What is Leaf Mould?
Leafmould is formed from decaying leaves and produces an invaluable soil conditioner. The best quality leafmould is produced from the leaves of oak, beech or hornbeam as they break down easily. Other leaves like sycamore, walnut, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut are much slower to break down so need to be shredded before adding to the leafmould pile. Evergreens like holly and laurel are best shredded and added to the compost heap where they will break down quicker.
How to make it
To make leafmould either put the leaves in bin bags, moisten slightly and pierce the bags, then just leave in a sheltered corner of the garden for two years , or make a large square frame with chicken wire and pile in as many as you can, moisten if they get dry and again leave for two years. Make sure you make your frame somewhere sheltered so the leaves don’t blow away if it’s windy!
If your leafmould pile seems slow to break down then try turning it regularly to aerate the leaves and speed up the process. Make sure that the leaves do not dry out in hot dry weather.
How to use it
After two years it will be ready to use as a mulch, soil improver or autumn dressing for lawns. However, if you leave it longer and it’s really well rotted it can be used as seed sowing compost or mixed with sharp sand, compost or soil as potting compost.