Leaf mold

Leaf mold

Leaf mold is a form of compost produced by the breakdown of shrub and tree leaves.

Due to the slow decaying nature of their lignin (cellulose) content, autumn leaves break down far more slowly than most other compost ingredients, and therefore should be composted separately. This can be achieved either by placing the collected leaves in plastic bags (taking care to avoid collecting from areas that may be subject to high levels of pollution, e.g., roadsides), or in specially-constructed wire bins. To accelerate the breakdown process it is advisable to keep the leaves wet and avoid the drying effects of wind. The traditional wire enclosure may slow down the process by allowing the contents to dry out unless it is lined with cardboard or similar material.

Leaves alone take between one and two years to break down into rich humic matter with a smell reminiscent of ancient woodland. While not high in nutrient content, leaf mold is an excellent bulky and fibrous soil conditioner. To speed up the decomposition process, fallen leaves can be shredded, for instance by using a rotary lawn mower. Adding fresh grass clippings to autumn leaves will also speed the process. For best results watch the pile to keep moisture content high enough, observe temperatures, and turn the pile occasionally to improve the cycle.

ee also

*Container composting
*German mound
*High fibre composting
*Worm compost
*Spent mushroom compost
*Sheet composting


* [http://www.compostguide.com/using_leaves_for_composting.html Using leaves for composting] at CompostGuide.com
* [http://www.paghat.com/leafmold.html Leaves & Leaf Mold, nature's mulch & top-coating] at The Garden of Paghat

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_makeleafmould1.shtml BBC Gardening How to Make Leaf Mould]
* [http://www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk/html/compost_leaf.asp Waste Aware Scotland Leaf Mould]
* [http://www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk/index.php?art_id=514 Leaf Mould for Beginners]
* [http://www.greenfingers.com/articledisplay.asp?id=347 Green Fingers How to Make Leaf Mould]
* [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rachel_aitch/RTG/leaf.html Rachel the Gardener's Leaf Mould Tips and Hints]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • leaf mold — leaf′ mold n. 1) bot a compost or layer of soil composed chiefly of decayed leaves 2) fng any mold that forms on leaves • Etymology: 1835–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • leaf mold — n. 1. a rich soil consisting largely of decayed leaves 2. a mold that forms on leaves …   English World dictionary

  • leaf mold — noun soil composed mainly of decaying leaves • Syn: ↑leaf mould, ↑leaf soil • Hypernyms: ↑mold, ↑mould * * * noun 1. or …   Useful english dictionary

  • leaf mold — noun Date: 1842 1. a compost or layer composed chiefly of decayed leaves 2. a mold or mildew that affects foliage …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • leaf mold — a compost or layer of soil consisting chiefly of decayed vegetable matter, esp. leaves. Also, leafmold. [1835 45] * * * …   Universalium

  • leaf mold — noun a) Decomposed or composted remains of leaves. b) Soil consisting principally of layers of decomposed leaves …   Wiktionary

  • Mold (disambiguation) — Mold or mould may refer to: In natural science: Mold or mould, a kind of fungus Slime mold or mould, a kind of protist Water mold or mould, or oomycete, a kind of protist Leaf mold or mould, composted soil or earth, particularly loose soil… …   Wikipedia

  • leaf mould — BrE leaf mold AmE n [U] dead decaying leaves that improve soil …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • leaf mould — noun soil composed mainly of decaying leaves • Syn: ↑leaf mold, ↑leaf soil • Hypernyms: ↑mold, ↑mould * * * leaf mould or leaf soil noun Earth formed from decayed leaves, used with soil as a compost for plants …   Useful english dictionary

  • leaf soil — noun soil composed mainly of decaying leaves • Syn: ↑leaf mold, ↑leaf mould • Hypernyms: ↑mold, ↑mould * * * noun see leaf mold 1 * * * leaf mould or …   Useful english dictionary

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