I smelled burning the other day and asked my neighbor what they were burning. (We had just had a skirmish with a hurricane and most of the debris was gone) Anyway, her response was she was burning up the leaves and going to use on her flower beds. I mulch my oak leaves and use them in my garden, flower, vegetable, and on lawn patches that need help. Are burnt Oak leaves a good fertilizer? I have never heard that use. Anyone ever heard of this? We are in SC and have a combination of white oak and what we call scrub oaks in our neighborhood. Thank you


The ash will provide potassium (K) and likely some "micro-nutrients" like Mg. Phosphorus (P) is probably not going to burn off. Both K and P will be present in very small amounts :However, wood ashes are a traditional source of K for soap making and I assume leaf ash is not greatly different , chemically, from wood ash. So ash is likely a better source of K than P. But I think the leaves are more helpful as a compost or mulch; they still eventually release K but provide organic moisture retention as well. Personally I do not like the smell of smoldering leaves.

  • I also prefer to use leaves as mulch. Oak leaves take a while to break down however and benefit from a year of composting. – Escoce Sep 20 '19 at 16:55

Thank you for the replies. I could not see the advantage of burning what is great mulch when chopped up to smaller pieces. I had gotten tired of the mulch blades on the mower not really making them a mulch size and purchased the mulcher attachment for the blower. The difference how quickly the leaves turn into a nice black broken down mulch to mix into the soil amazes me. I am starting to think it's probably something she learned as a child. We all do things differently. I mulch every spring and fall (SC oaks shed their leaves twice a year and are always green). My lawn is much healthier than those who rake them up and take them away Many thanks!

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