Here in New England, we are famous for our foliage.  People come from literally around the world to see the leaves change, they spend their money, then they go home leaving us to rake up the leaves.  Let's face it though, if you haven't raked them up by now, you probably are not planning on it.  I know I'm not and now I don't feel so lazy!  Turns out, I've been doing the right thing for years.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, it's recommended that you DON'T rake for the following reasons:

  • Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food.  If you let the leaves stay where they fall, you will make chipmunks, turtles, toads and many insects very happy.
  • Do it for the butterflies!  Many butterflies, moths and caterpillars live in that environment, then, come Spring, they provide an essential food source for birds to feed their babies.
  • The fallen leaves will provide a natural mulch to fertilize the soil as they break down.  Especially important if you are trying to avoid weeds and grow beautiful things.

That was more than enough to convince me to let the leaves stay in my yard.  Come Spring, the birds and my garden will be very happy.