Used correctly, dry leaves from trees and shrubs can be very beneficial in the garden — especially if you have lots of grass clippings.
Dry leaves plus wet grass clippings
If you add thick layers of lawn clippings to the compost, it will inevitably lead to rot and a foul odour. But if you add grass clippings and dry leaves to your compost heap in alternating layers, each 10 cm thick, then the compost will decompose faster without giving off any odour. However, because the leaves fall in the autumn and grass cuttings are collected in summer, you will need to collect the leaves for as long as they are dry and store them in your garden shed for later use.
Leaves and grass cuttings — a perfect combination
Combining these two garden waste products speeds up the decomposition process, as it ensures a better nitrogen to carbon ratio than filling the compost with only one of the two. This way, the bacteria and fungi are able to decompose the plant waste particularly quickly. The process can be accelerated further if each layer of waste is inoculated with soil micro-organisms by adding a shovel full of garden soil or old compost.
Timing is also crucial when it comes to mowing the lawn: For compost or grass clippings that are to be used as mulch in beds, it is important that the grasses (or grass weeds) are cut before they have set seed.