Mulching is the process by which we mimic what happens in the natural landscape.

What happens in the natural landscape?

Let’s see..

Have you been to any forest area? Wooded area with no or minimal human interference?

How does the forest floor look?

If we do not sweep and collects leaves shed by the tree in the backyard? Yes, that is how the natural forest floor looks like.

Whatever falls on the floor remains there.. Shed leaves form a carpet, layer over the soil.

This layer remains as it is throughout the summer.

When rains arrive, leaves decompose. Some proportion of nutrients that the tree absorbs from the soil are present in these leaves. These nutrients, when leaves decompose, are returned to the soil.
Soil keeps receiving organic matter and retains its productivity. This is nature’s way of recycling nutrients.

Output of one element serves as input to some other element in the system. It is cyclic process. There is no end to it and hence there is no concept of WASTE.

Layer of leaves protects soil from scorching summer heat. Since sun-rays do not reach the soil directly, soil retains moisture.

Various insects in the soil find shelter under these leaves.

How exactly we do the mulching?

Here are the ways to do it. Let’s discuss.

Don't sweep away all the fallen leaves from the soil under the trees.
Leaves will falls off the trees
Let some leaves be there where they fall

Tree roots absorb various nutrients from the soil. Some proportions of those nutrients are present in the fallen leaves. Keeping some leaves under the tree, where they fall, will help soil get back some nutrients it has lost. 

What we need to do? Nothing. Just don’t sweep away all the leaves. Let nature take its course. Leaves will decompose at their own pace. Nutrients will return to the soil. 

If you are not comfortable keeping leaves as they are, no issues. There is one more way. We will discuss it soon. 

We discussed about how we can protect the soil under and near the tree. What about the plants, plant-beds and pots in the garden?

Right, there will not be naturally falling leaves there. But we can still do mulching there. 

Take some leaves, crush them and put them over the soil in plant-beds or planters. 

A person standing in front of a building Description automatically generated

Story: How Brown Leaf started

Brown Leaf came into being in Pune city in February 2016 as the forum for eco-friendly management of dry leaves ...
Read More

Testimonial by Kirti Bhave: Why Mulching

In this Guest post, Brown Leaf member Kirti Bhave shares how mulching salvaged her terrace garden Kirti stays in Pune ...
Read More

Create your own plan

Read More

Let us create plan for you

If at this stage you are not confident of creating your own plan, don't worry. We will help you. Just ...
Read More

Create your own plan guidelines

Vision: “Not a Single Dry Leaf is Burnt in India” Problem: Around November to March is the time when deciduous ...
Read More

Case-studies of dry leaf utilization

CASE STUDY 1 Millennium School in Pune, Maharashtra has developed a vegetable garden for its students using canteen waste and ...
Read More

Composting Some Guidelines

In a moment, we will discuss 3 methods of composting and in the subsequent section, I will help you choose ...
Read More

Soil-less gardens

Introduction Okkay, you are convinced that mulching and composting are good options. You started composting, and now what? Composting itself ...
Read More

How you can go about it

Copy and replicate Such dry leaf exchange forum can be setup in other cities as well. You can start it ...
Read More

What we did in Pune city

The challenge Come winter, and our streets, footpaths, building premises, rooftops, any horizontal surface in the sight is covered with ...
Read More