Torn between raking or not? When should you leave your leaves? All leaves are not alike, so look at the factors at hand and choose an efficient leaf recycling solution.

First off, keep leaves out of the crotch of shrubs and perennials to avoid rot.

If you don’t mind the look of your leaves and they are wet enough to stay put, you can leave them to protect the root zone of existing plants. Slugs love to hide out in leaf mulch, so an application of slug control is a good idea.

If you’re not into a leafy look, you can remove and compost the leaves.  Then, apply an appropriate mulch or compost for winter plant protection.

Some people shred and layer leaves in bins for composting. Simply layering leaves in beds or making piles mixed with manure can create a worm heaven. Cardboard and leaves can even stifle unwanted grass and weed seeds.

Be aware that some leaves can be toxic. (Ex. Black walnut – Juglans nigra). Some leaves are also more acidic than others. Diseased leaves are not desirable, so discard them to prevent the spread of infection.

Now get out there and start leafing around!

Article was written by landscaping expert Heidi Branchesi of Chezem Creek Gardens & Heidi’s Timely Gardening Tips. Find more of her gardening tips in the Expert Advice section of our YOG:Blog.