Question of the Week
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Another great question from Jean Wucher!
Some leaves have fallen from her Carolina jessamine.
Can she use them directly as mulch on her plants or should she compost them first? No need to compost: she can use them right away. After all, that's what nature does!
In the past, we've discussed whether you can use freshly chipped tree limbs around your plants. That material is a little too hot to use immediately, and you should let it cool off for a few weeks.
But, freshly fallen leaves from our plants are not too hot. Because leaves are already decaying, they have less carbon. Also, the carbon to nitrogen ratio is much lower than fresh tree mulch, so there's not as much a problem about them affecting microbial activity and tying up the nitrogen in your soil.
So, go ahead and use them as free mulch and soil tilth amenders! In mid-spring, you can always fertilize and top those leaves with mulch.