Fallen leaves are an excellent addition to a compost pile. Once composted, leaves help to improve the structure and quality of soil by adding fibrous organic matter and valuable nutrients.
Tree roots grow deep into the ground and pull nutrients and minerals out of the soil, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, which are then stored mainly in the leaves of the tree. The ideal time to add leaves to the compost pile is when they have just fallen from the tree and the nutrients are still fresh. Chopping or shredding the leaves beforehand helps them break down faster. The addition of some form of nitrogen, such as manure, also helps the leaves decompose.