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Thank you, Margaret. YourThank you, Margaret. Your fact sheet confused me a bit on this: If quickly decaying organic mulches such as fresh leaves, wood chips, and straw, are used, a considerable amount of nitrogen is taken from the soil by the micro-organisms decomposing the organic matter. This reduces the nitrogen reserves in the root zone of the growing plant. If additions of nitrogenous fertilizer aren't made regularly, a nitrogen deficiency may result. Also it says: Leaves are the least expensive mulch available but make a better mulch if composted. How should I compost the leaves? Will the chopping up by a lawn mower let them compost in place? I figure I need to make tubes around my roses. They are "carpet roses", so they are fairly low and wide. As for soil testing, do I just take a sample to my local cooperative extension?

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