There are so many reasons to Leave the Leaves. The incentive to keep the leaves on the ground, in your yard, where they fell, is an project shepherded for years by the Xerces Society.
However, there are other supporters. University of Delaware professor Douglas Tallamy, author of numerous books including “Bringing Nature Home,” as well as the author Nancy Lawson, whose works include “The Humane Gardener,” and “Wildscapes,” have been among those to promote environmentally-friendly gardening, which covers leaving the leaves.
The why in “Why Leave the Leaves” is extensive:
From the perspective of the soil: the fungi and organisms. Leaf blowers strip out everything- from nutrients to organisms and all the complexities of the soil that has been built up for years. Look at the forest floor. The complex soil structure is rich in the duff. Leaf blowers neutralize it to nothing.
Leaves provide nutrients. Kathy Connolly, Speaking of Landscapes LLC reminds us to take notice that there are 19 nutrients in leaves. When they fall (in the fall), they provide soft landings to any insects falling from the trees and these leaves will eventually breakdown and decompose to give back the nutrients to be recycled back to the trees and the soil.
Overwintering native bees, moths, butterflies, and pollinators, as well as fireflies and salamanders and frogs and others, use the leaves to take refuge in over the winter. For that reason alone, we should leave the leaves. If you bag them up and have them hauled away, you have sent away your fireflies, bees, and butterflies. You have taken away the opportunity for so many pollinators to continue on their life journeys.
Help Wildlife and Pollinators. Here’s How:
• Choose a rake over using a leaf blower.
• If at all possible, do not mulch, so pollinators are not shredded as well.
• Rake leaves into gardens and under trees, but only as deep as 3-4 inches.
• Allow a corner of your yard to be wild.
• Leaf cover of an inch will not harm your lawn. No need to have a spotless lawn.