How to Make Leaf Mold Mulch

Let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty, and get our hands dirty

We have mentioned leaf mold mulch in an earlier post, How to Prepare your Garden for Winter. But what exactly is leaf mold mulch? And how does it help your garden? We’re glad you asked! Let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty, and get our hands dirty.


Every gardener knows how pesky those heavy, wet fall leaves can be. And they can be dangerous to your plants. But, what if we told you, you can recycle those leaves that fall from the surrounding trees to protect your plants instead? Put simply, leaf mold mulch is wet, decaying leaves that add key nutrients to your soil. Not only does it feed your plants, but it protects them during harsh winter months by providing insulation, keeping rodents at bay and it even kills weeds.


Making your own batch of Leaf Mold Mulch is easy. There are a few ways to go about doing it. If you are a mellow gardener, you can pile damp leaves in a sheltered area (out of the way, of course, so as not to be an eyesore) and leave them for two years. If you’re more of a Go-Getter Gardener, you can place wet chopped up leaves in a designated caged off area using chicken wire, turning the pile occasionally to make sure everything decomposes consistently. Whatever your way is, be sure to make a large enough batch for multiple uses.


Good work, fellow gardener! Now that you have your leaf mold match ready, it’s time to put it to good use! There are many applications for leaf mold. You can use it as Peat Substitute, as a moisture-retaining mulch during the dry summer months (especially good for perennials and vegetables), and as a soil conditioner. When you are using it for protecting your plants during winter, it acts as a nutrient rich soil conditioner and insulator. Because winter is coming sooner than we would like, let’s take a look at how you would apply leaf mold to your winterized garden:

  • After a freeze choose the plants in which you wish to conserve in your garden
  • Create a fence around the plant
  • Spread mixture over the plants within the enclosed areas
  • Monitor the areas of application
  • Aerate periodically
  • The leaf mold mulch should completely decompose come late spring and summer—then it’s time to make more!

Samantha Arnold is a professional writer for Taravella's Hydro Turf, a Denver-based full-service landscape contractor. 

See also:
Strategic Tips for April Gardening
A Gardener's Garden
Tips for Enjoying Your Garden

Categories: Landscaping & Gardening