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Oak Leaf Mulch

Fallen Oak Leaves Make a Great Mulch

Oak leaf mulch in a landscape bedIt is a great time of year to refresh your landscape beds with mulch. A good source for (free) mulch is fallen oak leaves, which are in abundance this time of year.  Oak leaves are a lovely shade of brown, are a great compliment to other mulches, and can be used for most garden bed.  They can be slippery, so you may want to chose another type of mulch for pathways.

If you are lucky enough to have oak leaves on your property, consider using them as mulch instead of bagging them for trash pickup.  It is important to remember to keep all types of mulch to only 2-3 inches deep, so if you have heavy leaf drop, you may even need to remove some leaves from your landscape beds. Pull mulch away from the base of trees and other ornamental plants 1-2 inches.Oak Leaves for Mulch

Consider talking with friends or neighbors if you don’t have oak trees on your property. They may be willing to bag leaves for you to take home, just make sure they only bag oak leaves. Ensure that they do not pull weeds, prune potentially invasive plants, or bag trash along with the leaves. You do not want to take home any problems!  Use similar caution if you pick up bagged leaves from unknown sources.
Additionally, a bag of oak leaves is a great start for a new compost pile. Don’t have enough “browns”? Consider a bag or wheelbarrow full of dried oak leaves and then add your nitrogen-rich greens to create “garden gold”.

Oak leaves mulch signOak leaves are a free source of organic mulch and can be found very easily this time of year. Consider oak leaf mulch for your landscape or use it in your compost pile.

If you have questions about different types of mulch and how to properly spread it, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at  The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Give us a call, or email us at

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.Oak leaf mulch around bromeliads

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida.  The program  extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.

2 Comments on “Fallen Oak Leaves Make a Great Mulch

  1. I have long ignored the U of F IFAS resource. My bad! I was motivated to find the website for Polk county by watching; Flip My Florida Yard on a recent TV program. U of F IFAS was given much credit for the methods used..

    I am a U of F alumni but as an engineering grad, from way back in the dark ages, I have too long ignored ag and horticulture that is so important in our great state. I will wake up, I promise.

    Thanks for what you do.