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How to put your leaf litter to good use

A leaf blower rests against a tree.
A leaf blower or vacuum can be of great help.


    Every autumn, you’re faced with the same problem: Your whole garden is covered in fallen leaves. Tidying up the yard can be a lot of work – and then there’s the eternal question of where to put it all. The rubbish bin is certainly the wrong place. We’ll show you how to clear up your garden quickly and easily and put all that leaf litter to good use.

    Even when clearing up the garden, your personal safety is paramount. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find everything you need to know about the protective clothing required for each type of task in our guide.

    You need

    Collecting the leaves/plant debris

    A person uses a leaf blower to blow fallen leaves into a pile.

    Quick and easy: It’s easy to tidy up leaf litter and plant debris using an ordinary leaf blower or garden vacuum.

    In the first step, you’ve got to find a way to gather the leaves into a pile. Of course, a normal rake will work just fine. However, it’s faster and easier to use a leaf blower or a garden vacuum, which is capable of shredding the vacuumed debris and storing it in the attached collection bag.
    Simply begin at one corner of your yard and blow the leaf litter together from different directions until you have produced a single, large pile of plant debris.


    Vacuuming and shredding the leaf litter

    A pile of leaf litter is being vacuumed up using a garden vacuum.

    A garden vacuum shreds the leaf litter automatically and stores the tiny pieces in the collection bag.

    It is much easier to complete this step using a garden vacuum. If you have just used this tool as a leaf blower, you can switch to the vacuum function in a few easy steps. This allows you to make the pile of leaf litter disappear in just seconds. And the most practical part: The garden vacuum automatically shreds the leaf litter and stores the tiny pieces in the attached collection bag.
    If you need to shred larger branches and twigs to put your garden debris to better use, we recommend using a traditional garden shredder instead. Here are a list of 10 tips on how to best use a garden shredder.


    Recycling the leaf litter

    A bag with shredded leaf litter is being emptied onto a compost heap.

    The shredded leaf litter can be added directly to your compost heap.

    You need:

    Here’s the trick: The shredded leaf litter is far too valuable to be tossed in the bin. It is full of nutrients, making it the perfect addition to your compost. Simply empty the collection bag directly onto your compost heap, or use the shredded leaf litter to start a new one.
    Do you still need a compost bin for your garden? We show you how to build your very own frame using a few wooden boards here . And in this article , you’ll learn everything you need to know about composting in general.

    Leaf litter is also a wonderful, natural way to protect your plants from icy weather. Simply spread it out over your flower beds –
    you can use it in your vegetable patch, too. By lightly working the leaves into the soil, you can help them to decompose faster, adding critical nutrients to the soil in the form of mulch.
    If you still have leaf litter left over, you can simply store the pile in an area that is protected from the wind, such as beneath a hedge. Hedgehogs and other small animals will be happy to take up winter residence in this cosy abode. 
    You can find more clever tips on how to dispose of leaf litter here.

    Have you got even more garden projects waiting for you this autumn? In our Guide to winterproofing your garden, we show you how to prepare your garden for cold weather so that it’s ready to burst into bloom next spring.