Flower beds - leave leaves?

shebeest(7)November 22, 2010


Would you recommend removing fallen leaves (mainly oak trees, also black walnuts) from flower beds now or removing them pre-spring.

I removed them all last year prior to winter and some of my plants didn't seem to do as well this year. Probably no connection, but never hurts to ask.

Would the mulch affect, plus nutrients from them be beneficial or is it best just to get them off now.

The beds have hydrangea and hosta mainly.



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hi susan, i'm gonna throw my .02 in. i've always left the leaves stay where they fall. mine are pecan and mulberry. i do that because that's what my father did. i have no idea whether it's right or wrong, so, i'm looking forward to hearing what others have to say about it. :)


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I blow leaves from the yard into the hosta bed and leave them there until spring. They don't break down but they do provide insulation for the hosta roots. In spring I rake them off before the plants emerge. Does it help? I don't know, but it obviously doesn't hurt.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:11PM
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Thanks to both of you. Looks like I will leave them on. Seemed like a good idea, but wanted to check it out just in case. I'll see if anyone says it would be bad - otherwise leaves stay until spring. :)

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:20PM
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It depends on what type of leaves you have. In my experience, oak leaves are fairly slow to break down and thus you may create a mat of leaves over the top of the bed, which would be bad. If it were my garden, I would rake up the leaves, shred them with the lawnmower or leaf shredder, and then spread them over your beds. The earthworms will love the cover of leaves and they will break down and add organic matter and nutrients into the soil much faster.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 11:46AM
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That certainly is another option if you have the means to shred them. That way you don't have to rake them off in the spring and they can break down in place. Of course, that also depends on how many leaves we are talking about.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 12:49PM
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I leave mine (Oak mostly) until spring and then rake them out when the daffs start putting up. I leave them on beds that have hydrangeas, hollies, hostas, azaleas, and ferns mostly with some spring bulbs (hyacinths in addition to daffs).

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 3:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Since we mostly have oaks, I do what Matt says.....I rake leaves out of the beds, chop them up with the mower, and rake them back onto the beds. Chopped/shredded leaves also tend to stay in place better than larger leaves when are more prone to go airborne, at least at my house.

Being in an area prone to winter/spring wildfires, I want my leaves to break down as much as possible before the fire season officially begins in late winter since partially decomposed leaves are less likely to burn than whole, intact ones. (That might not be a problem for those of you who have good winter rainfall, but at our house, our rainfall is very poor in Dec.-Jan.-Feb.)


    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 4:13PM
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