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1. Make compostDid you know that the leaves from one large shade tree can pack as many nutrients as $50 worth of plant food? To make sure your leaves break down efficiently, consider adding a compost component with high levels of nitrogen (manure and Agrinite are good examples). Also remember to shred your leaves to prevent them from blowing in the wind. Remember to turn your pile over every few days, and you’ll have a rich compost in a matter of weeks.
2. Use them as mulchAutumn leaves can also serve as a substitute for store-bought mulch. Why use mulch? It has several “green” benefits: organic mulch decomposes into the soil, increasing both its fertility and moisture. Remember to shred leaves before mulching—unshredded leaves make it difficult for water to permeate the soil. Fortunately, you don’t need a shredder to do the job. Just shred what’s already on your grass when you mow your lawn.
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3. Get craftyHear us out—there are dozens of crafting opportunities sitting right in your front yard. Decorate a fall wreath with pinecones, mums, and dried leaves, or use leaves as templates for note cards or decorative stencils. You can also press a dried leaf between two panes of glass for a simple, elegant piece of art.
4. Make a leaf pileCan’t see your grass under all those leaves? Leaf raking is a great—and fun—autumn job for the kids. Why? Because they (and you, of course) get to jump into a massive, crunchy leaf pile after they’re finished. Fall fun at its finest.
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