Leafmould is free, easy to make, natural and makes a great mulch. All it takes is a few hours collecting leaves and 2 years for nature to do the rest…
Uses of Leafmould
Leafmould under two years old
Use as a mulch, soil improver, autumn top-dressing for lawns, or winter covering for bare soil.
Leafmould over two years old
Use as seed or potting compost. For the latter, mix with equal quantities of sharp sand, garden compost and good quality soil.
Should I mulch Hedges and Hedging Plants?
Yes! A properly applied mulch can do no harm – and bring many benefits. Mulching:
- Helps moisture retention in summer
- Suppresses weeds
- Improves soil texture
- Deters certain pests
- Protects roots from extreme temperatures
- Encourages beneficial soil organisms
- Looks good
How do I apply a mulch?
Simply follow these tips:
- Organic mulches need to be between 5cm and (best) 7.5cm thick
- Always weed and water the area before mulching
- Mulch must never touch stems or trunks. Resist the temptation of what the Americans call ‘volcano mulching’ – piling up mulch around a trunk
- Mulch specimen hedging plants (Beech, Yew, Hornbeam etc.) to the radius of their canopy
- As a mulch is a water barrier as well as a water retainer, you will need to apply extra water
- If your mulch turns into a hardened layer, gently break it up with a garden fork
When do I apply mulch to Hedges and Hedging Plants?
Mulches for any plants are best applied from mid- to late spring and autumn, when the soil is moist and warm. It is best to avoid applying mulches in winter and early spring as the soil is too cold, and in summer, when it will be dry. They can be applied around new plantings or to established beds and specimen plants.
This brings us back to leafmould. If you have relatively few fallen leaves in your garden, they can be used as an instant mulch, though whether they stay where you place them is another matter. Rake them under a hedge or place them around specimen plants as described above. This layer (and it should just be a layer no more than three or four leaves thick) will be appreciated by wildlife; offer a degree of protection for the roots over winter; help keep weeds down and provide the plants with extra nutrients come the spring.