Every fall and winter, I’m thrilled with the leaves that fall down from the trees. Because it means I can make shredded leaf mulch which is like GOLD in an organic garden!
Shredded Leaf Mulch: Gardening Gold
Most homeowners hate the fact that leaves pile up in their yard in fall and winter. Often, it means that there’s just more work to be done in the garden.
However, I don’t mind seeing the leaves flying down towards the ground on the wind. Strange, right?
Well, you don’t have to get angry at leaves falling in your yard and garden when you’re prepared to handle the yearly occurrence. If you have the right tools that work great, and a knowledge that the leaves are actually helping you out, then you won’t dread fall chores in the yard and garden, either!
Fallen leaves might look dead, but the organic material is still alive with nutrients that nourish and improve your soil.
In fact, shredded leaf mulch might be one of the easiest and best ways to naturally improve your soil.
Plus, IT’S FREE!
I have been using some form of leaf mulch in my yard and gardens for over a decade. I can assure you that this type of mulch is a fabulous soil amendment that just can’t compare to spreading fertilizer granules in the Spring.
Shredded leaf mulch has helped me transform my gardens that were full of builder’s grade soil in Florida into rich garden beds with soil filled with nutrients.
Can You Just Let Leaves Pile Up in the Garden as Mulch?
Now, the easy thing would be to just let leaves pile up in big piles around the yard.
But that’s not a good idea.
First, it’s ugly. Yep, no one wants to look at piles of leaves a foot or two high.
Second, leaves don’t work great as mulch until they are shredded.
If normal-sized leaves pile up on top of each other, the size of them creates a mat. Perhaps you’ve seen something like it in a garden bed you forgot about or on the forest floor. These leaves create a thick mat that could actually be picked up in chunks from the ground.
The problem with that leaf mat is that it doesn’t let in air or water to the ground below. So while the matted leaves might protect the ground underneath from cold, they won’t let essential air flow or water penetrate to the soil.
Plus, it takes SO much longer for those leaves to break down into the soil. And that’s what you want from shredded leaf mulch!
Leaves need to be broken up into small pieces with lots of edges. Naturally occurring enzymes and organisms in the soil start working on the raw edges to break down the leaves.
While you might think there’s a lot of surface space around the outside of one leaf, imagine mulching it into pieces. Then there’s dramatically more surface edges on all of those little leaf pieces combined.
P.S. Shredding leaves also helps them decompose MUCH faster in a compost bin, too. So even if you aren’t interested in shredded leaf mulch for your garden beds, these tricks will help you with your compost bin, too.
How Do You Make Leaf Mulch Fast?
No one wants piles of leaves sitting around their yard or garden waiting for them to break down naturally. Which is why I want to tell you how to make leaf mulch fast!
Sure, you can add a mulching blade to your lawn mower. But the leaves stay in the yard, unless you want to rake them up. And who wants to go through all of that hassle?
The easiest and fastest way to make leaf mulch is to use a leaf blower and a leaf mulcher. These two pieces of equipment together can dramatically decrease your time doing yard chores. Plus, they help you create an organic garden using all natural materials to fertilize the soil.
Here’s how to make leaf mulch fast:
- Blow all leaves into a pile to work from. Use a leaf blower to push them all into one spot, or use several spots across your property.
- If you want to accumulate leaves over days or weeks before mulching, put the leaves into a leaf bin or paper bags.
- When ready to make shredded leaf mulch, set up your leaf mulcher.
- Use a leaf bin or paper bags to collect the shredded leaf mulch. You can capture the shredded leaf mulch as it comes out of the leaf shredder and store it in a wheelbarrow or other collection bin until you are ready to use it.
- Spread the shredded leaf mulch on top of vegetable garden beds and flower beds around the plants. Use a layer up to 6 inches thick. Keep in mind, the leaf mulch will decompose rather quickly. It will likely be gone by Spring.
WORX Leaf Blower and Leaf Mulcher: Eco-Friendly Garden Tools for Making Shredded Leaf Mulch
When we moved into our new house in North Carolina, we realized that we were going to need some help in the yard and garden.
We have an acre of gorgeous lawn to take care of. And we moved in just at the beginning of Fall.
Plus we are surrounded by gorgeous trees, most of which drop their leaves.
Did I mention that we have no yard tools at all? Like, NONE?
When we left to go RVing for a year, we gave away all of the yard tools we had. Which wasn’t a big problem, because they were gas-powered yard tools. And we knew that when we did get a yard, we didn’t want to deal with the fumes and toxic nature of gas-powered yard tools any more.
This was my chance to choose wisely for our yard tools. Here’s what I was looking for:
- No emissions (Meaning no gas fumes. It’s absolutely disgusting to me to walk around with a piece of yard equipment inhaling the smoke and fumes that is belching out just a couple feet from your nose. you wouldn’t follow a car behind the exhaust pipe, so don’t inhale the same type of exhaust from your yard equipment!)
- Electric or Battery Operated
- Smart value
And I found all of those qualities and more in WORX tools.
I reached out to WORX, which is headquartered just a little bit from my home, and asked to review some of their yard tools. I’m thrilled that I did, because I really do love their yard tools. In fact, we like them so much that we’ve gone on to buy more of their yard tools after receiving the following items below for review.
WORX Leaf Blower Review
With an acre of yard, I knew I couldn’t use a corded leaf blower. It just couldn’t work with a power cord plugged into the house a half acre away.
So we knew that we wanted a WORX battery operated leaf blower.
What I was concerned about, though, was the weight. With batteries, there is extra weight on the leaf blower.
I have shoulder and neck issues. And while I love being in the garden, I have to be super careful with what I pick up and what movements I do.
For instance, I absolutely cannot rake or sweep. Something about that movement gives me a severe headache, even though I really don’t mind doing either eco-friendly chore.
So for me to be able to do yard chores, it was very important to find a leaf blower that I could comfortably hold and that worked great so I didn’t have to spend double the time blowing leaves than I should be.
As soon as I opened the box for the WORX leaf blower, I knew we chose the right one.
The WORX 40V Power Share Turbine Cordless Leaf Blower with Brushless Motor (WG584), was very lightweight in the box. That is with the two 20V batteries that come with the WORX leaf blower.
We quickly and easily put it together. While there was a little bit of a charge in the batteries in the box, we went ahead and charged them some more on the dual battery charger that was included.
I soon tried out the WORX battery operated leaf blower in the yard, blowing off two weeks worth of leaves that had fallen since the time we moved into our new house and when we finally got a cordless leaf blower.
And it was super easy and super fast to blow them off of the driveway and garden beds and into a pile.
Are we happy with the WORX cordless leaf blow battery? Yes, I’d say we are. The batteries seem to last a pretty long time, as long as it’s not in Turbo mode. Plus, we love being able to switch them out with other WORX yard tool batteries (see below for more info).
WORX Leaf Mulcher Review
Along with the WORX leaf blower, we put the WORX 13 Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher to the test, too.
One thing that I’m not familiar with moving to North Carolina is that we can’t bag yard waste or debris. In Orlando where we moved from, yard waste can be collected at your home. But not where we moved to in North Carolina.
I was wondering what we were going to do with the yard waste, especially the leaves!
So the WORX leaf shredder actually helps us out in two ways:
- Make shredded leaf mulch fast
- Don’t need to bring yard waste to a collection site
I had only seen a leaf mulcher before at my parent’s house. My dad has an industrial type of leaf shredder and it it super loud and quite honestly scares me.
Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive with using a WORX leaf mulcher in my yard, but I knew I wanted to give it a try.
After opening the box and putting it together super quickly, I wasn’t so afraid to use a leaf shredder anymore!
The parts of the WORX leaf mulcher were lightweight for me to handle, and easy to assemble quickly. I appreciate that the parts also come apart so that we can store the WORX leaf mulcher in the shed without taking up so much space.
The WORX Leaf Mulcher is corded. I simply used the WORX cordless leaf blower to blow all of the leaves in one place in my yard near a power outlet. Then we hooked up the WORX leaf mulcher with an extension cord to the outside of the house.
I was actually genuinely surprised at how well the WORX leaf shredder worked! It was super easy to add leaves into the leaf mulcher. And they quickly were shredded into smaller pieces and fell into the WORX leaf bin that we had underneath.
Tips for Using a Leaf Shredder
Here’s a few helpful hints in my WORX leaf shredder review for you to know and be aware of:
- Using eye protection is a must. It’s just not smart to add any lawn waste into any yard equipment that is spinning without protecting your eyes from flying debris.
- Try to remove all sticks and any debris in the leaf pile. I had a stick in my pile, and it did go flying when I added it to the leaf shredder. Thank God I was wearing eye protection. After that experience, I picked out all of the twigs from the wheelbarrow with leaves. I had no other issues with debris flying.
- Use a paper bag or leaf bag in addition to the leaf bin. We liked using the leaf bin because it is easy to move and gives some rigidity to the collection area, rather than a bag just flopping around. However, the WORX leaf bin does leave a gap between the leaf shredder and the collection bag. Which means some shredded leaves fly out before getting into the bin. Using paper leaf bags and inserting them into the WORX leaf bin allows you to capture all of shredded leaf mulch.
Why We Like WORX Yard Equipment
When choosing yard equipment, both my husband and I had a lot of input into what we chose.
I wanted ease of use and lightweight.
My husband wanted power and batteries that were interchangeable with other pieces of yard equipment.
Which is why WORX worked for us!
Check out my video review and shredded leaf mulching tips below:
The fact that the WORX leaf blower battery can also be used for the WORX edge trimmer or other WORX products is a big factor in loving the brand. That way, we can always have batteries charged and ready to go.
For instance, if we were blowing leaves all day in the yard, a battery isn’t going to last all day. It’s just not. But when we have batteries for all of our pieces of yard tools that are interchangeable, we can have them charging and swap them out easily.
So, we could have the WORX batteries that work for the trimmer being charged as we use the batteries on the WORX leaf blower. When we need to change out the batteries, we don’t need to stop what we’re doing in the yard and wait for the batteries to be charged again. We simply just swap out the batteries and continue doing our work.
When we add to our power tools and yard equipment, if we continue to use WORX products then the batteries will all be interchangeable. Plus, we could buy future products without the batteries (some yard equipment offers the choice of having batteries or not) and save additional money.
More Organic Gardening Tips
If you want to work towards a more natural and organic garden, keep these tips in mind, too.
These easy organic gardening hacks help you avoid chemicals on vegetables, fruits and flowers.
After you’re done shredding leaves for mulch, be sure to check out these next steps for preparing your garden for winter.
If you’re concerned about the dwindling honey bee population, then check out how you can help with a pocket pollinator garden, even with just a small bit of garden space.
To really prevent weeds in the garden naturally, I highly recommend this gardening hack. However, I’d put the shredded leaf mulch underneath this instead of on top so that the soil is enriched.