Fall, leaves, and soil depletion

We have quite a few trees on our property, including big oaks. Every year we gather huge piles of leaves, like 20 cubic yards or so (wild guess), and put them on the curb to be "vacuumed" by a giant machine.
Enormous quantity of stuff, simply enormous.
It stikes me as an awful loss of organic matter and something that would surely lead to soil depletion. Is that correct?
If so, what would be a practical way to address it. I cannot have a giant compost pile. What else can I do to keep the oranic matter and yet have a good looking yard.
i
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I use a high capacity leaf shredder. The leaves make wonderful compost. Your compost pile doesn't have to be enormous, you can really pile ina lot into a small area as long as you turn in occassionally.
Dave

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The county is getting tired of collecting leaves so they are on a big campaign to have you mulch them. One of the statistics they are using is that 90% of the nutrients taken out of the soil is returned back to the soil if you mulch the leaves. I live in a heavily forested area and its not uncommon to get 8 inches of leaves on the ground. I just run my mulching lawn mower over them and they disappear. May take several passes but it sure beats raking. OF course I try not to let them get that deep before I mulch them. THere is a danger of matting down the grass under the clippings. Haven't raked leaves in over 15 years. In the spring I use a rake to clean up whats left.

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Ignoramus8649 wrote:

Use the leaves as a mulch around the trees. Spread as a mulch, the leaves will decompose, forming compost without a compost pile. It just takes a little longer. Oaks in particular actually need a build-up of leaves and leafmold in their root zones if they are to thrive.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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They could also bag them in lawn sized trash bags and let other gardeners know they can have them for free.
Also they could reduce the amount of space by running a lawn mower threw the pile of leaves. This could cut down the amount by 60 to 80% and then they could use it for mulch too.
To bad they're not near me, I could use those leaves for my own desert garden.
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