WASHINGTON, DC (NEWS10) – With fall in full swing, the National Wildlife Federation is reminding people that raking leaves is not always best for the environment. The NWF recommends leaving leaves on the ground as nature intended. This may actually even help your garden grow next spring.
“Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own? Turning leaves into solid waste is, well, wasteful,” said National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski. “Removing leaves also eliminates vital wildlife habitat. Critters ranging from turtles and toads to songbirds, mammals and invertebrates rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material. Many moth and butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in spring. Also, sending organic matter such as leaves to the landfill causes the release of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Best of all, the less time you spend removing leaves, the more time you’ll have to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather and the wildlife that visits your garden.”
If you have to remove the leaves, experts suggest using them as mulch in your existing garden beds. You can also compost them.