Why You Shouldn’t Rake Your Leaves This Year
Should West Michigan follow the National Wildlife Federation's request to NOT rake our yards?
I don't think this applies to me because my neighbors would rake my face if I didn't take care of my yard. Return To Now gives us 7 reason why the National Wildlife Federation would like us to leave those leaves alone.
1. It’s unnatural. Leaves are meant to stay where they fall for all the reasons below. “A leaf layer several inches deep is a natural thing in any area where trees naturally grow,” NWF says on its website. The leaf layer is its own mini ecosystem.
2. Wild Life Habitat. Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer for shelter and food, including salamanders, chipmunks, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms, many insects species.
3. Free fertilizer and mulch. For gardeners, fallen leaves offer a double benefit. They form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and, as they decompose, they add nutrients to the soil. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when the trees will do it for you?
4. The Birds and the Butterflies. Along with the leaves you’re throwing away butterfly and moth pupae attached to them. Not only will you not have any beautiful butterflies in your yard come spring, you also won’t have many birds, who rely on caterpillars to feed their babies.
5. Reduce Waste. Throwing away leaves in plastic bags is very wasteful. Yard trimmings account for around 13 of solid waste (approximately 33 million tons) in landfills.
6. Reduce Pollution. Gas leaf blowers and the trucks used to haul them away cause pollution. So does artificial fertilizer run-off, which is contributing to the largest “dead zone” on Earth in the Gulf of Mexico. There is no run-off from leaf fertilizer.
7. Save time and your back. You have enough work to do, why add another counterproductive chore? If you have to rake your leaves, compost them or send them to a community garden. Anywhere but a landfill.
These are all valid points. However, I have one neighbor that puts up snow fencing to keep my leaves out of her yard and another neighbor that will take care of my leaves for me if I don't get to it. Sorry National Wildlife Federation, I'll be raking.
BONUS VIDEO: Traffic Lights on Westnedge Ave in Portage Are a Mess