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I have some pretty poor soil and was considering tilling in the fallen maple, live oak, and pecan tree leaves. The idea is to till them into the ground in the fall and let them rot all winter.

Good idea? Bad idea?
 

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Good idea, bad idea? Both. The maple leave will probably break down in that time but the oak and pecan leaves will change little while buried over the winter. If you can grind the leaves before plowing then it's all good. The leaves will add very little nutrients to the soil but will do wonders for the composition of the soil. Getting that organic matter percentage up will help hold nutrients and water, and reduce the compaction of the soil. Follow up the leaf tilling by dropping 10,000 earthworms on the ground, you'll be amazed with the results.

You should get a soil test in the spring. The pH is affected when dramatically changing the composition. You'll also want to know what nutrients to add for your garden.
 

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What I do is push the leaves over the lawn with the mower. That grinds them up as I go. What doesnt get ground into the turf ends up on my garden plot.....helps that too.
 

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I was going to use what I collect in the lawn vac. The leaves are nicely shredded once the mower is done with it.
 

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Granted I know nothing about pecan trees ( I live in the North, eh?) but I am careful not to put the leaves of my walnut trees anywhere near my gardens. Are pecan leaves any problem like the fairly toxic ( to plants) walnut leaves and droppings?
 

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The leaves will add very little nutrients to the soil but will do wonders for the composition of the soil.
In fact, the leaves may temporarily rob a bit of nitrogen from the soil as they decay. I compost my leaves first and then put the black gold in the garden. This Fall the wife intends to put some half rotted compost from last year on top of the garden, leaving it there for the Winter and then till it in come Spring.

I would not till fresh leaves under. I think they need to be exposed to air to compost well, hence the need to turn compost regularly.
 

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We're dumping the lawn clippings (grass and leaves) into a covered pile to decay over the winter. Already, it's steaming. Somewhere I have a compost thermometer to track the temperature. We add the wood ash from the wood stove to the garden directly, wood ash, nails, screws, etc. I throw a handfull or two of peletized lime in there, too, then mix it all up. Add some well rotted horse manure, too. The kitchen vegie scraps go into the compost pile. No meat biproducts in the garden or compost pile.
Keep turning over the compost pile, mix it up good. Next spring, dig out some free 'black gold' right into the garden, and till it in. Hard packed soil will come out like talcum powder, nice and fine, in a year or two.
Your crops will show a definite size increase.
 

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I usually collect bags of leaves that are out by the curb and pile them on my plot over the winter and around plants I want to protect over winter. It keeps the soil temp up and limits spring weed infiltration. In the spring what didn't decompose can be moved and composted, or keep it there to control weeds. Wood chips are great for this too and last several years.
 

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When tilling a lot of organic matter into soil adding a little nitrogen fertilizer along with the matter will go a long way to breaking it down and loosening up the soil.

Mike
 

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Way back when, I saw this magazine on a rack that had an article on "How to Make Cow Manure Without a Cow!".

I was hooked, It was Mother Earth News. Basically put leaves, grass clippings etc... in a black trash bag, roll them around a few times over a couple weeks, you get manure out of the bag. It worked!

I have tried every composting method I could find since then. They all are good!! I just use whatever method that suits the materials I have on hand at the time.

Compost those leaves before adding them to the soil, you will be happier.
 

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This is a thread worth printing and keeping. Great tips for getting the most back from the organic matter around us.:trink40:
I recently joined this site. There is good information posted here. My wife and I have been incorporating as much organic material as possible to our heavy clay New England soil for ~30 years. Our gardens have benefitted. I can only add that chopped leaves decompose much more effectively, and grass clippings should be mixed with a "carbon" material like leaves,bark mulch etc. I am a big fan of leaf mold.
 

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I have some pretty poor soil and was considering tilling in the fallen maple, live oak, and pecan tree leaves. The idea is to till them into the ground in the fall and let them rot all winter.

Good idea? Bad idea?
You didn't mention the "color"of dirt--In Ga.we can have "red clay"--a real test of your skills!!! If your dirt(it ain't soil yet) is packed,try adding reg.old sand.It with leaves & grass clippings will do wonders.All kind of ideas here,but anything you can add other than meat scraps will do good.BTW,you'll have good soil when you can grab a handfull of dark semi-moist,soft,good smelling,wonderful soil and say to yourself--"Now that's what I'm talking about!!!":trink40:
 

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I cover my garden with leaves, disc it, plow it then later till it. Just put them on today. Has improved the soil immensely. What was yellow sand is now dark friable garden soil. I use a "yard vac". It somewhat grinds up the leaves so that helps with a head start. I add some powdered lime too as our soil here is slightly low ph. No trace of leaves in the spring. Gets better every year.
 

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I do both. Till some in the garden and compost some and save some for the summer to mix with grass clippings. I usually see most of the ones tilled into the garden has decomposed by Spring. :fing32:
 

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what about adding saw dust? i have a saw mill a few miles down the road and i was going to stop and ask them if i could get some, but wanted to see what you guys said first
 

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I can't speak to the nutrients in that sawdust idea, but I do know that it works great around tree plantings for holding weeds back ( as a thick mulch layer) Our hostas love it :)
 

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"One problem with sawdust piles I have seen is they tend to cake, compact, and air cannot then get into the pile so the bacteria that should be digesting the material do not work. Think of a compost pile made of mostly sawdust as clay soil with little organic matter in it. I'd look for other, coarser materials to add to that sawdust and wood chips mixture to aid in preventing this compaction and to add a larger variety of nutrients to that pile." (Author not remembered)

My wife and I have been having the "Saw Dust Discussion" for our garden for years as a supplement to our heavy clay soil. To make a long story short I am lucky that I can add bark mulch. Sawdust needs a lot of additional nitrogen supplements as a composting material, but it is great as a surface mulch.
 
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