That is, if I were to place a 2x2x2 cube of leaves in an empty world and then break a Leaves block manually, would the other leaves decay or would they remain forever?

I seem to recall that they would decay, but the Minecraft wiki disagrees and it's possible my memory is failing me.

2 Answers 2


I tested this using a debug stick, leaf blocks have a "persistent"-tag and it is set to true, when the leaf block is placed by a player. Breaking a leaf block next to it does not change this, so they stay persistent.

You can place leaf blocks that will break using one of these:

/setblock <pos> minecraft:oak_leaves{persistent:0}
/fill <from> <to> minecraft:oak_leaves{persistent:0}

You can get a debug stick with this command:

/give @s minecraft:debug_stick

Leaf blocks also have a "distance"-tag, which is used to determin if it will decay. Leaf blocks with a distance of 7 do not count as part of a tree and will decay, unless they are "persistent".

A leaf block that touches a log block will have a "distance" of 1, any leaf block that touches the first leaf block, but no log block, will have a "distance" of 2, and so on.

The distance cannot be greater than 7. The persistence does not get updated when you as the player break nearby leaf blocks, the distance does get updated though

  • That means: If there are natural leaves, you can stop their decay by placing a wood block adjacent to them - or chaining through several leaf blocks, be it placed manually or natural. So, if you remove the manually placed "connector" leaves you can make the naturally spawned leaves resume their process of decay. That's about the only way removing manually placed leaves can make adjacent leaves to decay.
    – SF.
    Jun 6, 2019 at 8:17
  • So a leaf block with a "distance" of 0 will always decay? (is that possible?
    – Hobbamok
    Jun 6, 2019 at 16:57
  • It is not possible to have a distance of 0, you can not go any lower than 1 and not any higher than 7. Leaf blocks decay if the distance is 7 AND the persistance false. It may be possible to set the distance to 0 with tools outside of minecraft
    – user232393
    Jun 6, 2019 at 17:01
  • 1
    It is possible to make a 2x2x2 leaf block that starts decaying after you break one of the blocks if you use the debug stick: place the leaf blocks (you will want them to be persistent at this point), then use the debug stick to set the distance of all of them to 1, then set the persistence to false with the debug stick. The distance will be update when you break a leaf block, so they will stay until you break the first block
    – user232393
    Jun 6, 2019 at 20:49

Leaves placed by the player will never decay. Only naturally spawned leaves, once the "tree" they are associated with is destroyed, or if they are separated from the "tree" they are associated with, will they decay.

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