Is it beneficial to leave the leaves on the ground during winter?

March 10, 2010

I mulched over the winter with leaves. I read that leaves are good for the soil, so should I leave them on the ground and them cover them with my wood chip mulch, or rake them out and dispose of them?

 Dear Janelle,
You can top dress with wood chip mulch or remove the composting leaves before applying the mulch.  The choice is yours.  I also use leaves from my maple trees as winter mulch around my perennials and shrubs.  I remove the leaves around my perennials to allow some airflow to the new growth, and then I apply wood chips to the area.  Around my shrubs I put the wood chips over the leaves.  I also rake up the pine needles from under my evergreens and mulch around my azaleas, ferns and blueberries with them.  Whatever you decide, don’t forget to add some pre-emergent weed killer to prevent new weeds germinating around your
flowers and shrubs.

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