How to use leaf mulch for lawn fertilizer

Person using a rake to rake fallen leaves in a yard in autumn.
(Image credit: Getty)

Fall gardeners often face the same dilemma; while using the best leaf blowers can make collecting fallen leaves a breeze, getting rid of them can be a nuisance. Knowing how to use leaf mulch for lawn nutrition can be an effective way to use fallen leaves to your advantage as a free one-ingredient mulch that will make your lawn greener than ever.  

What is leaf mulch? 

When shredded leaves decay, they turn into a mulchy substance known as leaf mulch (or sometimes leaf mold) that is absorbed into the soil and adds vital nutrients back into it. In this way, it's an all-natural fertilizer. 

Some people create piles of leaf mulch that they then apply to plant pots or vegetable beds, however here we show you how to use leaf mulch for lawn usage which means adding it directly to a lawn.

How to use leaf mulch for lawn fertilizer

1. Create a pile

After using a rake or leaf blower, group together your fallen leaves to form the base of your leaf mulch.

2. Start shredding

Shred the pile of leaves as finely as possible. Our expert suggests using a lawnmower as a quick and efficient way to shred the leaves.

What the expert says...

Adam Whale, who runs The Grey Gardener, advises, “Chop the leaves up as much as possible as this will speed up the process. A lawnmower with the bag on will be enough or a shredder will work just fine. A mulching mower would be even better.”

3. Scatter the mulch

Distribute the leaf mulch thinly over your lawn. A depth of approximately 10cm should be more than enough to enrich the soil beneath and improve next season’s grass growth. You can use a leaf blower to spread the mulch around the lawn evenly.

4. Let the mulch do the work!

From here the leaves will ‘mulch’ into the ground as they biodegrade for the next several months, hence the name. This will revitalize the soil, giving the grass more nutrients to flourish.

Will this suffocate my grass?

One big myth around leaf mulch is that it will suffocate a lawn and kill the grass. The key to preventing this is ensuring that the mulch is shredded very finely and that the layer of mulch is not applied too thickly. This is why leaves that are allowed to fall onto a lawn freely can kill the grass underneath but a moderate amount of mulch does not.

Discover more guides for the garden…

Best pressure washers
Best snow blowers
Best chainsaws
Best patio heaters
Best inflatable hot tubs

Tanisha Fletcher

Tanisha started her career in commercial retail buying for one of Amazon UK’s Top 10 revenue grossing online homeware retailers. Years spent obsessing over homeware products made it an easy career switch to writing about them. Her freelance career has seen her craft customer-focused web content for brands big and small, as well as writing articles in the health, lifestyle, home and retail sectors.

With contributions from