An outstanding mulch that’s free for the taking, shredded fall leaves provide a great alternative for informal planting beds, vegetable gardens and shade gardens. As leaves decompose, they add fantastic organic matter to soil. Slugs tend to like shredded leaves, so use caution applying them around slug favorites like hosta or leaf lettuce. Expect leaves to last from one to two growing seasons. Always shred leaves with a mower or leaf vac before using them as mulch.