Tuesday, September 27, 2022

What to do With Fallen Leaves


I suggest reading the whole article:



 National Wildlife Federation blog

 David Mizejewski   |   Last Updated: September 1, 2021 


Updated September 2021

You shouldn’t feel obligated to get rid of every last fallen leaf in your yard this fall. Leave the leaves — they offer a lot of benefits for wildlife and your garden. Read on to find out why and for tips on how to minimize the time you spend raking this autumn and maximize the benefit to wildlife and the greater environment that fallen leaves offer.
Leave the Leaves for Wildlife

A leaf layer several inches deep is a natural thing in any area where trees and shrubs naturally grow, whether that’s the local woodlands or your own yard or garden. The leaf layer is its own ecosystem! Many wildlife species use the leaf layer as their primary habitat including salamanders, chipmunks, wood frogs, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms, millipedes, and thousands of insects species.

Many butterfly and moth species overwinter in the leaf layer, including luna moths, great spangled fritillaries, woolly bear caterpillars (which become Isabella tiger moths), and red-banded hairstreaks. Some species overwinter as eggs, some as pupae, and some as adults. In the case of moths, 94 percent of species rely on the leaf layer to complete their lifecycle. If you rake up and throw away all of your leaves this fall, you’ll be getting rid of important habitat for these beautiful and beneficial insects, many of which are pollinators.


Leaves are Free Mulch and Fertilizer

From a gardening perspective, fallen leaves offer a double benefit. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and at the same time fertilize the soil as they break down. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you have a free source in the form of fallen leaves? Simply let leaves lie where they fall or move them into your garden beds to protect your plants’ roots, suppress weeds, preserve soil moisture and eventually break down and return nutrients to the soil.


 Remember, the less time you have to spend doing the back-breaking work of blowing, mowing, or raking your leaves, the more time you have to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather outside and the wildlife visiting your garden!




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