Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Please Don't Toss the Leaves

It's the time of year when our oak trees totally transform themselves by shedding their entire canopy of leaves and regrowing a fresh new cover. Just think of all the energy it must take to complete this cycle. A really awesome and magnificent undertaking of nature in my opinion.

I'm fortunate to have 10 oaks (laurel, live and water) in my yard that create a great canopy of shade that I am especially grateful for during the summer months. With a good portion of leaves already off the branches we can see more sunlight and blue sky, and it's easy to spot squirrel and bird nests.

Many people get rid of their trees because they're messy and grass doesn't grow well beneath them. But I feel that their benefits far outweigh the falling leaves, as well as branches and moss that I pick up throughout the year.

As their leaves slowly float to the ground many end up in my flowerbeds as mulch. It's a real time-saver to have self-mulching flowerbeds. And, they're FREE! Which translated means - you can spend more money on plants when you don't have to buy mulch. These azaleas love oak leaf mulch.
And, then there are the ones that end up on the grass. That's where I come in. Every couple of days I go out and rake them into the flowerbeds. But most of my neighbors rake, bag and toss them to the curve.
And that's when I find myself (among protests from my embarrassed daughter) pulling over to the curb and quickly tossing a couple of bags into the back of my S.U.V. I have to agree with her that it is a little embarrassing but I just can't resist a bit more of free mulch especially when I didn't have to rake it.

By the way, I must confess that I come by this practice honestly. I actually never saw my mom snitch the neighbor's leaves on the curb. Instead she raked the neighbor's yard each spring and now she has beautiful garden soil. So, there we have it, another one of mom's ideas!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I don't blame you for having these big beautiful trees Susan. I would do the same thing right down to picking up the neighbors leaves.

Dani said...

We've always mulched with our leaves too. Seems like such a waste to just throw them out.

Anonymous said...

Gotta like free mulch, especially of the 'self-installing' variety! I don't blame you for using the neighbours' throw-aways either. :)

Susan said...

Lisa & Nancy...Thanks for not thinking I'm nuts for collecting the neighbor's leaves. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Dani...I'm glad to hear you use them instead of tossing them. It's so much easier to rake them into the flowerbeds instead of bagging them.

My Mother's Garden said...

Hi Susan~
The view through your Oak trees is gorgeous. I think it's a brilliant idea to collect those bags of leaves. Healthy and free mulch for your garden :)

Susan said...

My Mother's Garden...Yeah, you can't beat "free" mulch, especially these days!

Meems said...

You and me both... love the free mulch from the trees. I admit I don't pick leaves from the curb--but it is a good method.

My son brought me 7 (large) bags of leaves from his oak trees today. What a blessing! Right now my back yard is covered with them and I'm seeing new green sprouts all over the oaks.

I attribute all my rich soil to the oak leaves I've mulched for so many years.

Happy Sunday!

Susan said...

Meems...You, too, have self-mulching beds. Aren't they great? Even if we have to rake the leaves out of the yard at least we don't have to bag them.

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