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Leaf mulch?


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#1 Cybilopsin

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:22 AM

What do y'all think about the use of whole autumn leaves, exactly as they fall from the trees, as a mulch for garden beds? I'm talking perennial herbs and shrubs here, not a an annual veggie bed.

 

Where I am everyone buys bagged chipped bark for mulch (and they never apply enough for it to really do anything...).

 

My goal is to insulate plant roots, and when the spring hits, to have something there to retain moisture. Then as the leaves decompose next year, to add organic matter to the soil.

 

Of course it'll be hard to keep the leaves put in place until snow falls, or at least rain, since the wind blows them around pretty easily.


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#2 CatsAndBats

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:47 AM

The best mulch ever! So good for local perennials, creates all natural, chemical free, ecosystem for all the microbes, forest creatures, etc..
 
the bag mulches from the box store/s are dyed, contain root rot causing microbes, and are processed (waste energy in production).

Edited by catattack, 06 November 2015 - 11:55 AM.

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#3 Alder Logs

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:54 AM

Gotta rake up under the chestnut trees or no going barefoot next year.  Theys hulls is stickery.


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#4 CatsAndBats

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:56 AM

Gotta rake up under the chestnut trees or no going barefoot next year.  Theys hulls is stickery.

 

and sycamores 



#5 Myc

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 12:11 PM

Great idea and it works like a champ.

 

I use a leaf blower/ vacuum to reduce the particle size of the leaf material.

After the leaf material has been broken-down it tends to stay in place better.


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#6 Heirloom

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 12:52 PM

whole leaves , run though a leaf shredder. This way they stay where you put them, add water if you get no rain .

 sure whole leaves but, they do get blowed away.

just my 2 cents

 


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#7 Cybilopsin

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 02:13 PM

Great idea and it works like a champ.

 

I use a leaf blower/ vacuum to reduce the particle size of the leaf material.

After the leaf material has been broken-down it tends to stay in place better.

 

 

whole leaves , run though a leaf shredder. This way they stay where you put them, add water if you get no rain .

 sure whole leaves but, they do get blowed away.

just my 2 cents

 

 

I have (access to) a Craftsman "leaf blower/vaccuum". Can I use this to shred leaves, as Heirloom says? I agree that shredded leaves would work even better (for one thing, they might break down and enter the soil as organic matter/humus). I am confused about what kind of equipment i need for this, however. The machine I have says nothing about "shredding", but does have a "vacuum". How do I use this to "reduce particle size"?


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#8 happy4nic8r

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 02:31 PM

Does it have a bag attachment? I think it's pretty straightforward. Suck 'em up, and empty the bag.

 

They will put off a little heat when they first start decomp, and watch for competing mycelium when that is happening.

 

Keep them moist, and like you have said, they'll be good for next year.


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#9 Cybilopsin

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 05:04 PM

Does it have a bag attachment? I think it's pretty straightforward. Suck 'em up, and empty the bag.

 

Not sure... what would a bag attachment look like? I checked the Craftsman site but can't find the model I have. Its pretty old, more than a decade I'm guessing. Maybe a lot older.



#10 Myc

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 05:06 PM

I think your Craftsman tool should work fine.

 

I use a different manufacture but they appear to be the same thing.

http://www.amazon.co...ob_title_garden

 

When the vacuum feature is used, you are essentially using the large "snorkel" to suck up your leaf pile.

The whole leaf is reduced to small particles.

Sorry I wasn't more descriptive.

 

Heirloom, happy, and myself are all talking about the same tool and process.

 

https://mycotopia.ne...e-thread/page-2

Hyphaenation has used the tool we're talking about pretty extensively.


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#11 Myc

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 05:08 PM

[Direct Link]


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#12 Alder Logs

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 05:36 PM

I just saw the movie, Noise.  You all'z might like it too.


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#13 Cybilopsin

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 08:09 PM

With the vacuum setting on that thing, I wonder if one could forgo the bag if your intention was to use the shredded leaves in the same spot you found the whole leaves. Without the bag would the machine just poop the torn-up leaves out the back?

 

I just saw the movie, Noise.  You all'z might like it too.

 

Are you referring to the 2007 thriller about a cop with tinnitus? https://en.wikipedia...ustralian_film)


Edited by Cybilopsin, 06 November 2015 - 08:10 PM.


#14 Alder Logs

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:43 PM

No, it was the 2007 American film.  I just found it in a thrift store for three bucks.

 

Is that one from down under good?



#15 Myc

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 09:19 AM

With the vacuum setting on that thing, I wonder if one could forgo the bag if your intention was to use the shredded leaves in the same spot you found the whole leaves. Without the bag would the machine just poop the torn-up leaves out the back?

 

It will function but the ejected material is coming out pretty fast. 

You would need to wear safety goggles instead of just safety glasses.

I also strongly recommend hearing protection, gloves, protective boots, and a good dust mask while using this tool. 

 

I just linked the video because sometimes language just fails. That lady in the vid is NOT being safe - No safety goggles, no dust mask, no (visible) hearing protection, no protective foot wear (sorry ladies - "ugg boots" are just glorified house slippers), ........top all that off with no gloves.

Jeez - no wonder folks are injured using these kinds of things at home. Go figure.

This is a moving air stream which can achieve high velocity near 100 mph. The sound levels are in the 120dB range (rock concert levels). A stray particle can go straight through your eye or skin. 

 

Be safe. Read and follow all safety precautions. If the tool is obsolete and you cannot access operating instructions and all necessary guards and parts........

Perhaps it's time to retire the old unit.

 

 

Noise - LOL


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#16 pharmer

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:50 AM

When the shredder shreds it reduces volume by ten. Meaning ten bags of raked leaves will be reduced down to one bag.

 

Good luck controlling those little bits if there's even a breeze. And you're not likely to find the number of leaves right there in your garden to shred into the bagger and place around the area you've just shredded. And, using only the volume of leaves you've found right there, shredding them, and putting that volume on the ground probably won't stack up to the suggested level of 6 inches of mulch necessary to retard or prevent the germination and growth of most sun seeking garden nuisances.

 

I collect bags from the neighbors, take them to the place I garden, shred them there, and mix them 1:1 with grass clippings, wet it all down and VIOLA!!!  usually in six weeks, compost! Now we're talking about something good for your garden.

 

Also, oak leaves, for example are very good for around azaleas IIRC but  most definitely other acid lovers like rhododendrons love the acidic oak leaves. BUT many garden veggies will be hindered by the acidity in the affected soil when the leaves break down. So you'd do well to do some research about which kinds of leaves to put where. I know this is splitting hairs but little things make big differences in gardening. Try putting your seeds in the compost you've made with a teensy weensy little bit of mycorrhiza

and see the difference in speed of germination, overall vigor throughout the life of the plant.

 

But back to the topic of using bulk leaves as mulch..... this is exactly the right time of year here in the Great Lakes Ice Box to gather bags of leaves. Wet the leaves right in the (compostable) bags and store them 'til next spring. They'll start to decompose a bit and get sticky to each other. This will allow you to place them right where you want them and expect them to stay there. Also the fungal headstart on the leaves will be a hostile environment for nuisance seeds trying to germinate and start growing upward through the leaf mulch.

 

There's lots of good ways to leverage those leaves.


Edited by pharmer, 08 November 2015 - 08:56 AM.

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#17 CatsAndBats

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:16 AM

When the shredder shreds it reduces volume by ten. Meaning ten bags of raked leaves will be reduced down to one bag.

 

Good luck controlling those little bits if there's even a breeze. And you're not likely to find the number of leaves right there in your garden to shred into the bagger and place around the area you've just shredded. And, using only the volume of leaves you've found right there, shredding them, and putting that volume on the ground probably won't stack up to the suggested level of 6 inches of mulch necessary to retard or prevent the germination and growth of most sun seeking garden nuisances.

 

I collect bags from the neighbors, take them to the place I garden, shred them there, and mix them 1:1 with grass clippings, wet it all down and VIOLA!!!  usually in six weeks, compost! Now we're talking about something good for your garden.

 

Also, oak leaves, for example are very good for around azaleas IIRC but  most definitely other acid lovers like rhododendrons love the acidic oak leaves. BUT many garden veggies will be hindered by the acidity in the affected soil when the leaves break down. So you'd do well to do some research about which kinds of leaves to put where. I know this is splitting hairs but little things make big differences in gardening. Try putting your seeds in the compost you've made with a teensy weensy little bit of mycorrhiza

and see the difference in speed of germination, overall vigor throughout the life of the plant.

 

But back to the topic of using bulk leaves as mulch..... this is exactly the right time of year here in the Great Lakes Ice Box to gather bags of leaves. Wet the leaves right in the (compostable) bags and store them 'til next spring. They'll start to decompose a bit and get sticky to each other. This will allow you to place them right where you want them and expect them to stay there. Also the fungal headstart on the leaves will be a hostile environment for nuisance seeds trying to germinate and start growing upward through the leaf mulch.

 

There's lots of good ways to leverage those leaves.

You could also use highly acidic leaves around blueberries, I use entire conifer branches around mine.



#18 Myc

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:23 AM

I like your style Pharmer.

 

At first, my neighbor looked at me funny as he was vacuuming up his leaves - as I was looking over the back fence drooling.

He laughed his ass off because he didn't feel like dealing with all that leaf mulch. I'm sure he was thinking "sucker" (just kidding - but y'know).

Meanwhile, as he hands over all of that volume of leaf mulch........

He pays a lawn service to mow, and fertilize...................I just water periodically.

Sucker?

 

I also stopped catching my grass when it is mowed. It may look messy, but I let it go to seed at least once a year prior to mowing. If an area of the yard gets "thin", I just bag a swath or two and spread it on the effected area. 

 

Next year, I am planting lettuce - smack into the lawn - where all of those "nuisance" dandelions grow. I did a test with some volunteer zinnias this year and they loved the arrangement.

 

I just look at nature. Observe and copy.

With no mankind present to alter a single thing, where does the leaf fall? Where does the left-over plant skeleton go when it's live-cycle is over?

The plant gives back to the soil what it borrowed for the year - plus some accumulated sunshine - by  falling where it stood.


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#19 CatsAndBats

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:41 AM

I like the cut of your jib! Good stuff.

 

I can't grow edibles in my yard (the lawn) as my terrier mix impedes it.


Edited by catattack, 08 November 2015 - 10:42 AM.


#20 Alder Logs

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:47 AM

I can't grow edibles in my yard (the lawn) as my terrier mix impedes it.

 

What do you expect with a breed named after dirt?


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