Many consider leaves to be a nuisance waste. However, used in the right places in the garden, it can be useful. Leaves are suitable for mulching and frost protection.
Leaves lying in the bed are very suitable for mulching. There it acts as an insulating layer, protecting plants from the cold. In addition, the covered soil does not dry out as quickly and weeds do not thrive well.
Leaves decompose into fertilizer
The foliage also decomposes slowly over the months by microorganisms in the soil and then acts as free fertilizer. In this way, nutrients are returned to the soil that are urgently needed the following spring. Provided the leaves are not affected by fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, they can also be added to the compost. However, oak and walnut leaves in particular rot very slowly and should not be composted in large quantities. Algal lime and compost accelerators help with the decomposition process.
Tip: If there are leaves on the lawn, you can collect and shred them directly when mowing – this way smaller amounts of oak and walnut can be composted well.
Frost protection for sensitive perennials
Foliage can also be used to protect cold-sensitive perennials. Drive four support sticks into the ground around the plant and attach a wire mesh to the sticks. Fill the space between the perennial and the wire mesh with foliage. Don’t pack the foliage too tightly, though, or it can start to mold when damp.
Use foliage to provide a winter home for beneficial insects
Piles of leaves in a corner of the garden are also ideal. Valuable beneficial insects are thus provided with a habitat that allows them to overwinter. Predatory mites, ladybugs, hedgehogs or even toads crawl into them.