Question From: Gregory, Michigan, United States
Q: Just a comment about your article promoting shredded leaves being beneficial for flower beds. I used to follow such advice, and most of my flowers died every year. It's because I was using Oak leaves. After much frustration, I found out Oak leaves are way too acidic for flowers and they will kill everything. Whenever I read an article like this I wish people would differentiate and possibly even warn against the use of Oak leaves. Other than that, thank you for your beautiful columns!
A: Wendy, I can't speak to the cause of your plant death, but I have never read any research that concludes Oak used as mulch or compost kills plants or reduces the Ph of the soil to any great degree. I have a friend who gardens under 5 mature oak trees. She and her husband have been mulching her acre and half garden with shredded oak leaves for 10 years and it's thriving. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy