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Ciscoe Morris on making peace with your fall leaves

They're the best free compost you'll find

SEATTLE — "If you're raking up those fall leaves and sticking them in the yard waste to send out you're making a big mistake!" Ciscoe Morris, Seattle’s gardening guru declared.

“They break down to improve the soil, they stop the rain from wrecking the soil, and they'll even give you weed control! But there's a couple things I need to let you know. First of all not all leaves are that great to stick in the garden.” Ciscoe goes on to explain that big leaves like maple will suffocate plants if just left in the garden. Rhododendron leaves don’t break down. Of course, Ciscoe has a trick to use these leaves in the garden but adds any leaf that’s diseased should just be disposed of.

Ciscoe’s secret to making leaves useable as mulch? Mow them!  Rake a pile, run the mower back and forth a few times over the pile, then use the shredded leaves as free mulch.  Of course, it will leave a small mess on your lawn where you mowed. Not to worry, says Ciscoe:

“All of these leaves that are on the lawn, they'll just turn into fertilizer for your lawn so it's quite good for your lawn to mow leaves over it.

“So don't let those leaves go to waste! Wait till you see how many worms will be in this garden this spring thanks to using those mowed leaves for mulch!”

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