Gila's Place

A menagerie of eclectic things…

I know it’s tempting to tidy up your yard by raking up all those fallen leaves but you really shouldn’t. My neighbors keep a beautiful lawn and they rake and burn leaves several times throughout the fall. And it does all look so tidy next door.

They must hate living next to me. But I digress.

Me? I am a don’t-rake-the-leaves kind of gal. Not because I am apposed to tidy looking lawns but I choose to let Mother Nature do her thing; for her, and for me.

Three reasons to not rake your leaves.

It creates waste. Millions of tons of it.

According to the EPA, “EPA estimated that the generation of yard trimmings in MSW was 35.4 million tons in 2018, which is 12.1 percent of MSW generation.”

What does all that yard waste do in landfills? It takes up huge amounts of space while it mixes with other organic matter creating harmful methane gas that contributes largely to climate change.

The ecosystem that is your yard depends on leaves for its health and overall survival.

Insects that live and multiply in your yard depend on leaves for habitat and food. Many moths, butterflies, and other essential insects lay eggs in leaves throughout the fall and winter. Birds and other critters feed on those insects living and multiplying under the leaves in your lawn. So since the US and Canada is currently experiencing a “staggering” decline in bird populations it wouldn’t hurt to leave a little leaf cover on your lawn.

According to Cornell EDU, “Common birds—the species that many people see every day—have suffered the greatest losses, according to the study. More than 90% of the losses (more than 2.5 billion birds) come from just 12 families including the sparrows, blackbirds, warblers, and finches.”

What a huge benefit we can allow the wildlife in our yards by being just a little less tidy and letting nature have a go at it.

Leaf cover can make your yard healthier

Leaf cover helps protect roots of perennials and everlastings, provides medium for seed germination, makes a natural weed barrier, and maintains moisture in the soil. Left to the devices of nature, leaves break down in a season (when not piled) and are gone with the first mowing.

All those nutrients from those broken down, chopped up leaves, provides the best fertilizer you could ever find to put on your lawn.

So next time you think you might like to rake or mow leaves, ponder on it a bit before your start.

Ten to one says you have better things to do with your time and energy, and by leaving it alone, you are really helping everyone and everything involved.

Thank me later.

———————— Edited

Before I could stop patting myself on the back for all that great advice, I was getting comments and messages with a variety of reasons why we should be raking leaves.

  1. Snakes, fleas, and ticks, all love leaves. If you have problems with these, rake your leaves.
  2. Leaves clog drains that back up streets and culverts. (My neighbor actually burns the leaves in the ditch, but he doesn’t rake the yard.)
  3. Leave cause mold.

Have additional comments?

Rake the leaves? Yay or nay?

Just leave them in the comments at the bottom of the post!

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