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How To Shred Leaves Without A Shredder? Check Out These 5 Easy Ways!

Here are 5 simple ways to shred leaves without a shredder:

  1. Run the leaves over with the lawnmower.
  2. Put leaves in a garbage bin and shred them with a lawn trimmer.
  3. Walk or drive over them. 
  4. Jump in the pile of leaves to crumble them. 
  5. Let your chickens break them down as they are looking for food.

Do you have a pile of leaves in your yard but no leaf shredder

Owning a shredder, like the one on my “best gardening tools list,” is a luxury not everyone can afford. But not to worry!

There are other ways you can turn those pretty fall leaves into a homemade, organic mulch. I’ve found 5 methods, and I am sure one will work for you, too! 

So, keep reading to find out how to shred leaves without a shredder

5 Ways To Shred Leaves Without A Shredder

Put Your Lawnmower To Work

Who needs a leaf shredder when you have a lawnmower sitting in your garage? All you need to do is go over your lawn once or twice to turn the leaves into mulch.  

Any kind of lawnmower will do the job: either the push or riding kind, but a mulching lawnmower gives the best results. 

Attach the bag collector to your unit, so you won’t have to rake and bag the small bits and pieces manually. 

You can even upgrade your riding lawn mower with a leaf shredder blade.

Don’t own a riding lawnmower? You can find some great candidates, right here!

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Use A Lawn Trimmer

If you haven’t shredded leaves with your lawn trimmer before, now is the time to do it. Put smaller loads of leaves in an empty compost bin or a garbage can. Use the trimmer to shred them as you would a stick blender when making a creamy soup. 

Just don’t forget to wear safety glasses when doing the job! Check it out: 

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Walk Or Drive Over Them 

If you don’t feel like putting much work into this chore, you might as well use your feet to do the job for you

Rake the leaves onto the pathways that you and your family typically take. They will break into smaller pieces in a matter of days as you walk over them. For this to work, though, the leaves need to be quite dry

You can even blow the leaves onto the driveway and let your car do the crumbling for you.

A car drives along a bed of dry leaves

Let The Chickens Do The Work

Did you know that chickens are amazing at mulching leaves? Rake your leaves and dump them in with your chickens. They will tear them up with their busy beaks and feet when looking for food underneath. 

You can expect to get a fresh pile of organic fertilizer enriched with nitrogen within a couple of days!   

Raising chickens in your backyard once again proves to be a good decision! 

Chickens will happily step on dry leaves

Channel Your Inner Child

Rake the leaves into a huge pile and make a big mountain of leaves for you and your kids to jump in. Let your kids join in the fun, too. If the leaves are dry enough, they should break into small pieces quickly.

If you are wondering how to mulch leaves by hand, you simply put on a pair of gardening gloves and crush them with your palms. Use this method on any stubborn leaves that didn’t crush from the impact of jumping. 

Kids playing with the leaves

What To Do With Shredded Leaves?

Make Compost

Shredded leaves make wonderful organic compost rich in carbon. Ash, maple, willow, and fruit tree leaves are especially great since they are rich in calcium and nitrogen but low in lignin, a substance that slows down decomposing

To make compost, alternate the layers of shredded leaves with layers of grass clippings, weeds, fruit and veggie scraps, and other organic matter. 

Make sure to turn your compost pile once or twice a week to introduce air into it. Having a tumbling composter makes this process easier.

Use Shredded Leaves For Mulch 

Shredded leaves can be used as organic mulch in vegetable gardens and flower beds.

A good time to mulch is in the late fall or early spring. Make a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch underneath and around your plants. Clean up the edges and define them with pretty stones. You’ll find some amazing landscaping ideas here in this blog post

By using shredded leaves for mulch, you will keep the soil hydrated, introduce nutrients into it, and keep the weeds at bay. 

Leave Them On Your Lawn

People spend hours cleaning the leaves off their lawn, but why not do the opposite? Shred the fallen leaves with your lawnmower and leave them right where they are. Keep up with the mowing once a week, until the trees have completely shed. 

Shredding leaves gradually is much easier than all at once. Just make sure that the created leaf carpet isn’t too thick on your grass. You still want your lawn to get some sun and to be able to breathe.

The leaf scraps will decompose over the winter, feeding your lawn with essential nutrients and reducing weeds.   

Make Leaf Mold

Leaf mold is a soft, crumbly layer of decomposing leaves found on the forest ground, on top of the soil. 

Leaf mold has an amazing ability to retain water. In fact, it can hold up to 500 times its weight in water. This is ideal for gardens that don’t get a lot of rain. 

To make leaf mold, pile the shredded leaves in an empty compost bin. Mix in some cow manure and dampen with water. Keep the mixture moist at all times. Your leaf mold should be ready in 6 to 12 months. Take a look:

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Gardener’s Gold

With a little bit of creativity, you can chop leaves without spending a dime on a new shredder. Here’s how to shred leaves without a shredder:

  1. Run the lawnmower over them. 
  2. Use a lawn trimmer on them.
  3. Walk or drive over them. 
  4. Have a fun day of jumping in the leaf pile.
  5. Let your chickens break them down.

For some people, fall leaves are nothing but annoyance and trash, but for gardeners, they are pure gold. So, collect them all, store them in a good compost bin, and make the best of your next gardening season!

What do you think about these ideas? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and let us know how you use fall leaves in your garden. 

5 Easy Ways to Shred Leaves Without a Shredder

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About The Author

Nadya Jones

Nadya's the creative mind behind this blog, sharing her passion for landscaping, gardening and making spaces that nourish the soul. An entrepreneur and writer based in Raleigh, NC, Nadya turns imaginative ideas into inspiration, fueling home and garden dreams. Though Nadya crafts gorgeous posts and photos showcasing lush yards or blooming gardens, the real magic happens behind the scenes where Nadya's partner Brett provides endless support, implementing each vision with care and dedication. Brett's the one ensuring her creative concepts come to life. At heart, Nadya remains an imaginative soul, forever dreaming of whimsical details, vibrant hues and lush landscapes. Each manicured edge or blossoming bloom fuels inspiration, expanding her vision of what's possible in design and life. She shares her love for landscaping, gardening, and outdoor design in her blog, the one you are visiting right now. If you are interested in the same things, be sure to check it out! Also, follow Nadya on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and LinkedIn!

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