Don't feel like raking and bagging leaves this year?  You aren't lazy, you're helping the environment.

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To Rake or Not to Rake That is the Question

The time of year is here when the leaves have turned all kinds of beautiful colors, and most have fallen off of the trees already.  If you're like me, there's a good chance your yard is covered in leaves.   If you're unlike me, maybe you're a go-getter who has already raked and bagged their leaves.  However, if you're like me, you have a to-do list that continues to grow, and who has time for more chores?  If you find yourself being the latter, don't worry your unwillingness to mess with the fallen leaves in your yard is actually paying off by helping the environment!

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Skip the Raking and Bagging this Year

It turns out my laziness of ignoring my outdoor chores is paying off by actually helping the environment. Did you know that dead leaves on the ground (insert The White Stripes lyrics reference here) actually help the environment? You learn something new every day!

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Here is what the USDA has to say about leaving the leaves alone:

Leaves create a natural mulch that helps to suppress weeds while fertilizing the soil as it breaks down. The leaves also serve as a habitat for wildlife including lizards, birds, turtles, frogs, and insects that overwinter in the fallen leaves. These living creatures help keep pests down and increase pollination in your garden, so having a habitat for them in the fallen leaves can help to keep them around when you need them the most.

Micro-organisms are the life of soil, and they need food and nutrients all the time. The more leaves left on your garden, the more feed for these micro-organisms that make soil healthier and plants grow stronger. As the leaves decay, they add organic matter back into the soil, which lessens the need for fertilizer.

 

 

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So if any of my neighbors decide to tell me my yard is messy, I'll just tell them that I'm helping the environment and they can get off my back.  Feel free to use that line too!

For more information on leaves, and different ways to sustainably utilize your fallen leaves, you can check out this really interesting article from the USDA.  Happy fall!

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