A customer said he had heard of the practice of shredding leaves prior to using them as mulch but wondered about the reason behind it. Was it just to make it easier to dispose of the leaves, since, once shredded, the load would be more compact? Or was there some other benefit?
Well, shredding your leaves does have several benefits if one chooses to go that route. If you are responsible for your own leaves, shredding them with a leaf shredder or even a mower is actually the most efficient way to dispose of them. Regardless of if you intend on using them as leaf mulch or producing compost, shedding them is the best way to go.
If raking up and bagging your leaves, shredding them allows you to pack more into the collection bag. While it does require more work, it is more eco-friendly to uses less non-biodegradable material. Not to mention, it saves money using less disposal bags.
The main benefit of shredding leaves is that it makes really good mulch in the spring time and great compost for gardens. This is particularly beneficial for those who are growing an organic garden; as leaf mulch will eventually decompose releasing nutrients into the soil and made available to your plants. While whole leaves will do the same thing, it will take twice as long for the decomposition to take place. Plus whole leaves will mat down, creating an impervious layer that would not “breath” nor allow water to drain down to the soil.