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I'm covering everywhere near my house with my torches and building walls (using fences or blocks) around them, to make sure no creepers blow me up as I come out, or trample my sugar cane and wood. (I have now completed about 80% — without using any mods, tools, or other cheats.)

Screenshot

However, as you can see, the tops of some trees are too dark. So I'm worried about monsters spawning on the top of trees. There's some mention about leaves and mobs in Minecraft Wiki:

...and they never spawn on Glass, Ice, Stone Slabs, or other see-through or non-cube blocks.

(I'm playing Minecraft in fancy mode.) Even if monsters can't spawn on the leaves, maybe some monster can spawn on the wood that's not covered by leaves.

(Don't mention about spiders -- since they can climb fences as you know and I don't care about them)

Can monsters exist near my house?

The distance between my torches is 5 metres.

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5  
I've had creepers dive bomb me from tree tops. That was fun. –  Arkive May 15 '11 at 4:08
    
I saw creeper on top of the tree, but I couldn't sure whether creeper spawn on the tree or just climbed up there... so I'm asking now. Yeah... It would be funny if creeper dove from tree and exploded... –  JiminP May 15 '11 at 4:11
    
Chances are they jumped up there. –  The Communist Duck May 15 '11 at 9:33
7  
I think that it would be a better idea to have the older material be updated rather than separate information out between two different questions. I can start up a bounty on the older question asking for confirmation that this still applies as of recent updates for you, if you want. –  Mana Oct 23 '11 at 17:29
2  
@nicky - you can't do paragraphs in comments. If you need to add a lot of information just edit your question. –  ChrisF Nov 2 '11 at 14:36
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2 Answers

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Update: According to Notch's blog post about changes coming in 1.6, the torches-on-fast-leaves bug is getting fixed:

  • Fixed buttons and levers being placeable on leaves in “fast graphics” mode

This means that monsters can no longer spawn on leaves, either, as they are always considered transparent, even when using Fast graphics.

Monsters can spawn on any solid, non-transparent block which is at light level 7 or lower.

Signs, torches, rails, and the like are ignored when spawning monsters; they'll spawn on the block underneath just fine. This is why one-block-wide railways need to be lit.

Transparency means whether or not light passes through a block rather than whether you can see through it. Half-blocks, doors, stairs, and glass all count as transparent and prevent monster spawning. Leaves, oddly, count as transparent only when Fancy graphics are enabled. An easy way to test a block for transparency is to try placing a torch or sign on it — neither can be placed on transparent blocks. (Meaning that torches can be placed on leaves with Fast graphics, but not with Fancy.)

Torches put out light level 14, so monsters can't spawn within 5 blocks of a torch orthogonally or 3 blocks diagonally. If you put your torches in a diamond pattern, they can be up to 9 blocks apart, but it's best to move them closer than that on uneven terrain. (I use 5 myself.)

If you like, you can actually torch your treetops by changing your graphics to Fast, placing the torches, and switching back. Your torches will stay rooted, even though you wouldn't normally be able to place them that way. Personally, I think it makes them look rather cheerful. :-)

treetop torches

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Thanks for good answer! Hmm.. I should place torches on leaves.. –  JiminP May 15 '11 at 5:43
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Note that in multiplayer, you can place torches on leaves with Fancy graphics. I've also seen monsters spawn on treetops at night and catch fire the following morning, in multiplayer. –  Jonathan Drain May 15 '11 at 17:02
    
I thought it was light level 7 or lower? Did you find documentation on 6? I've also always been able to place torches on trees independent of my graphics settings, both single player and multiplayer... –  EdGruberman May 21 '11 at 22:56
    
@EdGruberman — You're right, it should be 7 — fixed. You should not be able to place torches on leaves in unmodded SSP when Fancy graphics are enabled. I've always played on Fancy and didn't realize that you could ever place torches on leaves until I happened to be reading the source code for the leaf block one day. :-) –  Ben Blank May 22 '11 at 14:43
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shortcut: set the whole forest on fire –  ZJR Nov 2 '11 at 22:44
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I created a test world in MCEdit consisting of 40x40 chunks (640x640 blocks) and filled it with a layer of leaves.

I then loaded the world into Minecraft 1.8.1, set the difficulty to Normal and the graphics to Fancy, and waited until nightfall:

Sunset over a field of leaves

Once nightfall hit, I found no mobs anywhere:

Night over a field of leaves on Fancy

This corresponds to what the old behavior was. However, when I switched over to Fast graphics, I found nothing as well:

Night over a field of laves on Fast

So I decided to dig a hole to act as a control:

Hole in the leaves

And sure enough, the mobs started spawning once I moved 24 blocks away:

Mobs

My, that's a very nice test world you have there. It'd be a shame if someone were to...blow it up. Again, this is still on Fast graphics. For good measure, I looked away from the mob hole, and again, found zero mobs spawning:

No mobs!

So in conclusion, no, hostile mobs cannot spawn on leaves—regardless of your graphics settings—in Minecraft Beta 1.8.1.

If you'd like to test this yourself, you can download my test world.

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