Sundays in the fall are usually reserved to rake leaves. But this year, I encourage you to not do it.
Tap into your inner lazy person and watch a movie or do something spontaneous like going out to brunch instead.
Why? In a September press release, the National Wildlife Federation said that truly “savvy” gardeners and yard lovers will stop raking up their leaves this fall and every fall to come. Here are the NWF’s three great reasons for why you shouldn’t rake your leaves anymore.
1. Leaves Create A Ton Of Waste That’s Not Good For The Earth
The NWF and the Environmental Protection Agency found that leaves and yard debris make up 13 percent of the nation’s solid waste each year. That adds up to 33 million tons of yard debris going into landfills every year.
When these leaves are in bags or packed in with other trash at landfills, they don’t have enough oxygen to properly decompose, so they release methane, according to Joe Lamp’l, author of “The Green Gardener’s Guide.”
Methane is one of the greenhouse gases that contribute most significantly to global warming, according to The Telegraph. Leaves and other yard debris help make man-made solid waste landfills the largest producers of methane in the U.S.
2. Leaves Make A Great Natural Fertilizer
Leave your leaves alone, seriously. National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski said leaves naturally create a mulch that can stop weeds from growing while also fertilizing the soil. You can save yourself time and money by collecting your leaves and using them as mulch in your garden beds.
Allowing the leaves to simply decompose on your lawn will also help your grass grow healthier in the spring.
3. Leaves Are Habitats For Wildlife
There’s a whole “mini ecosystem” in those leaves you’re raking up, according to the NWF. In the fall and winter, fallen leaves provide shelter for turtles, toads, birds and butterfly and moth species.
The butterfly and moth species help feed the birds, and predators eat the birds and so on. Raking up the leaves could have a giant, chain-reaction impact on the little ecosystem that surround where you live.
If you’re not a fan of the critters in your yard, then just rake the leaves to one part of your yard that you don’t often walk in. That way animals will still have some place to go, but they won’t be in your path.
Get excited to retire your rake and enjoy the beautiful colors!