As today was a lovely sunny autumn day, it's time to start collecting up the leaves while they are still dry, ready for the leafmould heap. There were quite a few down already...two trailer loads, but that is just a drop in the ocean to what will come later! These go into my leafmould coralle, and in about a years time, they will have broken down into a lovely soil conditioner, ready to be dug in or used as a mulch. Leaf mould in itself has no nutritional value for plants, as the tree withdraws all the goodness from the leaves before they fall...especially the green pigment 'Chlorophyll'. This is such an important compound to the tree (it's what converts sunlight to sugars) that it withdraws it and stores it for next year. That's why the leaves appear to change colour in the autumn. Some of the pics below are old ones from the 'Mowing the Grass' thread a couple of years ago, but worth repeating I think.
The first of many trailer loads!
These go into my leafmould coralle....new on the right, last years on the left. When all the leaves are gathered in, the heap on the right will be at the top of the Heras panels and reach halfway across. By next year it will have reduced to what you see on the left. The only leaves we don't put here are those from a London Plane tree that we have...they are like leather and take for ever to rot down, so they get burnt, and the resulting ash spread on the formal borders.
...and this is the result...lovely crumbly, sweet smelling soil conditioner.