How to Recycle Autumn Leaves into Compost

Mulching is a natural way to build up soil and add nutrients, but if you let your leaves stay where they fall, they can create a natural habitat for pests and some diseases.

If you put your leaves in a compost pile, you may notice that many are still intact while the vegetable matter breaks down. This is because many leaves that fall during autumn contain a protein that rots by fungi instead of bacteria, causing leaves to take longer to break down.

The best way to make leaf mold is to separate it. Place all the leaves in a large black plastic bag, tie the bag closed, puncture it all over and store it for about a year.

And that’s how easy it is to make a free soil amendment — just make sure you give the pile enough time to break down!

Further Reading


  1. While the premise is sound, your results using this method will vary wildly. Do Not puncture your bags as you may/will get ant and other insect infestations. I shred my leaves with a mower and bag (sealed) for next years use in a compost tumbler throughout the entire summer as well as using them as a base before putting in any other soil or mulch in beds and gardens. As I empty the mower bag into the Large contractor brand trash bags I have found using an octagon cut scrap piece of granite on top each time, step in compress and remove. With this method I can put 8 or 9 mower bags of shredded leave int one bag. You can also use this as a mix with potting soil for your container gardens or plantings.


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