Experts: DO NOT Rake Your Leaves!
It's Fall in Iowa. The leaves have all changed and are now dropping. LIKE CRAZY. Especially in the Cedar Valley. On my front stoop, they have to be swept daily. As pretty as they are while on the trees, they turn to a nuisance as soon as they drop. That's why Iowans spend hours cleaning them, sweeping them, mulching them... But we shouldn't. Nope, we should leaf them (heh, see what I did there). According to biologists at the National Wildlife Federation, you should just let them sit on your yard. Why?
Here are some reasons you shouldn't rake your leaves, according to the National Wildlife Federation and Return To Now:
- It's unnatural. A few inch deep leaf layer is actually natural, it forms its own ecosystem. It's a habitat for wildlife.
- A lot of wildlife rely on fallen leaves for shelter and food.
- Free fertilizer and mulch. Fallen leaves actually decompress weeds naturally and when they decompose they add nutrients to the soil... for free!
- The birds and butterflies. Often times larvae are attached to fallen leaves. So if you rake and remove leaves, you're getting rid of butterflies. And if you get rid of butterflies, you probably won't have as many birds in your yard because birds rely on the larvae to feed their young.
- Reduce waste! Using plastic bags to round up your raked leaves is incredibly wasteful. Bags used for yard trimmings account for roughly 33 million tons of waste each year in landfills.
- Reduce pollution. Sure many leaf blowers are electric. But many are not. They, along with leaf trucks often use gas which equals pollution. Go green and don't rake the leaves.
- Save your time and your body! Why waste your time and literal energy doing something you really shouldn't? You don't have to tell me twice...