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How To Shred Leaves For Compost? Try These 5 Ways!

Here are 5 ways to shred leaves for compost:

  1. Shred them with a leaf shredder.
  2. Run them over with a lawnmower.
  3. Chop them with a weed wacker.
  4. Jumps on the pile of leaves.
  5. Use leaves as chicken bedding.

How amazing does this leaf compost look? It’s organic and full of nutrients essential for plant growth! You, too, can make this organic compost out of leaves after shredding them with my ingenious methods!

Piling up compost into a garden trolley

One way to make good use of fall leaves is to shred them and add them to your compost pile. The compost you make will feed the soil and make it fertile for the new growing season. The world is facing the problem of depleted soil, so we should do our best to reintroduce nutrients back into it. 

Lucky for you, I have come up with 5 simple ideas on how to shred leaves for compost the easy way! I am sure one will work for you. Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the first tutorial.

Use A Leaf Shredder

What You Will Need

  • A leaf shredder or chipper shredder
  • A collection bag or garbage bin
  • Safety glasses
  • Earmuffs
  • Gardening gloves


  1. Buy The Right Type Of Shredder

    The easiest and most efficient way to shred leaves is to use a leaf shredder. It is a powered machine specifically designed for this purpose and well worth its price if you have lots of trees in your yard that are prone to shedding. This machine will make your landscaping a whole lot easier.

    A leaf shredder has a wide mouth and can process a lot of organic material at a time. Try to buy a model with a collection bag attached to it or a model that lets you put a garbage bin under it! This way, the machine will collect the shredded leaves for you, so you don’t have to!

    If you plan on shredding twigs as well as leaves, you will need to buy a chipper shredder. A chipper shredder is a stronger machine that can turn twigs and small branches into wood chips. These can be added to compost or immediately used as a mulch in vegetable gardens and flower beds.

    You can find the best chipper shredder with the help of my review list!

  2. Protect Yourself

    Before you turn on the leaf shredder, you need to protect yourself. After all, you are working with a machine that can cause serious injuries.

    Firstly, protect your eyes with safety goggles against flying pieces of mulch. Shredders can be pretty loud, too, so you should definitely protect your hearing with earmuffs. I also recommend you put on gardening gloves to keep your hands free of splinters.

    Don’t wear loose-fitting clothes, a long belt, scarf, or necklace while operating a shredder. These can get caught in the mechanism and pull you in.

    Lastly, always operate your leaf shredder outdoors on a level surface. Keep the kids and pets away while you are shredding.

  3. Position The Collection Bag

    WORX WG430 13 Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher

    The next thing you should do is place the included collection bag, a regular trash bag, or an empty garbage bin under the discharge opening to collect the shredded leaves and twigs.
    If you don’t do this, you will have to manually rake up and bag the output. This won’t be easy since gathering pulverized leaves is a tedious job.

  4. Feed The Leaf Shredder

    Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher Electric Leaf Shredder

    You can finally turn on your shredder and start feeding it leaves. Feed the leaves into the hopper using a leaf stomper or a thick branch. Never push the leaves closer to the blades with your hands!

    Take your time! Feed the machine slowly and steadily so you don’t clog the system. If the shredder gets stuck, turn it off first and then try to remove the clog with a long stick.

Use A Lawnmower

What You Will Need

  • A lawnmower
  • A rake
  • A garbage bag or bin


  1. Pick The Right Type Of Lawn Mower
    A red lawn-mower in a grassy lawn

    Don’t know how to shred leaves without a shredder? A lot of homeowners choose to shred leaves with a lawnmower because they already have one in the garage. No need to spend any money on a shredder. You, too, can try this method! Mulching lawnmowers work best for this job. They turn leaves into fine mulch with hardly any effort.

    But not to worry! Any lawnmower will work just fine. You can use a push or riding kind. If you want to be fancy, you can upgrade your standard lawnmower with a mulching blade to make it more suited for the job.

  2. Pile The Leaves
    a rake in a small pile of fallen leaves

    Rake up the leaves onto a pile. If you have a lot of leaves, make multiple smaller piles that will be easier to run over with a lawnmower. Make sure there aren’t any twigs and branches mixed with the leaves that could dull the blades or break the lawnmower.

  3. Run Your Lawn Mower Over The Pile
    A lawn mower being run over fallen leaves

    Raise the mowing deck of your lawnmower, turn it on and run it over the pile of leaves, going back and forth until you are satisfied with the size of the shred. You don’t have to hurry! Do it slowly and carefully, and watch out for any flyaways!

Use A Weed Whacker

What You Will Need

  • Compost bin or garbage bin
  • Weed wacker
  • Safety glasses
  • Earmuffs
  • Gardening gloves\


  1. Protect Yourself

    Personal protective gears

    Always protect yourself when working with a weed whacker, whether you are removing weeds, edging your lawn, or in our case, shredding fall leaves.

    Weed whackers can be pretty loud, so you should definitely protect your ears with noise-canceling earmuffs. I also recommend you put on safety goggles to shield your eyes from dust and flying pieces of mulch. Last but not least, wear gardening gloves to keep your hands free of splinters and possible oil stains.

  2. Fill A Garbage Bin With Leaves

    A trash bin by the street

    Scoop up leaves with your hands and put them into a large garbage bin or an empty composting bin. Fill the garbage bin halfway with leaves. Don’t overpack the bin to avoid spillage while shredding.

  3. Use The Weed Whacker

    A weed-whacker laying on the grass

Lower your weed whacker into the garbage bin. Bury it into the leaves. Turn it on and move it around, up and down, to shred leaves. If you have followed my advice and didn’t overfill the bin, you should be able to move the weed whacker safely and easily

Empty the shredded leaves into another bin, a wheelbarrow, or directly onto the compost pile. Fill up the garbage bin with a new batch of leaves. Repeat the process until you are done with the whole pile. 

Watch this tutorial on how to shred leaves with a weed whacker:

Jump On The Leaves

What You Will Need

  • A rake
  • Large garbage bags or a tarp bag


  1. Dry The Leaves

    Fallen leaves

    This fun shredding method only works if the leaves are dry enough. Dry leaves are more brittle and easily crumble under added weight

    The best way to dry the leaves is to leave them out in the sun until they crisp up. Once they are dry enough, you can rake them onto a pile.

    If you rake the leaves onto a pile while they still have a high moisture content, they won’t break when you or your kids jump on them. Only the top layer of the pile will dry, while the center will remain wet.

  2. Pile Or Bag The Leaves

    Mounds of dead leaves

    Once the leaves are dry enough, you can rake them onto a pile and let your kids jump and play in them.

    To make less of a mess on your lawn, you can collect the leaves into large garbage bags or one extra-large tarp bag. Release as much air out of the bags before you tie them up and stack them on the ground.

    If you do this, you won’t have to rake up bits and pieces after your kids are done with playing. You can immediately empty garbage bags onto your leaf mold compost pile.

  3. Let The Kids Jump

    A young girl playing with dried leaves
    Image credit:

Enough with the prepping, it’s time to have some fun! Let your kids jump and play in the pile of leaves until you are satisfied with the size of the leaves. You can channel your inner child too! What a fun way to spend time with your kids and still get some yard work done

Let The Chickens Tear Them 

What You Will Need

  • Chicken wire
  • A rake
  • A shovel
  • Garbage bin
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Gardening gloves


  1. Rake Up The Leaves

    A rake resting on a bench

    The first thing you need to do is rake up the leaves and put them in a garbage bin or a wheelbarrow, whichever you prefer. Make sure there aren’t any sharp objects mixed with the leaves that could harm the chickens.

  2. Enclose Area With Chicken Wire

    Chickens in a coop

    If you let your chickens roam your yard freely, you may have to enclose a small area first, before you proceed with this project.

    I recommend you use chicken wire to enclose the area around the chicken coop to create a chicken run.  This way, you will know exactly where to put your leaf bedding. You will also limit the movement of chickens and encourage them to stomp on the leaves, tear them and dig under them.

    You can skip this step if you already have fencing put up around the chicken coop. 

  3. Spread The Leaves 

    A couple of white hens
    Image credit:

    Take your garbage bin filled with leaves to the enclosed chicken run. Spread the leaves evenly on the ground to create thick bedding

  4. Let The Chickens Shred The Leaves

    A  golden rooster
    Image credit:

    Let the chickens out of the coop and let them do their usual chicken stuff. Their busy feet will crush the leaves and their beaks will tear them when looking under the new bedding for feed, bugs, and worms.

    Slowly but surely, they will shred the leaves into fine mulch rich in chicken manure. Chicken manure is rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium – minerals essential for the growth of healthy vegetable gardens

  5. Scoop Up The Shredded Leaves

    Putting compost into a cart

When you notice that the leaf bedding has significantly reduced in volume and is all shredded up, you can take your shovel and scoop the decomposing organic matter into an empty garbage bin or a wheelbarrow. Take it straight to your composting bin or pile.  


Do you have to shred leaves for compost?

You don’t have to shred leaves for compost, but it is highly recommended. By shredding leaves, you give microbes a bigger surface area to work on. That’s why shredded leaves decompose much faster than whole leaves.

Can you compost with just leaves?

You can compost with just leaves by creating leaf mold. You will have to dampen the leaves with water and mix them with cow manure to introduce microbes to the pile and speed up the decomposing process. Your leaf mold should be ready in 6 to 12 months

Are dead leaves good for soil?

Dead leaves are good for soil because they return essential nutrients to the soil while they decompose. Dead leaves also create a home and breeding ground for beneficial insects that aerate the soil and keep the ecosystem thriving.

What leaves are not good for compost?

Leaves not good for compost are those high in lignin, like beech, holly, oak, and sweet chestnut. Also, avoid adding black walnut and eucalyptus leaves to your compost because they contain natural herbicides that interfere with seed germination.

Is it OK to leave leaves on flower beds?

It is OK to leave leaves on flower beds to protect delicate roots and bulbs from harsh winter temperatures. The leaves will minimize the growth of weeds and reintroduce nutrients to the soil. Remove leaves when they form a layer that keeps the air and water out.

That’s How To Shred Leaves For Compost

Now you know how to shred leaves for compost! You can buy yourself a leaf shredder or try any other creative method from my list. 

Who knew you could shred leaves in so many different ways? You can now use fall leaves for a good cause and don’t feel guilty throwing them away. It is important that we give back to nature and not only take away from it

What do you think about these leaf shredding ideas? Feel free to ask any questions and share this tutorial with others!

Last update on 2023-03-27 at 00:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About The Author

Nadya Jones

Nadya is a writer, entrepreneur, and designer based in Raleigh. She writes in her blog, the one you are visiting right now, where she shares her love for landscaping, gardening, and outdoor design. Her husband Brett provides her with a lot of inspiration and behind-the-scenes content. Together, they work on creating beautiful outdoor spaces that serve as an extension of their home and inspire others to do the same. If you are interested in landscaping, gardening, or outdoor design, be sure to check out the blog! Also, follow Nadya on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr!

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