If you are one of the many people that thinks the fall leaves are beautiful, but hate raking or blowing them to the curb, we have some advice for you…Leave them! Leaf removal is not only unnecessary, fallen leaves are nature’s mulch and leaving them provides many benefits.
Many insects overwinter in the fallen leaves, including ladybugs and fireflies. These insects, as well as other critters that hide in leaves, are very important to a healthy property. They provide food for birds, pollination for plants, and aid in keeping soils healthy. For more information about creating a bird-friendly yard, read our Field Notes, Attracting Birds to your Yard.
In addition to birds, soils themselves benefit from fallen leaves. As these leaves break down, they provide organic material for the soil food web, improve soil structure, retain moisture, and protect it from compaction and erosion.
Time and expense
The first several rounds of leaf management involve simply mowing them into the turf and add almost no time to routine landscape maintenance. If additional leaf removal is necessary, this can be done in targeted areas of the property, reducing the total workload.
Properties with many trees, and many leaves, may even be able to eliminate the need for spring mulching by doing away with leaf removal.
Low impact property management provides many benefits to human health. Reduced fossil fuel use and reduced noise from backpack blowers benefit not only property owners, neighbors and landscape workers benefit as well.
What about the lawn?
Lawn is the one area that benefits from leaf removal. We recommend mowing leaves into the turf as long as they break down with one or two passes with the mower. If the volume gets to be too much to mow, we rake them and move them into the nearest bed. This is easiest when leaves are dry, so keep an eye on the weather, and try to schedule this before it rains.
GreenWeaver routinely offers leaf management to our gardening clients as well as property owners looking for a one-time fall cleanup. For assistance with leaf management or other environmentally friendly landscape management techniques, contact us.