Leave the Leaves and Reap the Benefits

Why not raking this fall can be a wise choice.

(Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock.com)

It’s fall! When the brown, orange and yellow months arrive, you might tend to prep the rake and ready yourself for lots of tidying and leaves cleaning. However, you may want to rethink that approach. Because while a well groomed lawn certainly has its merits, there are lots of health and other benefits to leaving the leaves be. USA Today reports on the many benefits you might discover if you skip the raking an create a more vibrant outdoor space.

The benefits of fallen leaves
Did you know that fallen leaves create their own mini ecosystem? It’s true! According to The National Wildlife Federation, this means that many wildlife species, such as chipmunks, earthworms, salamanders and lots of insects use the layer of leaves as their primary habitat. Getting rid of the leaves is bad news for these beautiful species, and leaving them, on the other hand, helps them keep the habitat they need to complete their life cycle. 

In addition to hosting lots of amazing animals and insects, leaves are a great natural and, of course, eco friendly fertilizer. According to Tree Hugger, leaves feed a lot of the microbes in the soil. As the leaves decompose over time, they release valuable nutrients into the soil, enriching it and making it more fertile. And that's not all the leaves even help the soil suppress weeds. Less work for you!

More ways to use leaves
Another amazing benefit of leaves is they can be a great addition to a home compost pile. Compost is decayed organic material that is used as fertilizer. So, for example, many use their kitchen waste as compost. If you choose to do this, you can then use the un-raked leaves from the garden to cover layers of kitchen waste.

If you are not sure about the un-raked look or for some reason it doesn't work for you, there are still some other ways you can make the most out of the leaves. Some organizations collect the leaves and then give them out so others can use it as compost or for other uses. This is a great way to extend the life of the leaves you grew in your garden and promote sustainability. And if you’re ready to give the “leaving the leaves” approach a try, your garden, the environment and your inner lazy gardener will thank you for it.

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