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Weekend Gardener: Don’t trash the fallen leaves that could be fertilizer

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:35 AM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - After you rake the yard this fall, don’t throw away the leaves: 75% of a tree’s nutrients are contained in there. That’s according to Skip Richter, the Brazos County horticulturist and Texas A&M AgriLife instructor.

“If you pay somebody to haul that away in a bag at curbside, you’re basically just renting fertilizer,” said Richter. He says you can take the leaves and grind them up instead for fertilizer for your garden, or, simply mow over them.

“So if you have a coarse texture Saint Augustine [grass], you can simply mow over them with a mulching mower, and they just disappear down into the grass onto the soil surface,” Richter said. For some other grass types, the leaves will need to be collected.

Furthermore, Richter says you can use the gathered leaves as fodder for your compost pile. You can also store bags of leaves for next year.

However you choose to use them, Richter calls the fallen leaves “nature’s own free, slow-release fertilizer”--not trash.

See the video for the full conversation.

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