Who doesn’t love watching the leaves on neighborhood trees turn beautiful amber hues each fall? Of course, that also means eventually pulling out the rake to rein them into piles and toss them out (or turn them into festive decor). It’s not quite as difficult as shoveling snow, but it’s also not the most fun activity either… that is, unless you’re a dog or little kid who enjoys diving into the big mounds. For those who’d rather skip the task entirely, though, there’s good news: It might actually be better to keep those leaves on the ground.
Have you ever stopped to really think about why you bother with raking the leaves in your yard, though? After all, the grass beneath them has usually withered away, too, so it’s not like you’re keeping the fresh green blades from being overlooked. Most of us simply do it out of habit.
A report from the Chicago Tribune in 2018 pointed out that those leaves can actually be a natural mulch for the soil in your yard. As they explained: “In the woods, leaves cover the soil. They form a rich layer of decaying plant matter that insulates the roots of trees and other plants and provides them with nutrients as it decays.” You have to admit, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, most people don’t realize they’re tossing away free fertilizer for their yard that could mean a nice, patch-free lawn when spring comes back around. Plus, you won’t have to worry about giving yourself a backache while bending over with your rake to scrape away at all the leaves littered around.
If you’re still determined to tidy up your yard, you might at least want to use some of those gathered-up leaves to insulate your winter plants and protect the roots of your trees. The barrier will help keep them nice and cozy during the cold weather, while also supplying them with nutrients to stay sturdy. But most importantly, you’ll have one less chore to worry about this weekend.