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Leaf Mould


Leaves can take a long time to break down, so if you have large quantities of fallen leaves the best way to deal with them is to make leafmould.

Leafmould can be made with any leaves. You will find that hard evergreen leaves, such as Leylandii or holly, will take longer to compost than those of annual deciduous trees, such as birch, aspen or rowan. It is best to make a separate pile for evergreen leaves.


Leafmould takes around one to two years to form. You will need a simple container to stop the leaves blowing away which can be placed in a secluded part of your garden.


Getting started

You can make leafmould in a wire mesh bin, black plastic bags with holes or in a normal compost bin reserved just for leaves.

Adding materials

Collect fallen autumn leaves (keeping evergreen and deciduous leaves separate) and water them if they are dry. Place the leaves into your container and wait for a year or two.

How long will it take?

Producing leafmould will take about one to two years. Ready leafmould is dark in colour and crumbly.

Hard evergreen leaves, such as Leylandii or holly, will take longer to compost than annual deciduous leaves, such as birch, aspen or rowan.

Removing leafmould

Simply remove ready leafmould from the container. It is ready to be used as it is.

Any leaves that have not composted properly can be left in the container and composted with new material.

Using your leafmould

Leafmould produces dark crumbly compost which can be used to improve soil structure or as a peat substitute in a seed or potting mix.

To improve soil structure, simply apply leafmould as surface mulch or dig it into the soil. Leafmould is relatively low in nutrients and so can be applied in large amounts.

You can make potting compost by mixing equal amounts of leafmould, loam and garden compost. If you prefer, materials can be sieved before they are mixed together to produce a finer potting compost.
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