Our leaves have already begun to fall and formed themselves into a small patch in our front yard. Soon, the neighborhood kids will make their rounds, offering to rake everyone’s yards.
Should we have them raked and bagged? Environmental experts are hoping that more homeowners allow their leaves to stay on the lawn. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea, this video helps to break down the pros of this practice.
For one, the leaves themselves are a natural material that can be used as mulch for your lawn. To do to that, it’s recommended that you shred dry leaves with a mower and let them sit through the fall and winter.
As they decompose, they can nourish the soil while suppressing weeds at the same time. Those of you who don’t mind getting your hands dirty may also be open to mixing the leaf shreds into compost. That can be done with grass clippings too! Spread the mix onto your garden bed to feed the soil.
Just remember not to leave the leaves whole. If you skip that step of shredding, you risk the moistened leaves getting moldy. Not good.
Secondly, concerns about greenhouse gases have prompted calls to end the amount of bagged leaf garbage that heads to landfills. It takes years for that rotten stuff to break down (especially if stored in plastic bags), and it releases large amounts of methane gas – which is not good for the atmosphere.
According to scientists, only about a third of leaf debris biodegrades due to there being a lack of oxygen. They have also found that leaves release a gas called nitrous oxide, which is worse than carbon dioxide.
In addition to becoming a heavy load of waste at landfills, leaves that are blown into the street are not only a form of litter, but a risk for storm drains. They can clog them up, causing an overflow of water. When blown leaves get into waterways, flooding and algae can ensue. That’s bad news for marine life and your local area.
Oh, and there’s another good reason to let that dead foliage lie where it is. Animals. Cute little animals like reptiles, insects, and other creatures like to use leaf litter for nesting and shelter.
Click on this video from GeoBeats to hear why you should put down that rake, as well as an alternative viewpoint. You’ll get stats and instructions on leaf-leaving for your yard’s benefit.
If you’ve been on the fence (or couch), lamenting about the fun-filled chore of raking, sit it out. You can disregard the judgmental looks from your neighbors, knowingly justifying your leanings towards leaf-raking laziness as good for the environment. It won’t be a lie.
But then again, if you can’t stand the thought of them piling up, rake away and bag them up in compostable bags.
Do you enjoy raking leaves or are you looking for a reason to skip the chore this year? What do you think of these reasons to keep leaves on the ground? Have you ever dodged leaf duty for the good of the environment?