Whatever method of leaf clean-up you choose, don’t push the leaves to the curb for pick-up. Think of fall leaves as garden gold. Leaf mold, or rotting leaves, is high in nutrients and adds organic matter to your soil. You can create leaf mold very easily by simply piling all your leaves and letting them sit for a year or so. The bottom of the pile will begin decomposing first and can be used as a soil amendment or mulch.
Shredded leaves can also be used as mulch. The leaves must be dry to shred, but moisten them immediately after mulching or the wind will carry them all back onto your lawn. Do not use un-shredded leave as they will mat together and form a dense layer that won’t allow water to pass through. This in return will not allow Mother Nature to irrigate your lawn or garden where the leaves are located and promote water runoff.
Both shredded and un-shredded leaves can be used as the ‘brown’ component in your active compost pile. As I mentioned above, dry leaves piled alone will eventually decompose into leaf mold which is a great type of compost. But combining dry leaves with green garden waste will result in an actively decomposing pile and will speed the process of the breakdown.
Some people pay big bucks for this type of compost but with a little bit of effort, you too can create your own lawn or garden compost.