My dilemma

I've got a problem this year. It involves the maple leaves that currently blanket half of my front yard.


The problem is that I don't know what to do with them. Rake them up sure, but then what?


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You see, these are the leaves that I normally use to help insulate my hardy bananas, Musa basjoo. What I normally do with the maple leaves is this:



The trouble is, this year autumn has been so very mild, the schedule is messed up. We've only had a couple of nights in which the temperatures made it down to freezing or just a hair below, so the maple tree has dropped all of its leaves already...


...but the banana leaves are virtually undamaged:


Last year on November 7 they were already curled and dead and had been for a few days:



So this year the banana plant is not ready to be mulched, but the leaves are ready to become mulch. Hmmm.


The other problem is that the clump is the biggest it's ever been, so I'm not sure that I'll be able to mulch over the entire thing.




So I let the maple leaves stay out there. I suppose I should get them out of the cactus bed at least...


...and maybe the right way forward is to just rake them up and pile them around the base of the bananas, only cutting the tops down after we get a hard freeze.

I certainly don't want to cut the bananas down yet for no reason. (I cut them to about 2-3' above the ground.)

What would you do?

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Alan  – (November 11, 2015 at 9:55 AM)  

It's starting to look like the banana leaves might stay around until Thanksgiving -- amazing!

Maywyn Studio  – (November 11, 2015 at 10:09 AM)  

Consider putting the leaves in a big plastic bag with a turkey tail until the plants are ready for their winter mulching, if you have a place for a big turkey in your yard.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (November 11, 2015 at 10:21 AM)  

Leave the leaves for now but do remove them from the cactus bed as much as possible to prevent rot.

Your bananas are stunning, btw.

Alan  – (November 11, 2015 at 2:22 PM)  

Maywyn: that would be a pretty huge bag! :)

Gerhard: I have another idea for the cactus bed that I hope to tackle this weekend...

outlawgardener  – (November 11, 2015 at 6:32 PM)  

I too was thinking big bags for the extra leaves. Your idea about mounding them as best you can over the still leafy banana trunks is a good one. If you have evergreen boughs hanging around (maybe after Christmas?) they could hold the leaves down in the space that you won't be able to fence.

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (November 11, 2015 at 11:47 PM)  

I found the comments really interesting, I'm anxious to see how this turns out for you.

Alan  – (November 12, 2015 at 8:29 AM)  

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

Peter: I've *never* had evergreen boughs available, and by Christmas we'd have had many hard freezes (unless this is a crazily mild year) so the leaves will be needed long before then. I like your thinking though!

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