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Leave the Leaves

This fall, put away the rake and forget those lawn bags. It’s time to leave the leaves and give your garden all the benefits that come from letting the leaves remain. We know it’s the norm to get the leaves picked up, bagged, and sent to the landfill, but when you do this, you actually rob your garden of beneficial nutrients. 

Leaves—also known as “nature’s mulch”—help:

  • Sustain birds and insects
  • Protect pollinators throughout winter
  • Insulate plant roots
  • Build living soil

The same practice can be used when getting flower beds and your garden ready for the long winter months ahead. While planting native seeds is a good approach to create a habitat, management of that habitat will determine its viability come spring. Many gardeners make the mistake of thinking fall is the time to “clean out” their garden by removing leaves and cutting perennials. However, if you leave the leaves, branches, and stems where they fall, they will create better soil for next year’s garden. Leaving the leaves insulates plant roots through the cold winter months. Those leaves then become “nature’s mulch” and help grow a healthy ecosystem. An added benefit is the hibernation protection they provide for small creatures during winter. 

Recharge Nature – Leave the Leaves

Leaving the leaves also offers the opportunity to recharge nature in your area. Many our natural areas have been removed due to driveways, streets, and sidewalks. While it’s not always ideal to leave the leaves because of clogged sewers, or soggy, slippery leaves, you can rehome them. They can also be raked into a pile or shredded for future mulch use. 

So this fall, relax. Enjoy watching those leaves fall and rest on the ground. They will provide numerous benefits that will create beautiful, healthy surroundings next spring and summer. The best solution truly is to leave the leaves. 

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