Is it acidic or alkaline?
When leaves have freshly fallen, they’re slightly acidic, typically below 6pH. As they break down, they move closer to pH neutral. Leaf mould is not a corrective measure for pH problems, but it will temper those issues in the short-term.
How does it differ from compost?
They are somewhat similar, but the process of creating leaf mould uses only leaves, rather than a variety of both green and brown organic material to make compost.
Leaf mould on its own won’t provide any nutrition compared to nutrient-packed compost.
Compost is the relatively rapid decomposition of material, but leaf mould is rather slow instead as it’s not as ‘pleasant’ for microbes and decomposers to thrive in. The lack of microbes and aeration means that leaf mould can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to decompose.
What are its benefits?
By adding it to your soil and compost when preparing your beds for vegetation, your soil’s texture and fertility will significantly improve.
Its coarse texture makes soils better at retaining water, therefore reducing potential nutrient loss sustained by rainfall and excessive drainage.
Is it good for my garden?
You’re promoting biodiversity, collections of decomposing leaf mould not only give plenty of opportunity to decomposers to thrive, but you might plenty of variety too. Toads may make their temporary homes here, even voles burrow their way in, and you’ll soon find birds zipping around your stock, feeding on the bugs it attracts. Always be careful when reclaiming your leaf mould, as not to disturb these visitors too much. It’s a patient process after all.