compiled by Jack Burkhalter
Dry leaves on your garden’s soil are free and feed the soil! With the crisp days and cooler temperatures leading us to think of “fall clean-up,” in our gardens, consider a different approach this year. Fall’s brown leaves are rich sources of carbon and nutrients for your garden, and they are FREE!
Just rake them up off the garden paths and spread them over your garden (about 2 inches).
These dead leaves enrich your soil by --
- – Providing a natural mulch
- – Insulating the soil to retain water and protect against damaging freezes
- – Feeding micro-organisms, insects, fungi that decompose
Be gentle with cutting back plants over the winter.
Leave dead-flower stalks over the winter. Leave neat brush & twig piles.
Keep dead plant stems intact in your garden over the winter. Get rid of messy plastic bags and simply leave piles of twigs, branches, or logs in your garden (slightly messy or neatly arranged!).
Dead woody material (a branch, twigs, leaves) provide abundant habitat for cavity-nesting pollinators, such as carpenter and mason bees.
- Leave dead stems intact over the winter and into the summer
- Good stem bee homes (pithy stems are best):
--Joe Pye weed, Hyssop,
--Native grasses, e.g., switchgrass, little and big bluestem
With a gentle clean up we can let the fireflies and certain butterflies and moths stay in the garden to be alive next spring!