Leaves can be a valuable source of nutrients for your yard and a great soil conditioner. So, this year, either mow them in place on the lawn with a mulching mower (yes, leave them right there!) or follow these easy steps to create your own ‘black gold’ (otherwise known as leaf mold or leaf compost).


Step 1—Collect and shred the leaves. There are several easy options for gathering leaves:

  • Rake them up, place them in a large trash can, and shred with a string trimmer inserted into the can. Be sure to wear eye protection if you do this!
  • Rake them into a pile and mow over them with a mulching mower. If you have a bag attachment, this will make clean-up much easier.
  • Vacuum them with a leaf blower with a bag attachment. Your neighbors may not appreciate the noise (be aware that some neighborhoods prohibit the use of lawn blowers) but it’s an effective way to collect and shred leaves.


Step 2—Store the leaves. Place the shredded leaves in a pile, in an empty trash can, in a bin, in a large bag – anything that will hold them and prevent them from blowing around. The Compost Sak from Smart Pots works exceptionally well for this but you can also use a circle of chicken wire, wooden palettes or a compost bin. Add a little water to moisten the pile (but don’t turn it into a soggy mess).


And that’s it. Just leave the pile until spring and you’ll have a plentiful supply of leaf mold to use as a mulch or soil amendment. If you’re feeling energetic, you can turn the pile periodically over the winter to aerate it and speed up the decomposition process.


For more information about what to do with fallen leaves, check out Leave Leaves Alone.