Let fall leaves lie where they fall


Megan Wedhorn

It is finally fall, the time of year when people look forward to wearing comfy sweaters, drinking pumpkin spice lattes, and seeing the colorful fall leaves. During this time of year, the pretty orange and red leaves, tend to fall from their branches and cover people’s lawns. This leads to people raking up the leaves and either burning them or bagging them up and putting them out for the garbage truck. However, research has shown that there are three benefits to leaving fall leaves on the ground instead of raking them up.

The first reason that people should leave their leaves, is because wildlife depends on them. During the harsh winter months, animals like birds and butterflies, depend on the leaf litter. A lot of caterpillars live in the leaves, so when people take up the leaves, they are potentially getting rid of a whole population of butterflies. Also without the insects that live under these dead leaves, birds will have to go someplace else to find food.

The second reason that people should leave their leaves, is that it is free fertilizer. Each year thousands of people go out and purchase fertilizer for their lawns and gardens, when they have natural fertilizer sitting there in their yard. By removing the dead leaves and debris from their yards, people are removing the natural benefits that could save them money.

The third reason that people should leave their leaves on the ground, is that it is environmentally friendly. According to the EPA, yard waste takes up about 20 to 30% of space in landfills. Therefore, not only is letting leaves decompose naturally free fertilizer, it is better than sending them off to landfills or burning them

Each year the National Wildlife Federation informs people about these benefits, but the word doesn’t really get around. If you want to learn more about the benefits of not raking your leaves, then visit http://blog.nwf.org/2014/11/what-to-do-with-fallen-leaves/.