Mulched areas can suppress weeds, reduce the need for irrigation, and replace turf in tough-to-grow areas. For an inexpensive alternative to purchased mulch, consider using fallen leaves.
Pine needles, leaves from broadleaf trees, and even grass clippings can be used as mulch. Of the three, pine needles are the best. They're attractive, not easily removed from beds by wind or rain, and don't "mat down" excessively. However, they don't last more than six months due to rapid decomposition.
Leaves from broadleaf trees can be used as a mulch but may blow away and are easily washed from beds during heavy rains. Shredding the leaves will help prevent them from matting.
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