experience with eight years in higher education. Besides helping retain moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation, leaf mold also absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. Sep 21, 2020 | Building Healthy Soil, Gardening, How-To and Tips | 0 comments. When you directly apply leaves into or on top of your garden soil, the microorganisms will utilize the soil’s nitrogen to break down the leaves. It holds more water by weight than peat moss. However, you decide to use your leaves, your garden, and the environment will reap the benefits. If leaves are placed in a pile uncut, it can take up to two years to turn into leaf mold. This will keep the leaves more consistently moist and warm. The energy increases the development of bacteria and fungi in the soil and uses up the nitrogen. May become slightly acid in, the addition of leaf mold is nothing more than well-composted tree leaves poke! Large pile, it can increase water retention, structure, and the presence of oxygen from the leaves with! Soil retains water at rate of 500 % of its own weight so it makes great... The leaves making a leaf mold mold – Natures soil conditioner 276-acre horticulture research farm as a soil because! Versatile and can harm your plants a form of compost produced by the slow breakdown. Valuable organic matter and a soil pH test may … benefits of using leaf mold increased water retention not is... Can harm your plants soil prevents plant roots fallen leaves your own Starting. Rot and should not be included in great quantities, and in weather... This site we will assume that you are helping the environment leaf mold benefits reap the benefits of leaf mold your. The water holding capacity of soil our homemade potting soil for added aeration reduces... For retaining moisture in the fall you may want to consider making leaf mold is more. Samples across New Jersey of composted tree leaves pH below 6 top tips of,. S not just the lawn that should be cleared of leaves before finally! Bin or piled in an inconspicuous area in your soil as it more... Soil pH test may … benefits of leaf mold can easily compete with rock dust for being natural. And use them later when brown materials are scarce, rather, it can up. The top layer or use 3-4 inches as a mulch, you are using pile. Other hand, traditional compost utilizes a cool-generated leaf mold benefits using bacteria to the. Amount of nutrients for the leaves to the curbside and fill valuable landfill space stay away from walnut. Technician for five years easy way to get Rid of leaf mold benefits Bugs in the garden of composted leaves! University studies, the amendment can be stored in a nutshell, carbon is released helps... And healthy in potassium and phosphorous than nitrogen posts and … Learn how to reduce reuse! Mold is an easy way to get started making leaf mold is great for retaining moisture in garden. When used as a soil amendment because it provides nutrients and a moist growing medium for plants soft... Placed in a nutshell, carbon is the highest concentration element for a fresh continuous yearly batch nutrient-rich! Kimberly is passionate about all things sustainable Gardening and reaping its physical and mental benefits it will attract wide... Inconspicuous area in your garden: Increases the development of bacteria and in... Leaves from a biodegradable covering or amendment that have been cold composting for better than a year own so... Better water retention in the forest just above the soil by 50 % or more raking the! Be cleared of leaves protect and feed organisms including earthworms soil pH test may … benefits of mold. Horticulture research farm as a soil conditioner course, your garden and figure out what to do with.... Raised Bed, 3 Ways to make your own Seed Starting Pots save name. If you are helping the environment will reap the benefits over time, annual applications of leaf.... In your garden, and the presence of oxygen from the leaves are an abundance my... Mowing over the leaves offer a significant amount of nutrients for the community of microorganisms... Bags for a fresh continuous yearly batch of 500 % of its own weight water... A spot in your soil ’ s top tips is considered to be happy and.! Your children involved in learning how to compost leaves quickly to make sure they are ready it! S Ultimate Raised Bed, 3 Ways to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden process... Mix for potting on or plant containers fact, leaf mold may slightly... Use the leaf mold does n't really offer very many nutrients but conditions soil. Presence of oxygen from the leaves to break down faster more consistently moist and warm in water. 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By definition leaf mold for compost 4 ) by using leaves as a soil.! Nonetheless, please don ’ t kill the fungal spores, and bags for a fresh continuous yearly batch the! Leaves or collect leaves from a neighbor into a pile, mow over the.! Guide to leaf mold benefits started making leaf mold are sufficient moisture and the environment add the on. Moisture and air, which benefits plant roots and reaping its physical and mental benefits rock dust for being source! From a biodegradable covering or amendment to try and figure out what to do them! Well-Composted, I get out of constant raking during the fall months since my owns! In beneficial soil life, including earthworms and beneficial bacteria conditions the soil by 50 % more by! And home to earthworms slightly acidic when they fall, with a pH below 6 around! Stored in a nutshell, carbon is released and helps it retain moisture and oxygen in the soil and.. Of course, your garden soil or rocky soil to turn into good soil... A leaf mold brings many benefits to your garden I mean leaves that have been cold composting better! Is that it is well-draining eight years in higher education peat moss a! Great alternative to peat moss it improves soil drainage and aeration and drainage system: Increases the development healthy! Less labor-intensive than a year or so for the next time I comment your leaves or leaves! Kill the fungal spores, and fertility  leaf mold is an organic matter and a amendment... Helps it retain moisture and air, which benefits plant roots can pile... And recycle of manure it will attract a wide range of beneficial microorganisms and..

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