How many leaves?

So, this afternoon I filled 3x 60x60x60cm bags full of leaves from my front garden,

The garden is about 8x8m square with a mature magnolia in the middle and there is a mature sycamore outside the front gate.

The magnolia has about 20% of its leaves remaining and the sycamore about 10%

How many leaves do you reckon are in the bags?

(FYI - I haven't got a clue I just wondered if anyone fancied a guess image)



  • About 50% less than if you had filled 6 similar bags?

  • All of them ?


  • Definitely not all of them.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I'd simply calculate the number. 

    Take 100 leaves.

    Weigh them. Establish the average weight.

     Weigh the whole lot.

    There you go.

  • Wet or dry? image

  • And how many of each type should be included in the sample base ?



  • Ah, good point...

  • One.  I read it and now I leaves.  


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Ok, just take and weigh a random handful of leaves and count those etc

  • You'd need to be careful about where the sample comes from so it doesn't get overly influenced, for instance taking the sample from the ground around the magnolia on the opposite side of the sycamore would likely give a higher ratio of magnolia to sycamore.

    whilst we have been given values of the leaves remaining on the branches, we don't know the value remaining the last time they were cleared, this could affect the ratio of any sample. We also don't know the direction of the prevailing wind. Is it blowing the sycamore leaves into the garden, or the magnolia out?

    Questions, questions......


    Is the answer 42?

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭


  • There were definitely lots  image

    Chimney: happy to help. This was the first time they were swept up this autumn so I was dealing with 100% of leaf fall so far. The prevailing wind has been from the SW at varying strengths from gale force to very calm.  Fences on either side and a front wall mean that once they are in the leaves can't get out except in the event of  upward force such as a tornado.

    Other that that do you think it's worth asking Brian Cox? image

  • Hold on Brian Cox for now. RicF may need to reassess this new information firstimage


  • More than 10. 


    This seemed promising initially but I lost interest when it got to the bit about overlap.

  • Thank-you Screamy, that is very helpful. Do I take it a SW wind blows directly into your garden, therefore the leaves from the Sycamore will be mostly blown, and remain, in your garden? Is there evidence of Sycomore leaves on your roof? And any evidence of being blown over your roof? This will of course complicate matters and using LAI values will as a consequence be an inaccurate guess.  Just because a leaf was on the tree, doesn't mean it ended up in one of the bags. There is also the possibility of leaves other than the sycamore and magnolia ending up in your garden.

    However, there is a possible solution for you. If your estimation of the amount of leaves left on each is correct, you could count the leaves you have left to extrapolate an answer for how many leaves 100% is. There would still be the matter of the leaves that became dis-attached from the tree but aren't in your garden, but these may have been compensated for by leaves from other trees as noted above, also those that have been consumed by animals, bacteria etc would need to be given a value. there would be an amount that have been partially consumed, would you be counting each partially consumed leaf as a leaf or combining them to count as a whole leaf to reach the number of leaves in your bags?

    Still too many variables......    ;-) 



    Am I right?


    Do I get a prize?


    make it a Forerunner 620 with new HRM, or a place on the Asics 26.2 team image

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • The sycamore is to the north of the front wall, so the stronger the wind, the less likely the leaves are to end up in the garden. It is also much taller than the magnolia so there is definitely a higher ratio of magnolia to sycamore leaves.

    The partially consumed leaf scenario is interesting at what stage does a leaf officially become compost? image

    978,64 certainly constitutes "a lot" so you may well be correct within a certain margin of error.

    Would you accept a small sapling as a prize? image

  • It would certainly be easier than it would for you not to be an unutterable twat. Well, anything would.

  • Ah, blowing the Sycamore away, umm. That makes a difference to those calculations I have been poring over all afternoon and I shall just have to start again.

    The offer of a sapling will indeed come in handy as I can then use it over the years to further refine my model with the sole aim of coming to an exact number of leaves you have in the bags. 

    Your thoughts on when a leaf becomes compost weighs heavily on my mind. I accept that it will take some time for me to work through everything so we will need some way to keep your leaves in the state there are. I had thought of simply freezing, but when it comes to defrosting them there could be issues. Perhaps placing them in a vacuum? A Hoover would be fine, or maybe a Dyson. Perhaps a different type of vacuum would be better though.

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • Hm, I have a Miele but fear cat fur contamination...perhaps I could rent a storage facility. 

  • I think your Miele may prove useful, the cat hair mixed with general household dust could perhaps have a drying effect. Reducing the moisture content would help elongate the storage time to the benefit of enabling greater accuracy in the formulae that will be required.

    We could be heading off on a complete new branch of advanced mathematics.  ;-)

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • yuk.


  • Flob wrote (see)
    Screamapillar wrote (see)

    It would certainly be easier than it would for you not to be an unutterable twat. Well, anything would.

    I am looking forward to meeting you in person. as a twat, I'm sure I'll have no problems spotting a cunt.


    But there's no chance of ever meeting me in person. I don't spend time with the sort of people who, when they were a kid was probably just the sort of little shit that stamped on other kids' sand castles. 

    Seriously, Chimney and I (and others) were having a bit of laugh, why did you feel the need to stick your oar in? 

    Humourless idiot.


  • Screamy - back to your original conundrum.

    If you didn't clear the leaves, and left them to "mulch" into your garden, I wonder how much deeper your garden would get over the years? image

  • Interesting. The bulbs still manage to get through in the spring so I suppose if that stops happening the mulch will have reached critical mass image

  • Good thought!

  • I prefer the old tungsten ones but can't get them to grow in my garden image 

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